We’ve all seen this. You notice a Facebook post or news headline about a man being gunned down by police. The testimony is that he was made to crawl like a dog and that he was unarmed. Or perhaps the testimony was that his hands were in the air. Of course, many will want to see video footage. And rightfully so. Not every account of police brutality is true.
And then, thankfully, some bodycam or iPhone footage is released. As it turns out, it does seem like the account we heard about. But the released footage doesn’t show everything. Maybe not even the shooting itself. We need more.
Maybe we should give the esteemed professionals even more benefits of a doubt. Maybe there’s a longer video that tells the whole story. Maybe something happened to justify the shooting. Maybe something happened just off camera to cause the police to “fear for their lives.” Maybe the bodycam video is cleverly edited.
So perhaps other videos may be released. Perhaps a longer bodycam video is released that shows the shooting. All the videos and all the testimonies confirm what most of us already know. The shooting was unjustified. It was murder, by any Biblical and just definition. By any rational standard.
This should be a closed case. This should be really easy. But then something very peculiar happens. Although we have multiple eyewitness testimonies, and although we have video evidence, not just a few, many, will “stand with the blue” and support the policeman who committed this murder. There will assuredly be talk about still not having “the full story.” There will be talk about “not having all the facts.” There will certainly be talk about how the victim wasn’t a good man with a good reputation. Someone will go digging around the internet to find a screencap of something bad he said on Facebook. Perhaps the victim was truly a criminal and this will be paraded about as if a police record justifies being executed.
To be sure, the topic of police brutality is a controversial one, but I believe that most should be able to recognize the blindness that some have in regards to even the clearest cases of injustice. Certainly, there are many unclear cases that can result in much debate, but the clear cases are, well, clear. What is going on? How can so many watch a video and not see what everyone else sees? How can so much evidence be ignored? How can reality be twisted so blatantly?
The reason is simple. These individuals wear blue colored glasses, in which a man with a badge can do no wrong, and they have already made up their mind. When faced with contrary evidence, these otherwise rational individuals will twist facts and give an endless line of excuses. They esteem a certain class of man to the point they are unable to see any wrong in them, even when the evidence is hard and numerous. Their presupposition is that their highly-esteemed government official is above reproach, and all narratives must fit that presupposition. When offered evidence to the contrary, they will only ask for more evidence. Nothing is conclusive that doesn’t match the presupposition.
This is a result of sin. This type of scenario is rather common, yet, tens of thousands will demand required bodycams for police. Bodycams won’t completely fix this, and this phenomenon is not at all restricted to the reality of police brutality. The “fix” is seen as simply having more available evidence. But we have the evidence. We do not have merely “two or three” witnesses. We often have much more.
Wherever there are fanboys, sycophants, and man worshipers, there will be a stubborn denial of facts. Evidence be damned. This is nothing short of idolatry. Truth, which belongs to God, is sacrificed on the altar of prejudice and partiality. Whenever you esteem certain men, institutions, or ideas to the point that you are unable to see any error when that error is clearly presented, you have created an idol. You’ve been blinded.
No matter what is done or said, such people run the evidence through a filter that forces it into the desired narrative. The standard of evidence is an ever-moving goal post, never reaching the conclusion that isn’t desired. I cannot emphasize enough that this is a sin problem. We can spend countless hours and hundreds of thousands of words debating police policy or whether or not there should even be public police, but when the clearest cases of police brutality and outright murder are still justified, we’ve moved beyond theory and into sinful idolatry.
Are you more concerned about an agenda than facts? Are your loyalties to a man-made institution or to biblically-prescribed justice? If you care at all about justice and order, even if you have a “thin blue line” American flag decal on your truck, you may need to repent and take off those blue colored glasses.
Originally published on Dec 11, 2017 at The American Vision.