- David Schrader, PhD. National Pastor
To God – All Lives Matter?
North America is in the midst of a virulent time of unrest. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 of this year was a tragic and unnecessary death. Even though Floyd was recalcitrant, as shown in the officers' body cam videos, he did not have to die in the way he did with a sustained knee to his neck or not to be given CPR when no pulse was detected. We do hope that justice will be served where applicable.
And now, another black man, Jacob Blake, is in critical condition in Kenosha, Wisconsin. While we don't know all the details yet, it is clear from videos that Blake resisted arrest and broke free from the officers. Then he ran towards his car, and while trying to get into it, he was shot in the back seven times by an officer. Reports indicate that Blake may never walk again.
Naturally, all the peaceful protests that followed Floyd's death, and Jacob Blake's shooting, are completely warranted and justified. People rightly need to express their anger over these excessive tactics by the police.
But what is not warranted are the countless numbers of innocent people that have died since; or the businesses that have been destroyed or burned to the ground; or the peoples' livelihoods that have been lost. Protests like these are never peaceful and never productive.
And, to make matters worse, good police officers, who lay their lives on the line every day for people like you and me, are now being vilified, assaulted and killed at the hands of violent protestors.
It is appalling to hear the anti-police vitriol expressed by these lawless rioters. They want to defund the police, or worse still, abolish the police altogether. And, some actors and politicians  have been eager to acquiesce. This is a disturbing example of groupthink at its worst – a delirious and inappropriate rush to opprobrium.
All the violence, destruction, and rancor of these destructive protestors – that the mainstream media calls peaceful  – are meant to call attention to racial injustice. But let's not kid ourselves, these are also demonstrations of schadenfreude  and vicious thuggery . Killing innocent people, smashing businesses and private property and shutting down free speech in an attempt to justify one's cause is never acceptable. But this seems to be the utilitarian thing to do in this new revolution.
There is little constructive thought and discourse on how all of this denigrating talk is going to affect the morale of every good police officer in North America. Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeant's Benevolent Association of the NYPD said "an exodus” from the NYPD has begun. . . morale is “at the lowest levels I’ve seen in 38 years.” 
Seattle’s Black Police Chief, Carmen Best, had this to say when she resigned: “It is not about the money, and it certainly isn’t about the demonstrators. I mean, be real, I have a lot thicker skin than that. It really is about the overarching lack of respect for the officers, the men and women who work so hard, day in and day out.” 
In light of these demoralization tactics toward the police, we need to ask, "If these militant activists south of our border were to achieve their goal of defunding or closing down the police, what would their utopia look like?" And as protestors in our own nation of Canada join their calls for police departments to be defunded or closed down , what kind of conceivable paradise do they envision for Canada?
It's just plain lunacy to believe we are going to reach a better society if you disparage, defund and dismantle police forces across North America. Do they think crime will suddenly diminish?
Since the calls to defund the police have been ramping up, so has the crime. There has been a recent spate of people being killed in the US that have included many innocent children  and black people  as well.
The police are also being targeted with sadistic violence. Recently some New York Police officers joined a prayer march to City Hall that included thousands of people calling for an end to violence soaring across the city. Participants of the march joined in singing after speeches were given encouraging people to stop the violence. But as clergy, parishioners and members of NYPD began their peaceful march, "peaceful" Black Lives Matter protestors charged the police. A video captured someone swinging a stick-like object, possibly a cane, at the Police on the bridge. Three officers were injured in that mêlée. 
In Wisconsin, a police officer was knocked out by a brick as an angry mob cheered and shouted obscenities at the police” during recent riots in Kenosha. 
At the time of writing this article, the city of Portland, Oregon has been under siege for over 90 straight days by a violent mob of lawless anarchists.  Police have had to deal with violent protesters on a nightly basis. Portland protest data shows police have declared at least 17 riots and made more than 490 arrests since May.  An elderly man was brutally beaten by Antifa thugs wielding baseball bats. Another Good Samaritan who came to his defense, was cracked in the skull with a crowbar. Journalist Andy Ngo was set upon by another gang of leftist thugs. He was punched in the face and pummeled by violent kicks. Others in the crowd sprayed the defenseless journalist with milkshakes laced with quick-drying cement and caustic chemicals.
These violent BLM protesters would like us to believe that their destructive protests are about racism – even though their protests are killing innocent black people and destroying their businesses' as well. 
Let me state up front – there are certainly peaceful protesters out there. But their cause is being highjacked by others claiming to be "peaceful".
If these protesters are truly "peaceful", then you would think they would respect a person's right to free speech. Right? Well, if you could ask Jessica Doty, she would beg to disagree. Jessica was a 24-year-old Indianapolis mother who tragically discovered what these "peaceful" protesters thought about her free speech at the end of a gun barrel. Jessica was fatally shot. This all allegedly happened following an argument with supporters of Black Lives Matter. She apparently told the Black Lives Matter supporters that "all lives matter." After the two sides parted ways, witnesses claim that the perpetrator opened fire on Jessica from a bridge nearby and ran away. 
Then there was the situation of a women being accosted by an angry mob of BLM protesters at a Washington, DC restaurant. They got in her face and insisted she raise her fist in defiance with them. She refused to give in to their bold and aggressive intimidation even though many others complied.  Thankfully, she was not hurt. When you have to use coercion and loutish tactics to get people to agree with you – you are not peaceful, and you don't respect free speech.
What ever happened to a disciplined and congenial approach to discourse and debate – you know, the right to agree to disagree with someone? Well, acting US Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli provided his take on that in a recent tweet, "These tyrannical, left-wing anarchists hate free speech. If you do not agree with them, they believe you must be beaten down – literally." 
Today, those who preach tolerance and equality are the least tolerant and egalitarian of all. Tolerance was once understood to be a virtue that operated something like this: If I hold strong views on any particular subject, I am nevertheless judged to be tolerant even if I think that your views are bad, immoral, improper, or evil, but still insist you have the right to defend them.
But today's version of tolerance means that nobody is right or wrong. Everybody is equally right or wrong. So, how does that work? It doesn't. Today, if you don’t agree with some people, then you are deemed intolerant, a racist, a bigot, and you will be shamed by a cancel culture.
And when people unleash their hatred and violence towards the police because they deem them all to be evil, it is not going to make things better. I spoke with a police officer, on condition of anonymity, who said, "If the police are called to some jurisdictions where a crime is in progress, they will be hesitant to go, knowing that any show of force on their part could be misconstrued or called unjustified – potentially resulting in a lawsuit and loss of their job." Who can blame them for feeling this way? They simply don't feel supported in this riotous and acrimonious environment.
When all others run away from a person wielding a gun, do we now want our police officers, who are there to protect us, to do the same? Folks, this is not a good situation.
God instituted authority for the good of all people. In Romans 13:1-2, the Apostle Paul said, "Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So, anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished."
Elsewhere, he reminded Titus, "Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good." (Titus 3:1).
The Apostle Peter said, "For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right (1 Pet. 2:13-14)."
God has given us a great plan for a peaceful and well-ordered society. But this plan will only work when police officers see and respect their authority as being derived from God and treat others with decency and respect.
Civilians, on the other hand, must see their duty under God to respect that authority. But if no one respects God and his authority over their lives – then the godless anarchy you now see in major cities in the US will be the inevitable result. It's a harbinger of what's to come when the man of lawlessness [the Antichrist] is revealed before Jesus Christ's second coming (see: 2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Don't believe in the Devil – the one behind the man of lawlessness? Maybe you see yourself as too enlightened to embrace such a view? I certainly believe in him. What other explanation can you give to the wanton destruction and violence wrought by these protesters?
Before I was a Christian the Apostle Paul described my life in detail. "You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God." (Ephesians 2:2).
What do you really think when you see the destruction and lawlessness in cities across the USA? What do you think when you see violence directed toward the police? Do you think these are just some psychologically maladjusted protesters – releasing their pent-up anger over Covid 19 restrictions? No, this violence comes from none other than the devil – who is "at work in the hearts of those that refuse to obey God." Lawlessness, and rebellion against God's authority, are always the Devil's tactics.
Yes, police officers are not perfect. They are just like us. But God didn't ask us to respect them only if they are perfect. If that was the case, no one would ever be good enough to be respected as a police officer.
It's just ludicrous to assume that all police officers are inherently bad and racist because of a few officers' actions, just as much as it would be wrong for us to assume that all doctors are bad because a few doctors are less then ethical in the treatment of a patient. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed this absurd reasoning like this: "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
To be clear, there may be times as Christians when we will be called to obey God rather than those in authority. But this would only be true where authorities and governments want us to do something contrary to God's Word. Otherwise, we are called upon to pray for those in authority over us and to respect them. And, this should be most evident in churches where they should be eager to obey the Bible's directives on respecting authority, rather than jumping on the latest cultural hype train. But alas, this is not always the case.
A Christian Police Chief in Atlanta, who just resigned, expressed his own angst over this lack of support and the nature of BLM organization in an open letter on Facebook:
I believe that the lives of every black man, woman, and child matter, just as much as the lives of every white man, woman, and child and police officer. “But I do not support the Black Lives Matter as a movement as it seems to glorify the killing of my brothers and sisters.” It is not what you pastors and religious leaders think it is. Stop trying to be relevant and look deeper into what you are saying, posting, and tagging before you do it. But please... never give up the fight against racism. I will not surrender to this fight for justice. I take a knee of surrender to my Lord and Savior alone,” he said.
To the religious leaders in our communities. To Pastors, directors of ministries, youth Pastors, worship leaders . . . To anyone who leads a congregation of faith in any religion or denomination. You have failed us. By us, I mean the men and women of the law enforcement communities and our families. Our spouses. Our children. Our loved ones. I write this as a Christian, church worker, and a Police Chief that is blessed to serve one of the most courageous, righteous, and self-sacrificing segments of our communities.
And then there have been countless words that I as a Christian am ashamed to hear. “Chief, our pastors have abandoned us”. “They have sold us out for slogans in the name of attempting to be relevant”. “Chief, what about us?” “Why has my pastor and congregation hash-tagged organizations that condone killing us in their social media postings and sermons?” “Chief, don’t they know that the movements they are promoting at its core celebrates the killing of police officers simply because they wear the badge. . . I have stayed away from the sermons and social media posts. But not all of our officers have. And you have abandoned them. Left them disillusioned. Left them questioning if there is a place for them in your congregations and ultimately in service to the Kingdom as a whole. Shame on you! 
Can you hear the demoralization? It's coming from the last place on earth you would expect to see it coming from –churches. As churches and Christians, we must do better. Yes, we must detest racism and do all we can to alleviate discrimination– but never at the expense of supporting our good and decent police officers. A civil society needs law and order. We must see that the bad apples are dealt with; but we must not lose respect for all police officers.
Racism has been with us for a long time. It's a heart issue. Always has been and always will be.
It is only when Christ lives and reigns in our hearts that racial hostility will be obliterated. The late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew this well. He never advocated for violence either. He said, "Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.” 
Then, why don't we love each other? Well, shortly after our first two parents were created, they sinned by disobeying God. That's when hate and bigotry appeared, along with every other known sin that our world has ever seen or experienced. Death has also come into our world as a result of our sin. The Apostle Paul said, "When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned (Romans 5:12)."
But here is the good news: for all our sin, including the ugliness of racism and hatred there is forgiveness. The Apostle Paul said, "For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:15)." No wonder it's called amazing grace – Jesus came to forgive us of all our sins!
No one has highlighted our problem better than a black police officer who said the following to a BLM protestor, "America and the world has a sin problem . . .you understand me? That’s where racism, injustice, and hate and anger and violence come from. It’s not about racism."
If we are going to see a cure to the hatred and hostility erupting in our world, all of us must deal with our sin. We all need God's forgiveness. We all need a Saviour. We all need to follow Christ's teachings.
Do you know why all lives matter to God? Because in God's heaven it will be made up of "a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages (Revelation 7:9). Do you know why people from every nation will be there? They will be there because they've accepted God's offer of forgiveness and chose to follow his Son Jesus Christ.
Why not accept God's offer of forgiveness? Don't let your sins blind you to your need for a Saviour. It doesn't matter what you've done or the color of your skin, God desires to forgive you.
Remember, your life, and all lives, matter to God. That's why Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
 Khaleda Rahman, Chrissy Teigen, Seth Rogen, Celebrities Donate Money to Bail Out Those Arrested in Nationwide Protests, ,https://www.newsweek.com/celebrities-donate-bail-protesters-1507641, Newsweek, May 5, 2020.
 Reid Epstein, "These Top Democrats Go Further Than Biden on Diverting Police Funds", https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/us/politics/defund-police-protests-democrats.html, New York Times, June 26, 2020.
 See: Jim Haines, Rep. Jim Jordan Plays Video Montage of Protest Violence at Judiciary Committee Hearing With AG Barr, https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/ 2020/07/28/rep_jim_jordan _plays_video_montage_of_protest_violence_at_judiciary_ committee_hearing.html, Real Clear Politics, July 28, 2020 and James Robinson, BBC blasted for headline saying Black Lives Matter protests in London were 'largely peaceful' after 27 police officers were injured, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8398095/BBC-blasted-Black-Lives-Matter-protests-largely-peaceful-headline-despite-27-officers-injured.html, Daily Mail, UK, June 8, 2020.
 Khaleda Rahman, Black Lives Matter Chicago Organizer Defends Looting: 'That's Reparations', https://www.newsweek.com/black-lives-matter-chicago-defends-looting-reparations-1524502, Newsweek, Aug, 12, 2020
 Edmund Demarche, Portland protest turns violent, brutal assault caught on video, https://www.foxnews.com/us/portland-protest-turns-violent-brutal-assault-caught-on-video-report, Fox News, August 17, 2020.
 Dean Balsamini, 272 uniformed NYPD cops file for retirement after George Floyd death, https://nypost.com/2020/06/27/272-nypd-cops-file-for-retirement-since-floyd-protests/, New York Post, June 27, 2020.
 Bradford Betz, Outgoing Seattle police chief says it's not about money, but 'lack of respect' for officers, https://www.foxnews.com/us/seattle-police-chief-carmen-best-resignation-lack-of-respect, Fox News, August 11, 2020.
 Mark Gollum, Calls to defund the police gain traction with some Canadian policymakers. But what does it mean? https://www.cbc.ca/news/defund-the-police-canada-1.5605430, CBC News, June 10, 2020. and Andrew Russel, Defund the police? Canadians split along generational lines, Ipsos poll suggests, https://globalnews.ca/news /7213811/defund-the-police-canada-ipsos-poll/, Global News, July 27, 2020.
 Mark Berman, Shayna Jacobs, Ben Guarino and Mark Guarino, Major U.S. cities, gripped with crisis, now face spike in deadly shootings, including of children, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national /america-spike-gun-violence/2020/07/06/15508ac8-bfa0-11ea-9fdd-b7ac6b051dc8_story.html, The Washington Post, July 6, 2020.
 Lisa Marie Pane, "Death toll grows in U.S. protests against anti-black racism", https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/death-toll-grows-in-u-s-protests-against-anti-black-racism-1.4964834, CTV News, June 2, 2020.
 Myles Miller, Marc Santia and R. Darren Price ,Top NYPD Cop Among Officers Hurt in Bloody Brooklyn Bridge Scuffle With Protesters https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/top-nypd-cop-among-officers-hurt-in-scuffle-with-protesters/2517385/, NBC New York, July 16, 2020.
 Lee Brown, Wisconsin officer knocked out by brick thrown during riots in Kenosha, https://nypost.com/2020/08/24/officer-knocked-out-by-brick-thrown-in-kenosha-as-protesters-shout-f-k-the-police/, New York Post, August 24, 2020.
 Nate Hochman, “Peaceful” Riots Continue, Portland burns, while the media and the Democrats fiddle, https://www.city-journal.org/portland-riots-protests-continuez, City Journal, Manhattan Institute, August 24,2020.
 Stephanie Pagones, Portland protest data shows police have declared at least 17 riots, made more than 490 arrests since May, https://www.foxnews.com/us/portland-protest-data-show-police-have-declared-17-riots-made-490-arrests-since-may, Fox News, August 22, 2020
 Todd Starnes, Todd Starnes: Portland’s mayor has turned his city over to Antifa thugs, https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/todd-starnes-antifa-portland-mayor, Fox News, July 1, 2020.
 See the following article for a list of black people that have been killed or their businesses destroyed: Marc Thiessen, The deaths that don’t fit the ‘defund the police’ narrative, https://www.washingtonpost.com /opinions/2020/06/09/deaths-that-dont-fit-defund-police-narrative/, The Washington Post, June 9, 2020.
 Collin Jones, An Indianapolis mother was shot and killed after saying "all lives matter" in argument about Black Lives Matter, https://thepostmillennial.com/indianapolis-mother-shot-killed-saying-all-lives-matter, The Post Millennial, July 12, 2020.