Scripture on Policing in America

With the killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests and riots, policing in America has risen to the forefront of our cultural discussion. As we investigate recent acts of police brutality and discussions about systematic racism, certain questions begin to emerge. What is the right response to the vulnerable or oppressed people in our society? How do systems and people become corrupt? What are the proper boundaries of force for individuals and for the state?

In this episode, Dru Johnson and Celina Durgin talk about threads of teaching in Scripture regarding the use of force and systemic racism, as well as practical steps that the Torah and Jesus taught to bring justice into unjust communities. They discuss evaluating police use of force and police–community relations in light of biblical principles, God’s wrath against oppressors, epistemic humility, and how the church can care for the vulnerable.

Show notes:

  • 1:28 How Torah protections for the vulnerable bear on our notion of justice
  • 4:00 How the powerful/vulnerable dynamic plays out in state agency and police use of force
  • 7:48 How the Torah evaluates self-defense and de-escalation
  • 15:20 God’s wrath against those who mistreat the vulnerable
  • 23:04 What the church should do in response to exploitation of the vulnerable
  • 36:02 Why epistemic humility is essential for just policing in America
  • 38:47 What we can learn from the modern Israeli military

Show notes by Micah Long.

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