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Reforming ourselves

Reforming ourselves

The Religion News Service reports that one of two police officers shot and killed in Brooklyn this weekend was about to graduate a training program for chaplains, and had spoken of going into full-time ministry after retirement.

Officer Rafael Ramos, a married father who recently celebrated his 40th birthday, had spent ten weeks studying to become a certified chaplain with the New York State Chaplain Task Force, according to the group’s president, Rev. Marcos Miranda.

Miranda told NBC of plans to present the officer’s chaplain credentials to his family at his memorial service.

Commentators continue to try to make sense of the aftermath of the deadly shootings this weekend, and their implications for the recent surge in conversation about race, force, and privilege in American society.

In the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in a nuanced article,

The killing of police officers is not only the destruction of life but an attack on democracy itself. We do not live in a military dictatorship, and police officers are not the representatives of an autarch, nor the enforcers of law handed down by decree. The police are representatives of a state that derives its powers from the people. Thus the strong reaction we have seen to Saturday’s murders is wholly expected and entirely appropriate.
When the police are brutalized by people, we are outraged because we are brutalized. By the same turn, when the police brutalize people, we are forgiving because ultimately we are really just forgiving ourselves. Power, decoupled from responsibility, is what we seek.

Talking of “police reform,” the article argues, obscures the task of reforming ourselves.

In a Time article, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sounded a similar note under the headline, “The Police Aren’t Under Attack: Institutionalized Racism Is.”

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose.” This is the season and time when we should be resolved to continue seeking justice together and not let those with blind biases distract, diminish, or divide us. The way to honor those who defend our liberties with their lives—as did my father and grandfather—is not to curtail liberty, but to exercise it fully in pursuit of a just and peaceful society.


Posted by Rosalind Hughes



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Kenneth Knapp

I sort of get the impression that whoever wrote this thinks that killing police officers is a lesser offense.

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