Is Police Protection a Right?

I was having a discussion on line the other day about whether healthcare is a right. Amid the usual progressive arguments of “you want people to die,” and “you’re a sack of sh#t,” someone asked a good question. What, they said, about police, fire and military protection?

I had made the point that no one has a right to anything that imposes an obligation on someone else or, said another way, the only true rights are negative rights.

They pointed out that protecting the public does, in fact, place an obligation on someone else, namely the police officer, fire fighter or soldier. While that is true, and I believe those are legitimate functions of government, it does not then follow that individuals have a right to the services provided by those functions.

A right is something every single person possesses that the government cannot take away. Said another way, they are universal and unalienable. Therefore, government must ensure that all people’s rights are protected all the time. You don’t have a right to freedom of the press only when resources are available, you have it always. So if police protection is a right, every unthwarted mugging is a violation of an individual’s rights and the police department must be held accountable for that violation to the same degree as if they kicked in your door and searched your house without a warrant. They were required to do something, protect you from crime, and they did not. They, therefore, violated your rights.

Of course that’s silly but that’s what we must believe if we say every individual has a right to police protection. A right is not just something the government makes available; it is something the government MUST do. When they don’t, a citizen has grounds to pursue legal recourse.

So, again, only negative rights are rights. In the scenario we’re discussing, the negative right is the right to self-defense. Government may not interfere with that. While I hope the police will prevent me from being assaulted, I have the right to stop the assault myself whether they show up or not. That is why the right to own and carry a gun cannot be infringed. Because to do so is to violate a real civil right, the right to self-defense.

Don’t Expect Unbelievers to Act Like Believers?

One of the cliches of contemporary Christianity is “You can’t expect unbelievers to act like believers.” It’s often said in response to outrage or concern over current cultural conditions. The implication is we should not get all exercised about people’s behavior because, well, boys will be boys, so let’s just concentrate on the gospel and not try to reform the behavior of unbelievers because it can’t be done.

But is that true? Should Christians put no effort in trying to reform the culture or even the behavior of individuals short of their full conversion to the Faith? Is it impossible for someone to change a behavior that is harmful to themselves or society short of conversion?

To start answering that question let’s do an exercise in walking through to the logical consequences of this belief:

“I wish Hitler and the Nazis would stop loading Jews onto trains and taking them to concentration camps.”

“Well, you can’t expect unbelievers to act like believers.”

Or in our modern day:

,”I wish women would stop murdering their babies in the womb by the thousands each year.”

“Well, you can’t expect unbelievers to act like believers.”

Or what about an individual example:

“I wish my brother-in-law would stop drinking up his paycheck every week and buy food and clothes for my sister and their kids.”

“Well, you can’t expect unbelievers to act like believers.”

If you think those are extreme examples, you’re right. The point is, there is a point where everyone recognizes human behavior can and should change – whether the person engaging in that behavior is a believer or not. A change in behavior will never save my soul but it can make life in this realm better for myself and those I impact.

The problem may be in our understanding of what it means to “act like a believer.”

While Christianity always bears fruit in someone’s life, we cannot assume because a person is moral or loving to his family or law-abiding that he’s a believer. If that’s true, then nor can we assume because they are lost they have no ability to change for the better since clearly there are some people behaving morally who are not converted.

Christians understand God’s grace at work in the world in two different ways. One way is saving grace – the unmerited favor God gives to those who repent of their sins and place their trust in Him. God gives His saving grace to whomever He chooses (Romans 9:15). When we receive that kind of grace, God gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). Therefore, everything about us changes from our outward behavior to our inward motivation. We stop being about ourselves and start doing everything for the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).

The other way is God’s common grace. Common grace is the unmerited favor God bestows on all mankind whereby He provides us with the good things of this world in far greater abundance than we deserve – which is to say, not at all (Matthew 5:45).  Part of this common grace is the restraint of evil. When evil is restrained it is always a grace of God but as with many other of God’s graces He often accomplishes it through ordinary means such as governments (Romans 13:2-4), the influence of friends (I Corinthians 15:33), and the actions of the godly (Joseph & Daniel both were used by God to bless believers and unbelievers alike through their skilled leadership).

On a mission trip to Ecuador last year I met an American expatriate. He was a nice man. By all appearances a very successful one as well. He shared with a colleague and me how he’s been sober for many years after struggling for many other years with alcohol abuse. But, when we began to speak with him about the gospel, he denied that Christ was essential for a relationship with God. He believed there were many ways to god and that the god he was praying to every day was going to accept him one day.

This man was lost. But, he was also sober to the good of his earthly well-being and that of his family. I praise God for the latter and yet pray too that he will come to know Christ to the good of his eternal well-being.

So, can we expect unbelievers to act like believers? No, not if by that we mean following Christ and doing all things to the glory of God. But, we can and should expect them to act like creatures formed in the image of God who have His existence written on their hearts – because that is what they are. And we should not hesitate to make an effort to influence them for the good of themselves and others in this temporal plane while remembering the most important thing we can do for them is share the gospel.

 

A Racist Under Every Snack

We live in interesting times. What was unthinkable even five years ago is now commonplace. I have A Racist Under Every Snackto do a double-take at least once each day when reading the news to be sure I’ve read something correctly, that it really did say what I thought it did. Such was the case yesterday when I read this article in National Review:

“Cops Called on My Third-Grade Son over Racism Concerns for Talking About Brownies”

Yes, that’s really what you just read. You did it too, right? That double-take thing.

Anyway, it seems the latest front in the war against racism is elementary school classrooms. Apparently, racism is so pervasive, so insidious that it can be found even in a discussion among third-graders about snack food:

According to the student’s mother, her nine-year-old son was participating in a conversation about the bakery treat during his end-of-the-year class party at William P. Tatem Elementary School on June 16 when another student remarked that his comment was racist. Rather than explain to the accusing student that the name of the baked good is a generally accepted term and not racially charged whatsoever, the school actually called the police.

While you can’t be a terrorist even if you want to be and announce ahead of time you are one, you can be a racist simply by being accused of such. Racism is always in the eye of the accuser.

All you race warriors out there here’s where your obsession has gotten us – not to a society where racism has ceased (which I don’t think you want anyway – it’s a job security thing) but a society where “racism” is used as the justification for sending the police to an elementary school to harass and frighten a third-grader.
 
If you are legitimately concerned about racism (not just using it as a wedge issue to garner more power), you better start putting as much effort into calling out people and situations like this as you do calling out racism because any legitimate concerns you have are going to be subsumed by the racism-is-everywhere folks who have thus far operated with impunity while sharing space under your umbrella.

 

Otherwise, when the wolf of racism really does show up, the people of the village are going to ignore your cries for help.

Betty and Gloria Survive A Not Terror Attack

Betty and Gloria Survive A Not Terror AttackBetty & Gloria were on the subway headed home from their weekly fight the patriarchy rally. As the train pulled into the next stop a man dressed in black boarded. As soon as the doors closed he pulled out a gun and began waving it around.

“Alluha Akbaaaaaarr.” He shouted

“Oh no, Betty,” Gloria screamed “it’s one of those fundamentalist Christians who hates gay people!”

“I know and he’s, he’s, he’s got one of those things!”

“What things?” said Gloria

“Those gun things. It could jump out of his hand at any moment and kill us all!”

“Listen infidels,” the man said “I’m a loyal soldier of ISIS here to inflict Allah’s justice on the decadent west.”

“What did he say?” asked Betty, who was cowering under the seat by now.

“That he’s from the NRA and he’s here to make sure ten year olds can buy fully automatic weapons at gun shows,” whispered Gloria.

“Oh no, we’re doomed. Those people are as crazy as it gets!”

“Shut up infidel spawns of Satan!” the man barked.

By the time the train pulled into the next station the platform was filled with police and SWAT. The man began threatening to shoot the passengers.

As he leveled his gun at Betty & Gloria, a shot rang out. The man dropped to the floor. The police rushed the car and in moments it was over thanks to a police sharpshooter.

Afterwards Betty & Gloria were interviewed by the police.

“Ma’am, what can you tell us about what happened?”

“Don’t you ma’am me you cisgender fascist,” said Betty.

“Oh, sorry, well, what did you ladi…um…I mean can you tell me what happened?”

“It’s all kind of a blur,” said Gloria. “The only thing I remember for sure is that he was waving a Confederate flag.”

Betty and Gloria walked along in silence as they headed home wondering how this could have happened. Finally Betty said:

“You know Gloria, it occurs to me that perhaps we’re wrong about this man.”

“How do you mean?”

“I bet he was just a self-loathing transgender man who had been oppressed his whole life by being forced to use the women’s restroom and he finally just had enough.”

“You could be right,” said Gloria. “And if that’s true, you can’t really blame him. I bet he’s even had people bully him by refusing to use his preferred pronoun.”

“Yes,” said Betty. “It’s sad. What a mixed up world we live in.”

“Indeed.” said Gloria.

 

 

 

 

Retailer Announces New Policy

6737321913_282a13db70_zMajor retailer Bull’s-Eye: BULL (NYSE) announced Thursday that it was updating the access policy in all its stores. “Bull’s-Eye is an inclusive company and we want to be sure no one who walks in our stores feels excluded in any way,” said Eileen Wayleft, head of customer relations. “As a result, all those offensive ‘Employees Only’ signs will be taken down. From now on, every person who walks in our store will have access to every area. No one should be told they can’t walk through a door simply because they don’t happen to work for Bull’s-Eye.”

The retail giant also announced an end to parking places exclusively for the handicapped and expectant mothers. Wayleft said, “Any distinction made among people for any reason is discrimination, something that is against our values here at Bull’s-Eye.”

When asked if they would be moving the cigarettes from behind the Plexiglas at register seven so smokers can buy a pack of Camels without feeling like second-class shoppers, Wayleft replied, “Are you crazy! Smokers should have their houses and children taken away from them and be exiled to…um, I mean no comment.”

Photo credit: ClaraDon via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND