Let’s get right into it. My mom works for a Sheriff’s department in Oregon. She knows many sergeants and is good friends with a lieutenant. She cracks jokes with cops and has had rubber band wars with detectives. I have always admired these men and women. They chose to spend years in college to learn how to protect the weak and the innocent.
So when I overhear several students in my classes talking about police brutality and white-on-black violence, you can imagine that my pulse quickens. Most of the time I shake it off and remind myself that no matter how I would word my argument, it just wouldn’t come out correctly. I clench my jaw and keep quiet.
I grew up with an African-American best friend. In case you haven’t visited the rainy state of Oregon, there are interracial couples everywhere you look. The idea of racism is nearly non-existant because the majority of the population holds the idea of love at the core of who they are.
When the court ruling was announced in Ferguson, Missouri, protestors in Portland, Oregon, chose to gather on the public Morrison bridge. A team of officers in full riot gear were called out in the middle of the night to protect them from passing cars on the freeway. Protestors tried to push past the officers, screaming at them and spitting on them — throwing the water bottles that were provided for them back in the officer’s faces. I watched on television as one officer — and close family friend — stood idle as he was hit and yelled at by the crowd.
It’s odd to me that an event that took place 2,033 miles away could ripple this far, and how the blame could be put on a group of men and women who weren’t present in Missouri. That evening in Portland, officers were being attacked by those who they had sworn to protect.
Around the early 1940s, the Judeo-Christian set of values gained popularity among the common people. This concept talks about strictly Biblical principles. Regardless of the religion behind the Bible, Judeo-Christian values are accepted as “the right way to live” In fact, Dwight D. Eisenhower used the phrase himself, saying: “our government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith and I don’t care what it is. With us of course it is the Judeo-Christian concept, but it must be a religion that all men are created equal.”
Most of us at Harding come from a Christian background, but our nation as a whole was built on a set of morals that, even without Christianity, still focuses on treating men and women as equals no matter what. I could project my frustrations about mistreated officers all day — and I might be right to do so. However, even putting my personal religious views aside, I have a duty to my country to love all men equally no matter how I feel.
Maybe we can all learn something from the Portland Ferguson rally. Whether or not we choose to believe that injustice took place in Ferguson, we have a duty that drowns out both opposing sides to let it go through Judeo-Christian values. As Dr. Elijah Anthony said at this week’s ASI event, “I don’t believe there is anything we can do about this other than learn to live with it and be the best we can be.”