In 2019, Pope Francis, following a church investigation, defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after determining he had repeatedly sexually abused minors and adult seminarians earlier in his career. On July 28, 2021, a criminal complaint was filed in Massachusetts against McCarrick, charging him with three counts of indecent assault. Among the charges were the sexual assault of a 16-year old girl in the 1970s and several assaults against a male in 1974. He is the first cardinal in the United States ever charged criminally for a sexual offense against a minor. Several other alleged victims in New York and New Jersey resorted to filing civil lawsuits against McCarrick for abusing them as children during the 1970s-1990s since filing criminal charges were barred by the states’ statute of limitations.
Basilian priest Father William Hodgson Marshall died in 2014 at age 92, but not before he pleaded guilty in 2011 to 16 counts of indecent assault of minors and one count of sexual assault for incidents occurring between 1952 and 1986.
Two Texas newspapers conducted a six-month investigation that discovered, since 1998, approximately 380 Southern Baptist leaders and volunteers sexually abused more than 700 victims, with the perpetrators having urged some to undergo abortions and to forgive them.
Criminal records reveal religious leaders of diverse faiths have violated their sacred oaths, committing unspeakable crimes. These have included adulterous relationships as well as murder. Being a member of the clergy is no guarantee one will live a life free of sin and committed to preserving the trust one’s flock bestows in spiritual leaders.
Yet, despite the wrongdoings of some spiritual leaders, there has never been a call to defund the churches these evildoers represent. The reason is obvious: Such acts are seen as transgressions by a relatively small group of sinful church leaders. In considering the work of all who are dedicated to serving the spiritual needs of the people, the greater good provided by the vast majority far outweighs the bad done by a sinful few. So great is the good, the damage done by the bad becomes inconsequential. Church members know they have spiritual needs that require ministering to by faithful and committed church leaders and, therefore, refuse to allow the crimes of the few to taint the good done by so many.
There is a parallel between the public’s need for trusted ministers and its need for trusted law enforcement officers. Just like the ministry has given rise to a few members who have violated that trust, so too has law enforcement. But, just like the vast majority of ministers provide a greater spiritual good to the public, so too do law enforcement officers provide a greater good to society. Just like a call to defund churches will never be heard, a call to defund police should never have been heard. But, in targeting white police officers for isolated cases of abusing black suspects, Black Lives Matter (BLM) has managed to make the sins of the few an issue while totally disregarding the overall good provided by the overwhelming majority of police officers.
It defies logic that BLM, as a Marxist group, is able to play on white guilt to promote the superiority of black lives to those of all other races and, in doing so, to give the call to defund police a national voice. It defies logic that rational people ignore the fact that a common element in the vast majority of cases in which black suspects are killed or wounded by police is the suspect’s violent actions or refusal to comply with officers’ reasonable demands (74%). It defies logic that BLM, upon hearing a black suspect has been shot by police, makes no effort to learn the facts of the incident before issuing calls for counter-action and, even less sense, that those hearing the call rush to protest, often violently, without regard to the underlying circumstances. BLM, due to its assertion of black life superiority, has effectively become a knee-jerk mechanism for triggering anti-law enforcement reactions to any incident it manipulates to interpret as “unjustified” white-on-black violence. It is an easy spin when facts simply do not matter.
For those cities that opted to defund police departments, liberal leaders seem to be surprised at skyrocketing crime rates. Such perpetrators no longer feel the need to hide in the darkness of the night to commit their crimes as robberies and unprovoked assaults are undertaken in broad daylight. A police void has been filled by brazen criminals. Shoplifters nonchalantly steal products openly from store shelves as if they were shopping.
One is hard-pressed to identify a profession not tainted by some of its members who have violated the trust associated with it to claim innocent victims. Reflecting on the wrongs of law enforcement as opposed to those committed in other professions, defunders give little thought to the fact the latter have much more time to decide whether to act than do the former. Police officers often have mere seconds, often due to the unexpected actions of their suspects, while members of other professions, as their own initiators, have plenty of time to decide whether to commit the wrong. Police are unfairly held to the standard that all be accountable for the sins of the few.
After BLM gave wings to the defund police movement and after several cities opted to defund local law enforcement, irresponsibly giving the consequences of doing so little forethought, the resulting high increase in crime seems to have cleared the heads of city officials who now realize police defunding was a bad idea. But what will always remain worrisome is how BLM was able to so poison city leaders’ minds about law enforcement with their outrageous claims by refusing to recognize while to err is human, only he committing the error should be held accountable.
Unfortunately, every profession will have its miscreants; however, the actions of those few should never impact negatively upon the positive actions of the many. By defunding police, we are simply shooting ourselves in the foot.
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