This Badge

Tomorrow is Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration marking the official end to slavery in the United States. In December 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, officially abolishing slavery. An estimated 250,000 slaves were emancipated on June 19, 1865. Celebrations on June 19 took place the following year, and the holiday stuck.

This year’s observance of Juneteenth is particularly poignant, given the numerous events of the past several weeks that have a direct or indirect connection to alleged and actual racism. Unless you’ve been hibernating, you’re well aware of the events I have in mind.

Highly publicized outcry following the death of a black man in the process of being arrested has catalyzed not only peaceful protests calling for justice but also violent riots and calls for defunding police forces across the nation. Can you imagine living in a nation with no law enforcement?

Recently I read a report from the NYPD that hundreds of police officers were injured during New York City’s protests over George Floyd’s death. Officers were hit in the head with bricks and glass bottles, and watched as their patrol cars went up in flames.

Here are words I recently saw that offer very important perspectives on officers of the law. It was obviously intended to speak to those who dislike or even hate law enforcement officers, perceiving them to be untrustworthy, uncaring, disrespectful, insensitive, and undisciplined.


You hate me because I wear a badge.
Let me tell you about this badge and the thousands of men and women it represents.
This badge ran towards certain death as the Towers collapsed on 9-11.
This badge ran into the line of fire to save the people in the Pulse Night Club in Orlando.
This badge sheltered thousands as bullets rained down from the Mandalay Hotel in Las Vegas.
This badge protected a Black Lives Matter rally that left five officers dead in Dallas.
This badge ran into the Sandy Hook School to stop an active shooter in Connecticut.
This badge has done CPR on your drowned child in your back yard.
This badge has physically subdued the wife beater who left his spouse in a coma.
This badge has run into burning buildings to save the occupants.
This badge has waded through flood waters to rescue the elderly trapped on the roof.
This badge has intentionally crashed into the wrong way driver to protect innocent motorists.
This badge has helped find the lost child so his mother would stop crying hysterically.
This badge has helped the injured dog off the road and rushed it to the vet.
This badge has bought food for hungry kids because they had been abandoned.
This badge has been soaked in blood and tears.
This badge has escorted the elderly woman across the street because she couldn’t see well and was afraid to cross.
This badge has been covered by a mourning band to honor those who have sacrificed everything in service.
This badge has been shot and killed for simply existing.

You may hate me because I wear this badge. But I wear it with pride. Despite your hate and your anger, I will await the next call for help. And I will come running without hesitation. Just like the thousands of men and women across this great nation who wear this badge. ~Author Unknown

What’s the bottom line? A Facebook post says it well: “Please do not let the officer who murdered George Floyd define what you think about law enforcement officers in general. There are so many phenomenal officers out there who put their life on the line for us every day and they do not deserve the hate.” Well spoken.

My prayer is that our gracious God would direct and protect officers of the law in the performance of their duties, guiding them to use restraint when possible, judicious forcefulness when necessary, and at all times, wisdom and discernment when dealing with every person, regardless of race, color, or creed, especially in circumstances requiring split-second decisions that have life and death consequences for all involved, always respecting “the Constitutional rights of all persons to liberty, equality and justice.” (Texas Police Association Code of Ethics)

“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Proverbs 21:15

Whose Sin is the Greatest?

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Recent events in Charlottesville and other scenes of destruction and death have produced in our country conflict and division about the rightness or wrongness of harmful actions and of any response thereto. No rational person I know approves of willfully hurting or harming a human being. Yet there are some on both sides who justify their side’s violent behavior in Charlottesville.

Can anyone in his or her right mind condone extreme ideology that leads to violence, whether in the form of vicious demonstration, vitriolic protest, or, even worse, suicide bombing or driving a vehicle into a crowd, in Charlottesville or Barcelona, that results in injury or death of innocent bystanders?

The actions of racists, Neo-Nazis, anti-Semitists, white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan, ISIS, and similar groups should be unequivocally condemned. The same condemnation is due any person or group who behaves violently for any reason other than genuine self-defense.

One related and causative issue that has developed into a highly emotional one is the endeavor to remove statues of Confederate heroes from the American landscape. The presenting reason is that these heroes condoned, endorsed, and practiced slavery and therefore their statues should be demolished or at least moved to a museum, out of sight of the majority of residents and tourists.

That begs a question. Where does one draw the line when determining whose statue to remove from public view, whose name to remove from a school building or street sign, and whose reputation to downgrade from hero to scoundrel on the basis of positions held or decisions implemented that now taint their historic heroic actions?

Is condoning and practicing the sin of racism in the form of slavery the only offense worthy of statue removal, school or street name change? What about other sins? Some United States presidents have had numerous extramarital affairs and children sired out of wedlock. Some were also involved in bribery, kickbacks, tax evasion, espionage, and gun-running scandals, to name a few less than godly activities.

So, whose sin is the greatest? The man who made his living on the backs of the slaves he owned or the man who found his pleasure in the bodies of the women he seduced?

Question: If statues of heroes are removed because they were racist, why we would not also remove any form of adulation of U.S. presidents who have committed adultery or any other grievous sin? Do we rename our nation’s capital because George Washington owned 317 slaves at the time of his death, even though he freed them through his will upon Martha’s death?

Whose sin is the greatest? Rom. 3:23 says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And Jesus says: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” John 8:7.


SlaveryTomorrow is a day of special importance, particularly for people whose ancestors spent all or at least part of their lives in slavery in America. An article titled History of Juneteenth provides a summary of this special day ( Here are excerpts:

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official January 1, 1863.

General Granger read this order: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom. The desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America.

Recounting that historic day in 1865, June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” as a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on that date.

On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official holiday in the state of Texas through the efforts of Al Edwards, an African American state legislator. Legislation he introduced marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration with official state recognition.

Today Juneteenth is celebrated in many ways and many places, with institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Henry Ford Museum and others sponsoring Juneteenth-centered activities.

Significantly, the apostle Paul wrote a long time ago these words in Galatians 3:26-28: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Happy Juneteenth!