Recently, I heard that the Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks published an editorial for a local newsletter wherein he wrote that the people have a “moral obligation” to obey the police because their authority comes from “God”, which is stupid (for reasons I’ll get into later on). In the editorial, he claims that the government allows criminals to do whatever they please until they are proven guilty while law enforcement officers are immediately found guilty are found guilty as soon as it appears they have done something wrong, which is just as stupid. This man has no idea about the concept of innocent until proven guilty. No is “allowed” to commit crimes, and being presumed innocent until proven guilty doesn’t mean you get to walk free until you’re found guilty. You can be arrested if you are suspected of having committed a crime and if you are found guilty of committing that crime you will be punished, but you can’t be sentenced for that crime until you are proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are guilty through hard evidence and a court of law. That’s how what innocent until proven guilty means.
Meeks published his editorial just days after a Grand Jury declined to indict a deputy of his for assaulting Deanna Robinson, who was pregnant at the time, and also declined to indict Robinson for allegedly assaulting the officer. Here’s the thing, Meeks complains that law enforcement officers are immediately found guilty as soon as it appears they have committed wrongdoing, which would presume the absence of the involvement of a trial, but I’m a tad confused what he thinks “appears” means because the video clearly shows the deputy assaulting the pregnant woman, which would be taken as visual evidence. Does he not recognize it when an officer of the law is exerting undue force against a pregnant woman? Or is it that he simply doesn’t believe law enforcement officers should be held accountable for any kinds of abuses.
He states explicitly that the authority of law enforcement over the people comes directly from “God”, which in this case can only mean the Judeo-Christian deity Jehovah since he refers to the Bible as supposedly mandating his views. Specifically he refers to Romans 13:1 and 2, which together state:
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1
“Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:2
It’s not hard to imagine why this is inherently problematic, or just plain entirely wrong. If you believe the above verse to be true, then it suggests that law enforcement officers are infallible, due their authority having been established by a “higher power” so to speak. The problem with this is that this means that law enforcement officers can do whatever they want to people, even if it wildly exceeded what we would consider to be their authority because to them nothing exceeds their authority, and even if it consisted of killing, raping, and generally abusing the people they are supposed to be protecting. You can’t let law enforcement become infallible because it means they can’t be held accountable for any abuse, wrongdoing, misconduct, or incompetence on their part, and it also means the people can’t demand any redress of grievances caused by abuse, wrongdoing, misconduct, or incompetence, which in my opinion can only do more harm to law and order than any sort of good. In any case, we would definitely have authoritarianism at work, individuals would have no liberty and law and order would be inadequate because it is based on brute force and tyranny rather than sound governing principles.
The other problem is that, in any case, the idea that the authority of law enforcement and governments is mandated by any sort of “God” is complete bullshit because, when you think about it, it’s entirely inaccurate. All systems of law, order, and government are, and have always been, constructed by human beings. They are human constructs, they require human investment, and without human beings they are nothing. No matter how much they are inspired by anything “divine”, they are human. It doesn’t matter what the Bible or any texts like it say, because human history contradicts this assertion indefinitely and consistently.
But of course, this stuff is all something that the foolish Randy Meeks has failed to account for.