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Thoughts on a serious question.

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by QuietCarry, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. QuietCarry


    May 28, 2005
    What are your thoughts on sworn personell also serving in thier faith? The point I'm driving to: for example, is there a conflict if that person is ordained through a national church body (I only add that to clarify the serious commitment and not just something created from the internet or something similar.) and receives contraban from a person at the altar confessing and repenting (who may or may not know the person they are praying with is a sworn officer)? Deriliction of duty? Breech of clergy confidentiality? Thoughts? Thanks.
  2. Fenglock


    Jan 14, 2003
    Common sense, spirit of the law etc...

  3. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005
    It would have to be kept confidential. Even if you did do something about it wouldn't be admissable in court.
  4. Napalm561


    Apr 21, 2009
    I would think the response would depend in which capacity the receiver of the contraband was currently serving. As a priest, I believe the reception of the contraband would be kept confidential, and not admissable in a court of law.
    On the other hand, if the same person were working in a law enforcement capacity, then I would think the situation could be different, with Officer discretion.
  5. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005
    If the officer was a priest/pastor/reverand whatever, then he should be protected by the law. I have worked with and officer that is a minister.

    You can always decline to help the subject, and refer him to a neighboring minister for help.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  6. Arc Angel

    Arc Angel Deus Vult!

    Sep 20, 2003
    Penn's Woods
    As a Christian you're obligated to both pray over the faults of others AND confess your own faults, too. Within the spiritual body of your own congregation you have both a divine responsibility to confess personal sins as well as to enjoin the confession of sin from others.

    (Otherwise you're consciously denying the validity of both Testaments as well as any potential your own spiritual community may have to redeem, 'lost souls'. Remember it is not given to any of us to presumptuously place ourselves into the position of being a judge.)

    At the same time every Christian has a responsibility to obey the law of the land; but, this responsibility is limited to obedience within the parameters of the greater Law of God. Christians may not riot; they may not deliberately commit a (serious) crime; but, then again, neither does a Christian have to obey any temporal authority when that authority demands disobedience to God.

    This is the, 'balancing act' you're presently struggling with. I'm not able to tell you what to do. I can tell you, however, what I would do in your situation. The first question I would ask myself is, 'Am I confronted by a crime-in-progress?' The second question I would ask myself is, 'Are other people and, perhaps, their welfare at (immediate or significant) risk here?' The third question I would want answered is, 'How probable is it that this fallen brother is willing to repent his formerly evil ways and return his soul, fully and completely, to God?'

    People DO repent; and there is nothing to be gained, either individually or collectively, by extracting revenge. Oftentimes a repentant sinner will do an excellent job of condemning himself. Neither you, I, nor anybody else need interfere. I'm sure you're able to appreciate that your paramount goal as a Christian law enforcement officer is not blind loyalty to your secular employer. Instead it is perfect loyalty to God and His church.

    (It shouldn't be necessary for me to qualify the above remark; but, in this presently vile world, I'm going to add the caveat that, 'What benefits the spiritual welfare of others, also, benefits the secular community-at-large; or, at least, it should.')

    If nothing socially remedial or prophylactic is to be gained by reporting personal information to which you have become privy, then all you would be doing by, 'turning someone in' is betraying a greater sacred trust which has been placed in you by - I would suppose - numerous others who share with you in the same spiritual: hopes, beliefs, and mores.

    (Remember, we do NOT live in either a perfect or a righteous world. Sometimes the very people you might turn someone into for one crime are guilty of much greater crimes themselves.) ;)

    Yours is not an easy problem; neither do I believe you're going to be able to come up with a pat solution. If you're unable (or, perhaps, unwilling) to resolve this dilemma then - for the sake of your own conscience - I would suggest you begin wearing your badge and credentials in a much more public fashion. Be careful, brother, lest you unintentionally abrogate any of your primary responsibilities. God bless.

    Refer: Romans 13:1-6, The Book of James (Christ's earthly brother) Read ALL of Chapters 4 and 5.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  7. fastbolt


    Jun 9, 2002
    CA Central Coast
    I've known a handful of guys who were both career LE as well as serving as pastors/ministers on their own time. None of them seemed to have had any problems distinguishing when they were serving in which capacity, or when their sworn public trust duties and responsibilities should kick in.

    If you're speaking from a personal perspective and quandary, perhaps you should seek some counsel from those more experienced in such matters, and in whom you have trust.

    It's not like this is a new issue to arise for those who serve in both public and spiritual service capacities (whether one of the "major" organized religions or other recognized spiritual practices/beliefs).
  8. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

    As a minister, (I'm not a professional one presently), you have to go by: the rules of your ecclesiastical organisation in the USA. When presented with something that is considered contraband in a religious setting such as a church, or in a situation that would be considered within the bounds of the relationship between religious adherent and his faith leader you do have certain protections under the law, as well as responsibilities toward that religious adherent. However, I would suggest studying up concerning that and getting with a legal organisation that is set up for the defence of clergy, (and they do exist), in order to get the best legal advice. Consider that if an adherent, recent convert, submits contraband to you such as illegal drugs, the primary responsibilities is the restoration of that adherent to his faith, that being within the Christian organisations, repentance; encouragement to immersing himself in the Word of God through study and meditation; and accountability within his peer group, and perhaps some other things that I have failed to mention.

    As a LEO you do have responsibilities to upholding the law and legal obligations of your position. There can be a balance struck between the two positions. Sometimes this can work out very well for both positions. If a person has a real bad issue with narcotics, (using this as an example), you have the ultimate goal of making your jurisdiction safer for the overall community. If a person within your religious group is for some reason not responding to the usual methods concerning restoration within your religious setting you may have other options. Sometimes the option of bringing in law enforcement responsibilities to bear on the person who is troubled while potentially giving him a record for life, can also be life saving. Other times you may need only get that person in a more well structured private religious group setting, such as Teen Challenge, (used only as an example, as there are others that are effective as well).

    Crimes in progress should be considered reportable if they are life threatening would be my own personal take on this, or if the adherent is continually not responding well to attempts to change behaviour within a social religious group, or private setting.

    I have known a number of people who have been LEO as well as professional or lay ministers. Currently I am involved in Christian ministry on a lay person's level.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  9. I'm wearing several hats in the slammer these days, including that of the Chaplain. I am also very devout and active in my faith. I have no problem at all doing my job, and doing it well under those circumstances. One verse says it all:

    "Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and unto God what belongs to God".

    I have found a very few instances where SOP contradicts my religious convictions, but it never rises to the point that I feel any need to challenge it. For example, Catholic doctrine states that anyone with honorable intentions may have a Rosary in their possession. SOP states that although a Rosary which meets certain specs is an approved item for Catholic inmates, an inmate must declare himself a Catholic by filling out a simple form in order to possess a Rosary. It's the same for approved religious paraphernalia of any faith. I see no problem with that at all. I recently had some dealings with a jackass that threatened a Staff member in a matter concerning a Rosary which the inmate had in his possession. I would not have said a thing about it, had he not been sucking eggs. In his case, since our records showed him of a different faith, I brought a Faith Declaration Form to him in the hole, and told him he could keep the Rosary if he chose to declare himself a Catholic, and that otherwise, it would be confiscated. The list goes on.

    I doubt that any reasonable copper or CO will find too many instances where SOP or legal code violates their religious convictions. In such a case, I would seek guidance from my clergy, and perhaps my superiors at work also.
  10. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005

    Good answer to a qeustion with no firm answer.
  11. toddmog


    May 28, 2007
    Hack nailed it. By the way, I'm a full time pastor as well as a reserve deputy. There are many parallels.
  12. smokeross

    smokeross GTDS Member #49

    May 15, 2011
    I've got to say, the posts by Arc Angel, Hack, and Vigilant were all very well thought out responses. Looks like 3 Wise Men to get advice from. Would you fellows be interested in running this country? I think we need some help.
    ETA. You can each have one of the 3 branches of government.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011
  13. Tilley

    Tilley Man of Steel

    Mar 21, 2006
    And sometimes the answer is "no."

  14. RVER


    Aug 3, 2004
    Seperate the two. When your wearing the badge you bust them and when your wearing the cloth you pray with them. Honestly though, if it's bothering you enough to ask it's something that you probably shouldn't attempt... Talk to a military or police Chaplin.