I have been thinking a lot about respect lately. Our society has kids who show a total lack of respect for their parents and teachers. My wife actually had a mom tell her, “I don’t make my daughter respect her teachers if she doesn’t think the teacher deserves it.” What? A teacher deserves common respect if for no other reason than that they show up each day to teach your brat, ma’am.
I’m also amazed at the way people react to deputies or police officers. You would think that law enforcement was going out of its way to harass these poor, innocent citizens.
Let me give you an example. I was driving a marked Sheriff’s unit just south of Indio on Highway 86. Now, this wasn’t a personal car; this was a patrol unit. Lights, siren, markings, the whole nine yards. What usually happens is that people come roaring up to a unit, go to pass it, realize what it is, and then slow down. Fair enough.
Not this time, though. An SUV was following us for a while, then slowly began to creep up on us. This upsets me, because it shows a tremendous lack of respect for the Sheriff’s Office and the deputy driving the unit.
I watched as the car slowly approached, then stayed even with us. Finally, the woman driving the car looked at me and smiled. Then she took off.
Now, understand, this woman is speeding. She has just followed a Sheriff’s unit for a couple of miles and has now decided that she doesn’t need to worry about us, she can go ahead and do whatever she wants. After all, we weren’t in Imperial County anymore, so why bother wondering if the deputy minds being passed or not? He can’t do anything about it, right?
As her car zoomed ahead of me, I saw something that really upset me. On the back bumper of her car was a bumper sticker advertising a local church! This wasn’t some lowlife scum trying to rub it in the deputy’s face. This wasn’t a druggie trying to get away, this was a car full of Christian women, one of whom decided that she didn’t have to worry about whether or not the deputy in the unit would be offended; she had places to go.
Later I spoke to another of our deputies and asked him if he noticed things like that when he made traffic stops or spoke to people on the street. He said of course he did. In fact, it disappoints him when he has an encounter like that. He felt that Christians were supposed to live by a higher standard.
Here is what Paul said about obedience to authority:
“Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. For the authorities do not frighten people who are doing right, but they frighten those who do wrong. So do what they say, and you will get along well. The authorities are sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for you will be punished. The authorities are established by God for that very purpose, to punish those who do wrong. So you must obey the government for two reasons: to keep from being punished and to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid so they can keep on doing the work God intended them to do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and import duties, and give respect and honor to all to whom it is due.” (Romans 13:1-8 New Living Bible)
So, if you are the owner of a silver Dodge Durango, and you were headed to Indio last Wednesday and passed a Sheriff’s unit just south of Indio on Highway 86, you helped me write this column. Thank you.
Getting it off my chest… Jerry