Crazy Faith Ministries
I have long been troubled by the fact that politicians, including judges and lawmakers, will and do swear “upon the Bible” that they will “faithfully execute” the requirements of their offices or “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” but once in office or on the witness stand, they promptly ignore their very promises – made, presumably, to God.
This president has, as have all presidents, made serious promises to “… faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” But at every turn the current president seems intent on dismantling the components of this government in order to impose his desire to be an authoritarian leader.
United States senators and representatives likewise promise to “support and defend the Constitution,” but their commitment right now is clearly to support and defend the president at the expense of many of the people who elected them.
Presumably, many people lie while testifying in criminal cases, but when law enforcement officers do it – which they frequently do – the result is too often people being wrongly convicted and imprisoned. A report published by the Innocence Project determined that since 2015, police lied under oath more than 25 times.
My hunch is that that number is far greater than we know.
Why is this kind of lying tolerated by a judicial system that touts its commitment to “law and order”? And why aren’t more Americans upset that in the current administration, not only is the lying leading to a total disrespect for the rule of law, but it is also contributing to the ruination of this government as we have known it?
And then there is the big question: In a country in which citizens boast of being Christian, even as they put down other religions, why is lying tolerated even though people supposedly pledge their obeisance to God by putting their hands on the Bible? Where is the outcry?
What we are seeing is the raw disrespect people in power have for law and order, and their arrogance in ignoring it, even as they break the rule of law themselves.
A woman, Cyntoia Brown, who as a young girl was caught up in sex trafficking and ended up killing a man she thought was going to kill her, must spend 51 years in jail before she can be considered for parole, while a young White college student will get no jail time for allegedly raping a young woman, even though he is now not allowed to graduate.
Crystal Mason voted because she thought that she was allowed to under Texas law, even though she had a criminal past, but found out the hard way that her supposition was incorrect, and she was sentenced to five more years in prison for voter fraud. While Brian Kemp, who was secretary of state in Georgia even as he ran for governor, won that election, and is not being held accountable in spite of evidence of voter suppression.
All of this, and so much more, goes on in this country in spite of oaths uttered promising to uphold the law “so help me God.”
What this reveals is a disregard and a disrespect for the Constitution and for the God people say they love. We have in this country a disdain for God’s law and an arrogance about the need to promise to obey and follow laws made by human beings.
There is no law and order in this country when it comes to how the wealthy and powerful live their lives. They do what they want, law and Constitution notwithstanding, confident that they can use their money – which is their power – to circumvent whatever laws they may break.
Meanwhile, people who have few resources to even survive, let alone pay for attorneys who know how to work the system, end up in prison for crimes that should not be the basis for them being locked up for decades.
For example, a friend of mine shared that she has a cousin who is spending 25 years in prison for stealing $25 from a store, while former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen will serve only three years for crimes that may adversely affect this country for a long time.
Police officers get away with using state-sanctioned violence in their work, while a woman in Florida who abided by the “stand your ground” laws and fired a shot into the air to fend off a man who was about to attack her was given 20 years in prison.
The judicial system in this country is apparently one that can be deftly manipulated and bypassed if one has the resources to do it. Law and order is of no concern to the wealthy – they use the system to increase their wealth and chew up, swallow and throw away laws that should by definition bring them down.
Meanwhile, our prisons are filled with people, too many of whom committed crimes that could have been punished in a more productive way, for them and for society. The absence of law and order in the practices of the powerful is killing this country by killing individual communities.
To the rich and powerful, the notion of an exacting God, one which holds all people to accountability, is of no concern. They have no more regard for God than they do to the Christian Bible on which they place their hands when they promise to uphold, protect and preserve this country and its ideals.
The Bible says that God will not be mocked. Maybe not, but God has remained strangely quiet as the rich and powerful tout the myth of “law and order” to justify their treatment of “the least of these.”
To be clear, they have shown that they view upholding “law and order” as a way to hold on to their power at the expense of everyone else.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.