What is Peace Officers for Christ International?

Excuse my woeful lack of posts lately – no one told me raising an infant would take so much time!

Well, they probably did, but I wasn’t listening.

When I’m not changing diapers and keeping my little baby entertained, I’ve found some time to work on some ongoing projects, most notably working with Orange County Atheists for their Invocations project. The group is seeking to ultimately end city council and other civic invocations county wide – and a surprising number of cities and county agencies still perform them.

In my research, I found a group called Peace Officers for Christ International, and interestingly enough, their website states the group “was formed by a group of police officers in Orange County, California in 1980.”

I’m a “live and let live” type, generally, but the following from their site brought up a few questions for me:

Law enforcement is a God ordained ministry of service and protection for our society as outlined in the Bible in Romans 13.

… our belief that the most successful law enforcement officers are those that have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

The mission of Peace Officers for Christ International is to bring police officers and their families to a saving knowledge of and close personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

There’s nothing wrong for me if a police officer has a strong religious belief. But the site seems to imply that police without a very specific type of Christian belief aren’t good police. Further, are other cops being subjected to this from their commanders or other officers? Do cops have to worry about a proselytizing partner while they’re driving their beat? Do people who aren’t Evangelical Christians have anything to worry about if an officer knows they’re not?

Most importantly, do you feel safer?

6 Comments so far

  1. Travis (unregistered) on October 10th, 2006 @ 4:17 pm

    Why don’t you ask them and get back to us.


  2. Stuart McCammon (unregistered) on October 16th, 2006 @ 10:22 pm

    Peace Officers for Christ is a very well-meaning bunch of do-gooders who promote archaic concepts like ethics and the rule of law, which may seem a bit out-of-touch in our post-Christian world, but that they feel actually makes them better police officers.

    They have at least one event a year, I forget if it is a breakfast or dinner – you might give them a call, but be careful, you might end up liking them – you have been warned!


  3. Michael Doss (unregistered) on October 17th, 2006 @ 10:33 am

    Stuart, that’s exactly my problem – your comment, and the quotes I listed, assume that police officers who aren’t Born Again Christians don’t promote “archaic concepts” like ethics and the rule of law, which clearly isn’t true.

    This type of attitude serves only two purposes – making police in this organization feel prideful about themselves, and making non-Christian officers feel like they either don’t belong, or they’re not going to be seen as “good” police.

    Also, what the heck is a “post-Christian world”? Last time I checked, the vast majority of this country is still Christian, including every leadership position in government.


  4. Frank Finn (unregistered) on October 17th, 2006 @ 11:48 pm

    As a police officer for the past 24 years who happens to be a Catholic, and not a member of this organization, I have never once felt pressured, intimidated or in any way uncomfortable working for or with members of Cops for Christ. While vocal about their beliefs in our Association newspaper, I have never once been subjected to or witnessed any proselytizing.
    As a matter of fact, for a number of years the group at my department has been providing a bountiful meal to all members of the agency, regardless of faith or lack there of, for a 24 hr period during the Christmas season at their own expense. Additionally they voluntarily spend hours away from their families during their off duty time in shifts to serve the food. Even during these events I have never been engaged in any unsolicited religious discourse. They also regularly take up collections to assist particularly hard hit victims of crimes they come in contact with. I know it is routine for some to believe these days that any form of belief must have sinister motivation or goals, but sometimes things are just what they are.
    Cops for Christ is simply a group of officers who have similar beliefs, are proud of those beliefs, and feel that their faith helps them to be better cops and better people then they would be without it, not better than anyone else. If this fellowship helps them to deal with the horrors police officers witness and suffer on a daily basis, I support them 100%. It beats the heck out of getting drunk after shift. If you would like to contact a member, I will be glad to put you in touch.


  5. Michael Doss (unregistered) on October 18th, 2006 @ 10:43 am

    Frank, it’s great to know that you’re not subjected to proselytizing by the group – that’s really my main concern here, not their faith or beliefs. I always worry when one group plays up the “moral high ground”, possibly has a majority in membership, and is accepted as “can do no wrong” – because if there are any people who feel uncomfortable with them, they really don’t have any recourse.

    Lemme ask you this, though – if a group with similarly strong and vocal beliefs about faith being meaningless and there being no God was to speak up in police newsletters and the such, would they be accepted in the exact same way?


  6. Frank Finn (unregistered) on October 20th, 2006 @ 12:42 am

    Michael,
    I had to ponder your question a while to come up with an honest answer because at first blush, I had to say I’m not sure and that would sound like a cop-out. Upon further consideration several thoughts came to mind. First, I thought of the old saying, there are no atheists in foxholes. There are many similarities between police work and military service (I know, I have done both). These include witnessing and being intimately involved in many unpleasant, disgusting, frightening, depressing, exciting, infuriating, tragic, exhilarating, nasty, thrilling, painful, bizarre, and futile situations on an almost daily basis. Those kinds of emotional highs and lows tend to make a person more tolerant of the differences he may have with another person who he might have to entrust with his life on the next call.

    The second thing I thought of is that we are just like anyone else. There are people on my department I would not hang out with off duty or invite to a party; some who I’m sure don’t think much of me. In those situations, we maintain a professional relationship because once again, we may have to depend on each other for our very lives. When someone writes an article in our newspaper which I don’t agree with, I simply dismiss it or perhaps I write a rebuttal if it is particularly irritating. Police departments are government agencies, and as such they are the epitome of political correctness when it comes to not displaying any prejudice against others who do not subscribe to the majority beliefs or opinions. To do otherwise, would just invite a lawsuit.

    Finally, let me assure you, if a group calling themselves Cops for Atheism formed up and provided a holiday (or non-holiday) meal at their own expense, I would indeed partake and if they took up a collection for the victims of some tragedy, I would donate. I might even join you at the next Orange County Atheists meeting if you pay the tab.



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