BRADY COLUMN: Why is there so much crime?

Published 9:30 am Saturday, March 26, 2022

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A talk show host had a minister on her television program the other night. The minister, whose name I didn’t catch, was asked the all-important question, “Why is there so much crime?” After hearing earlier a newscast that reported the committing of one crime after another, my ears perked up. Why is there so much crime? Well, the minister answered the question by mentioning several restraints that used to define our culture but have been or are in the process of being removed from societal life. What I’d like to do in this article is mention the minister’s restraints and give my reasoning for believing he’s correct.

Restraint number one is God! When Jesus prayed “Hallowed Be Thy Name” in the Lord’s Prayer, he knew that respect for God is the foundation of all other respect. Jesus knew that the holiness of God’s name holds everything together. When God and God’s name are honored, all life is sacred. However, when God’s name is dishonored nothing is sacred. And we are seeing that big time in today’s society. We wonder in our culture today about the disregard of human life. We wonder about the pollution of our creation. We wonder about the lack of ethics and morality. So many people have lost touch with the holiness or reality of God. A man who was desperately trying to straighten the tombstone on his wife’s grave was interviewed by a reporter. The night before, a motorcycle gang had played havoc in the cemetery, knocking over many tombstones and desecrating gravesites.

The man, in a distraught tearful voice, asked the reporter, “Isn’t anything sacred anymore?” So many people have lost or are losing touch with the holiness or reality of God. John Killinger, noted minister and professor, commented on the subject of God’s name as a hallowed name. He said for Israel, the name of God was a tent pole.” It supported the whole framework. And that’s true for us in America but God as a necessary restraint has been or is being devalued.

Restraint number two is the family! At one point in our nation’s life, the family was a noble restraint to the breakdown of societal life. The message often heard and believed was the message of the psalmist, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain” (127:1). Though there are still notable exceptions, that is not the source of family life today. In our time. the family has been maligned, attached and devalued. It has been undermined by distorted viewpoints, parental irresponsibility, sexual immorality, the lack of discipline, the abandonment of religious training, media misinformation, etc. One of the unfortunate results of the decline of the family has been abandoned children, abused children, homeless children, unloved children, refugee children, undisciplined children, children in poverty, children in gangs and on and on it goes. How refreshing to hear the psalmist call children a “reward.” Not a curse, not a tragedy, not an accident — children are the expression of God’s favor. It is thrilling to see our children through the lens of scripture as God’s trophies.

The third restraint is the police! Most certainly, there was a time in our nation when law enforcement officials were well respected and a notable restraint to the tremendous rise in crime.

To be sure, there are still thousands and thousands of outstanding policemen and policewomen who are risking their lives every day to keep us safe and deserve our deepest respect and thanks.

But we are seeing a real disrespect for the police in our time — some of it caused by “bad apple police” themselves. However, most of it is caused by misguided politicians with their devaluing and defunding of police departments, the “bad light” media reporting that always seems to take the side of the lawbreaker, the disregard of police authority by those who are fugitives, the no-bail system that puts repeat offenders back out on the streets to commit additional crimes, and other.

So why do we have so much crime? Three of the major restraints to crime either have been or are being devalued in our time — God, Family and Police! God help us to wake up!