Movie director Quentin Tarantino attended an anti-police brutality rally in New York a couple weeks ago. He said he was there because he was “on the side of the murdered.” His remarks have provoked ire in a number of police agencies which have retaliated by organizing a boycott of Mr. Tarantino’s next movie, The Hateful Eight, due to release in January (limited release on Christmas day).
As more police organizations—benevolent associations and unions—have joined the boycott, Mr. Tarantino has pushed back. Sides are being drawn.
Baltimore is the latest city in which police have spoken out against Mr. Tarantino. The president of Baltimore’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3, Gene Ryan, said that by Mr. Tarantino’s statements at the rally, he “degraded and disrespected every man and woman who ever wore the uniform of our profession.” (The Baltimore Sun, Nov. 5).
In response Mr. Tarantino said in an interview with MSNBC, “They would rather start arguments with celebrities than examine the concerns put before them by a citizenry that lost trust in them.” (As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 5).
Police have now promised a “surprise” that will hurt Mr. Tarantino where it matters to him most—in his wallet—and he has answered that he won’t be intimidated, that he’s not a cop hater as he’s been portrayed.
As I see it, this battle is escalating, and that’s a concern. Mr. Tarantino may think citizens have lost trust in the police, but who, then, does he think will keep order in our cities?
I lived in the Los Angeles area during the Rodney King riots back in 1992. As violence spread and police seemed helpless to stop it, I got a glimpse of what true anarchy looked like.
Apparently Mr. Tarantino hasn’t thought about life without authority or that he is undermining trust, not just of officers who might go beyond appropriate limits, but of officers who dutifully and selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to serve the public.
I can’t help but wonder if such treatment of the police, who are the clearest representation of authority, might not grow more widespread. Because I believe we have a crisis of authority in our country.
Feminists don’t want wives to be submissive to husbands; manosphere gamers want to dominate and control their wives. Parents are afraid to spank their children any more because they might be accused of abuse. Students can sit in defiance of teachers, principals, and security guards, but then become victims if they are forcefully made to do what they are told.
But none of this change in our view is actually surprising because our society has turned away from the underpinnings of all authority—God Himself.
Without an understanding of who God is and how He exercises authority, all hell breaks loose here on earth. People’s perception of authority becomes twisted by our own ideas of what authority ought to look like.
Take the President of the United States, for instance. It seems we’ve worked over time to make the President and any candidates for President to be just regular people. Famous people, but they appear on Saturday Night Live and on all the late night talk shows. The day time ones too. They aren’t discussing important issues. They aren’t building an image of authority. They’re primarily hoping to come across as likable. Not authoritative.
Authoritative is an ugly word these days.
But as my fellow blogger InsanityBytes put it, the perception is not the reality:
many people have a very negative perception of authority, that it is all about fear, power, control, punishment. Those are human perceptions, often gleaned from the school of hard knocks where might makes right. That is not God however, that is God being created in our own image, in the image of those who have misused authority and done harm to us.
Because we don’t know God, we don’t have a correct view of authority, and because we don’t have a correct view of authority, we don’t understand God. What are we to do?
Part of the breakdown of authority has been in the home—parents both working and not paying attention to the children, single parent homes, shared custody homes that don’t share the same understanding of authority. Children grow up like weeds instead of nurtured flowers. They learn to play teachers against parents, parents against parents, parents against their own feelings of guilt.
In the end, they disrespect authority. They think authority is either weak or brutal. The same attitude characterizes their ideas of God.
So we’ve lost our models of authority in our society. We disrespect parents and teachers and long ago we lost any idea that pastors were authorities we were to obey. Politicians are not actual leaders—they’re most concerned about keeping their job or about trying to secure the next one.
Which pretty much left the police. And now a movie director is telling us, they’ve lost our respect too.
This set of circumstances and this attitude toward authority is, above all, the reason fathers need to be heads of their households in the same manner Christ is head of the Church and why all of us need to be in Bible-believing churches so we can learn what Christ’s headship looks like.
Perhaps the greatest picture of who Jesus is and what His authority looks like is His act of servanthood in washing His disciples’ feet, on the very night He’d be betrayed, arrested, denied, and falsely charged with blasphemy against His Father. He wasn’t looking to protect Himself or clear His name. He wasn’t concerned with revenge or domination or control. He wasn’t concerned about what He deserved or what others should have done for Him. He simply grabbed the towel and bowl and went to work, stooping at His followers’ feet and cleaning them up.
There’s the picture of authority we’ve forgotten, the picture that needs to be restored, the picture Christians need to live out.