I sometimes struggle with respect for authority. You can denigrate me for this or even call me names, and you won’t be unjustified, but … just as being paranoid doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you, being cynical about authority doesn’t mean authorities AREN’T sometimes stupid.
Scripture strongly implies and even enjoins respect for governmental authority. Although I take the position that the serious believer should not be entrenched in civil affairs, I do affirm the concept of respecting the office of one in authority. Despite not having much respect for most recent presidents’ personal agendas, speeches, or even their intelligence, I wouldn’t march on Washington with “Down with the President” signs. For me, that would be tantamount to disrespecting the office of one in authority.
On the other hand, when one is treated like we were treated by a police officer in the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire — this guy was clearly Schwarzeneggy in his approach, and unethical — it is awfully difficult to maintain respect for the office. He wasn’t Barney Fife of the old Andy Griffith show, and he wasn’t hickish, but he was dishonest and acted in such a way as to bring dishonor to his office.
This policeman (Sgt. Edward something-or-other in the city of New London, NH) represents much that is not respectable about the role of the police officer in our country. He was also imperceptive, apparently believing that we are rich, or stupid, or both. (We are neither, and we don’t intend to roll over and play dead.) The experience on Thursday afternoon, I’m afraid, has fed my cynicism about government, if not about all authority.