The Sanctity of a Door: How Racist Policing Dishonors Spiritual Values - Public Goods

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The Sanctity of a Door: How Racist Policing Dishonors Spiritual Values

The United States boasts being “one nation under God.”

wooden double doors in front of house

The state of Kentucky itself is a Bible state, even just recently passing House Bill 128 (2017). This law reads that the Kentucky board of education will create the Kentucky Academic Standards for the Historical and Cultural Influences of the Bible Elective, an optional course that teaches students Hebrew Scriptures and offers a deep dive into the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The Bible (at least the teaching of it), is written in Kentucky law. When you leave the cities of Kentucky for the Bluegrass country pastures, you’ll end up playing a car game counting how many crosses you pass before reaching your destination.

The recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have sparked protest around the world. In the tiny-big town of Louisville, Kentucky, the case of Breonna Taylor has shook the Black community down to the deepest part of our humane and spiritual roots.

When the police came to her home on March 13, 2020, they not only broke the law of man and God by killing an innocent person. When they broke down the door, they broke spiritual laws that makes Kentucky’s claim of holding religious values contradicting.

Doors and doorways have been symbolic across cultures. A door is both an entry and an exit, so it has been associated with portals and passageways on many levels throughout history.

On a literal level, a door usually leads to the inside of something. On a metaphorical or spiritual level, a door can become an entrance to nearly anything, but it is most commonly used to symbolize the entrance to another world. When you’ve had a long, hard day at work, it’s not just the bed you yearn for. It’s the ability to close yourself off from this world and go into the comfort and safety of your own.

Churches whose dwellers receive and accept the message of God are called Houses of God. In Revelations 3:20 the verse reads:

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

Some argue that this verse is often used as an invitation to an unbeliever to receive Jesus Christ as the Savior. While to others it applies directly to any church that is apathetic. Jesus is willing to restore them to a better state, but they need to demonstrate their willingness to answer to God. What stood out to me, however, is that the Son of God has the decency to announce himself and await permission before entering any dwelling.

The ancient Romans understood the sanctity that one’s threshold provides so much that they had their own God, Janus, whose sole purpose was to be the keeper of all passageways, gates and doors. Janus is also associated with the transition from peace to war and vice versa.

A shrine in Janus’ honor once stood inside the Roman Forum. The shrine was an enclosure formed by two arched gates at each end, joined together by walls to form a passageway. When the gates were open, it signified that Rome was at war. Closed gates were an indicator of peace.

A closed and locked door is the simplest form of protection an unarmed person in their homes can have. Like Rome, when Breonna Taylor’s door was shut, she was at peace, surrounded by the familiar sounds and smells of her private and personal world. It was her safe place.

Also like Rome, unfortunately, when her door was violently burst open by the police, her and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were greeted by war. This past weekend’s peaceful protests held in Louisville were met with violence. The most recent life taken by the police was that of David McAtee, who wasn’t even protesting.

Louisville’s Mayor, Greg Fischer, suspended no-knock warrants indefinitely last Friday. These warrants allow officers to enter a home without announcing their presence, often in drug cases to prevent suspects from getting rid of a stash.

The police came to Breonna’s home with this warrant in search of an ex-boyfriend of hers who was already in police custody. No drugs were found in her home. If Kentucky is truly concerned with approval from God, warrants like this should be thrown out completely.

When some look at the torched buildings, damaged business and fight outbreaks surrounding these protesters, we get a slew of “violence is not the answer” or “hate can’t fight hate” postings all over our social media timelines. For as devastating and deadly racism and police brutality has been for Black people in the United State, I think Black people have been incredibly peaceful.

To those people who still want to act like they don’t know why Black people are tired of asking for freedom, I ask that they see if they can take the Bible elective that Kentucky conservatives fought so hard for. Maybe they’ll go over the Book of Exodus. Maybe they’ll learn about how peaceful God wasn’t when oppressed people were not set free.

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Comments (14)

  • What a great read! So passionate and insightful. Gave a new whole new perspective on something I hadn’t even considered but completely agree with the author.

  • Thank you. This is a great perspective and I really appreciate a strong connection calling us to trueChrist like behavior.

  • I think this is a great example of how we can claim to believe something and yet fail to live it out. I like the fact that Kentucky allows the bible as an elective but the real answer is not teaching a bible class but living authentic biblical values from the heart. I believe what this land needs to once and for all eradicate the sin of racism is to encounter the Jesus of the bible who laid his life down for his brother. “So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends. John 15:12-13 PTP
    When we learn to sacrifice for one another, we will bring healing to our land.

  • So insightful!! This reading forces us to look within because racism is a disease of the heart. The Bible also makes us look within – Psalm 139:23-24 says Search me oh God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts and point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

  • THIS! I appreciate this so much. Our home is our sanctuary: meaning a place of refuge or safety. It is sacred on many levels. I also agree that civil disobedience is an effective form of protest when warranted. Right now it is warranted. May the doors of our country be an invitation into solace and security rather than an indication of war. Thank you!

  • Thank you for this. After being baptized a Presbyterian, being raised in Presbyterian and Lutheran churches, and being a member, elder and Clerk of Session at a Presbyterian church, I grew weary of the hypocrisy of many Christians, who behaved in decidedly un-Christ-like ways, and am now an atheist. Many Christians have weaponized the Bible and Christian teachings, selectively spouting verses to support their beliefs. Loving your neighbor as yourself means exactly that – irrespective of their skin color, where they were born, who they love.

  • Hi Shauntionne, thanks for writing this. 🙂

    Public Goods, thanks for this content in your blog. 🙂

  • well written. you are a good writer. good solid content from someone who is a bit of a religious scholar and writer. this is good and the message you convey is very timely and noteworthy

    • Thanks so much for commenting Lee! We appreciate the kind words about such a critical topic.

      As a token of our thanks, feel free to use BLOG15 on your first purchase for $15 off 😊

  • Shauntionne,

    I enjoyed most your ability to inform us as readers while also evoking a perspective I myself had not once considered. I believe you’re onto something. There are many levels to this world. Keep at it. I look forward to reading more.

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