A congregation in Tennessee has donated $1,000 to each member of their local police department as a sign of appreciation for the work they do to protect the community.
Lighthouse Missionary Baptist Church of Jonesborough raised a total of $23,000 for their local department, presenting the checks in a ceremony held on Saturday morning.
Lighthouse Pastor Perry Cleek told The Christian Post that his church felt obligated to do the charitable act in response to news about the abuse many police have experienced in recent times.
“We have heard the news reports of entire police departments suffering from a debilitating lack of morale. In many places in America, local governments are signaling their support for those who are attacking law enforcement by defunding their local police,” explained Cleek.
“We wanted to make a bold statement in support of law enforcement. Our desire was for our action to send a symbolic message of our support to the Jonesborough Police, but to also show our support in a very practical way by recognizing and supporting each individual employee.”
The Saturday event had around a couple hundred attendees, including Jonesborough Chief Ron Street Public Safety Director Craig Ford, with a crowd Cleek described as “very supportive.”
“We recognize that we do not speak for anyone but our local church. We have not issued an appeal for other churches to follow our example,” he continued.
“However, we believe that millions of Americans feel exactly the same way we do about the treatment of law enforcement in our country, but do not feel they have a voice. The voices of those blaming and condemning law enforcement for much that is wrong in our country are very loud. We wanted our voice in support of law enforcement to be loud and bold.”
In recent weeks, the United States has experienced widespread protests and demonstrations, some of which have turned violent, in response to the killing of George Floyd on May 25.
Many have seen the death of Floyd as part of a broader problem of police brutality and systemic racism, and have called for reduced funding or even disbanding certain police departments.
Regarding the death of Floyd, Cleek called it “without question an act of evil” and called for “the ones guilty to face the full justice of the Law.”
“But much of the response to the killing of Mr. Floyd, the looting and burning and destruction of both public and private property, the disgraceful treatment, dishonoring and demonizing of law enforcement are also acts of evil,” said Cleek.
“Our response to the evil all around is to do something good, something we feel is very good. Our act of support and encouragement for our local police department will, we believe, result in many more American citizens voicing their support.”