Former Assistant Police Chief Wayne Welsh’s most recent defense of his racist sin reveals not only the true depths and insidiousness of sin, but also the dangers of depravity when in positions of power.
Welsh made news Monday when he sparked outrage over a racist meme he posted to his Facebook page. He shared a meme depicting a mother drowning her small daughter in a bathtub; the pic bore a caption stating that this is what you do “when your daughters first crush is a little negro boy.”
While the local stories earned him quick condemnation in national news, Welsh has not seemed to learn from it. He continues fanning the flames of the racial firestorm he ignited, now insisting bluntly that he should not be forced to resign. And his reasons why ought to concern us all.
“I am not a racist”
Welsh literally shrugged as he told his local news he should not have to resign because there is no police policy against what he did: “I just don’t feel like I should have to resign on this because there’s not a policy saying that I can’t do this on Facebook.” He would not resign, either, were he not forced to do so: “I’m not happy about it, but I’ll do it to make the chief happy.”
Deeper than this, Welsh did not think the meme itself was even racist: “To me, I am not a racist, I mean, I knew it wasn’t. It was just a picture that everybody shares on Facebook.”
He seems to think he only got in trouble because he was a police officer: “But I was wrong for sharing it for being a police officer.” Perhaps he felt it was just the PC police and SJWs attacking blue lives again?
Welsh’s defense is consistent with his behavior when his first post ignited a backlash. At that time, he defended his actions against critics he called “Facebook police”:
“It’s not against the law to share something on Facebook. It’s social media. Internet,” he posted.
“I shared somebody else’s posts and everybody mad at me again,” he wrote. “So Facebook police mad at me.”
He also tried the political defense: “People always want to play the race card. They want to think your [sic] the bad guy.”
After tremendous outcry, he finally removed the pic, and apologized, not for having posted an indescribably racist murderous idea he thought was funny—not for the demerits of the offense itself and what it revealed about him—but because some people happened to get offended by it (implying that perhaps they shouldn’t have?).
“Well, I posted something on Facebook that made a lot of people mad,” he wrote. “Well, I’m sorry for what happen.”
At that moment, he still thought he was being a good spiritual guy: “have a blessed day.”
It’s clear the essential I’m-sorry-you-got-mad apology was no deeper than any such deflection could be. This was revealed in his latest comments. Even after the backlash, even after his chief told him he had to resign for this, even after enormous public outcry over an obviously racist picture—no repentance, and apparently not even any understanding of the offense, had followed. Only an affirmation of the opposite: “I am not a racist” “I knew it wasn’t [racist]. It was just a picture that everybody shares on Facebook.”
Only a defense of how good a guy he himself really is: “I treat everybody the same. You can ask anybody in town if you would walk around. They all like me, and I do my job right.”
What this means for us
Obviously, we can’t condemn others for sins a guy like this committed, but I can say a few things about the type of rationalizations involved in such a sin as this, particularly regarding race and power, exemplified by Mr. Welsh.
First, this is a lesson on how a person can be self-deceived as to their own racism. Yes, none of us would write or share something so overtly racist and terrible as this. Yet we can still be insensitive to a million other lesser racist offenses we don’t even realize. If called out on them, we would defend ourselves by saying it was no big deal, not really racist, everyone else does this, this is normal, the offense has been imagined, the critic is playing victim, the critics are playing the race card, and well, if you keep harping about it, alright, I’m sorry you got offended. Gosh, you can’t say anything these days without some social justice warrior calling you the bad guy. PC police.
Granted there is such a thing as the illegitimate race card, and it is used often. But there is a vast area of unrepentant sin and unhealed victims between the two extremes of what Wayne Welsh did and what race-baiting leftists do. Conservatives and conservative Christians routinely deny this, and in our denial we are participating in the same type of self-deception and self-defense Welsh exemplifies.
In doing so, we not only leave our Christian duty unfulfilled, we leave a huge mission field open to wolves. This is the very reason leftists, Muslims, and Black Hebrew Roots-type cults keep growing so fast. These forces have nothing to offer of their own but to prey upon resentment and pain. But there is a feast of resentment and pain because the church refuses to repent, to study the issue, to apply God’s word to it. The cults’ success is due only to the Church’s failure.
Further, the church’s failure to act will result in what usually happens in modern society: leftism will advance with leftist solutions. Then the church will adopt the left solutions, baptize them in Christian language, and pretend it has been in front of the parade all along. It will be one more version of baptized humanism collecting offerings for the causes of humanism in the name of Christ.
We don’t need huge government welfare programs or government-funded reparations programs; we don’t need to have everlasting political polarization. These are all “cures” that are worse than the disease (which is why conservatives who have no biblical answer always prefer the disease). But this is all of what we will get if we don’t do the right thing.
Finding that in-between area is the real job we ought to be doing. I am not the expert, I am not sure anyone is, but I have a strong feeling based on good evidence that it is much bigger than we think it is and that we use the types of devices just listed to deceive ourselves too routinely as well. More on that tomorrow.
The Importance of Strictly Limited Government
Second, the implications of this for government are also profound. Welsh feels he should be allowed to continue in a position of power because the department had no explicit policy against what he did. He never did own up to his sin at all, let alone for the depth of sin that it was. Instead, he tried to cover his sin under the cloak of policy.
Theologically, this is justification by man’s law, not by Christ. It always hides sin under power, and the victims always continue to suffer, always without justice.
When we succeed in hiding sin behind power, we will be tempted to start routinely using power to hide sin. When we do, we can create an institution of power on such principles, and the potential to hide more sins and greater sins is almost unlimited.
In biblical terms, power is only granted under specific enumerated terms. Where not enumerated, the government and its agents have no authorization to act. If they do, the agents involved can be strictly held accountable, and easily so, because the terms are narrow and clear. The offenders can be punished, and the victims restored. The limits are the rule; the powers are strictly enumerated.
We have allowed ourselves to reverse the biblical view of power in our systems (which is typical of all pagan systems): power is the rule; limitations are strictly enumerated. We create a blanket power first and demand everyone submit to it without question; then we try to hold that power accountable only through explicitly stated limitations, policies, and guidelines. But this leaves wide gaps in which power can hide sin—for abuse and for the depravity of man, cunning as it is, to seek ought many devices as it does (Eccl. 7:29). It creates a safe space for power to hide sin. We even give it immunity in the courts, and even give authorities tax-funded insurance policies for the rare events that they are in fact held accountable and have to pay. While hiding sin is unavoidable with people in general, in positions of power it is far more damaging. It ought not be so, and ought to be minimized as much as possible.
Yes, you may say, Welsh’s department forced him to resign: this shows how the system actually does police itself and does work. But this denies a biblical doctrine, and doing that is never safe. Read and listen to the stories closely. The police chief—however good a man he may be—defended the character of his Assistant, who had said the meme was not even racist, and said he did not do it to offend anybody.
The chief said, “He deleted it but, it was too late.”
In other words, he regretted that it got caught. Had the right people seen this before there was a public outcry, it apparently would have not been “too late.” They could have removed it and buried it, and no one would ever known that one more casual racist who jokes about drowning children over fears of miscegenation was still serving as one more Assistant Chief of Police.
If such a man ever then treated a black suspect more roughly than a white, and was called racist, the entire machine of power, public relations, immunity, and insurance would have gone to work to protect its agent if necessary, and to assure us all that no such racism exists in America, it’s only in the minds of leftists. And if you say differently, you are a blacklivesmatter extremist and race baiter.
If you want a real social thought experiment, please consider that in addition to this racism in the heart, there is a further legion of sins, prides, hatreds, blasphemies, and murders, according to Christ, and that anyone who resides in positions of power carries those with them. If that is not enough to make you realize the danger of increasing the powers of government, especially those officials who are most numerous, nearest you on a daily basis, armed, and held immune from many if not most routine mistakes, let alone injustices resulting from heart sins, even deadly ones, then what could?
If this is not enough to make your conservative and Christian self realize and beg for biblical reforms, nothing will.
Tomorrow, I hope to add a post about that wide area, between the two extremes of overt racism and unacceptable leftism, in which we need to get to work.