Surprise [The city, not the imperative] Police Chief Dan Hughes says he never meant to offend anyone when he appeared in a church video.
Hughes, an elder in a non-denominational Christian church, said a fellow member called him about six months ago and asked if he would star in a video that would compare police training to the need for Christians to educate themselves about their faith.
At this point, all is well. Enjoy that while it lasts, and then go and watch the video (Warning: requires Windows Media Player).
While we appreciate the church’s effort to leverage the power of moving pictures to make a point, let’s look through a couple areas they could have improved, just to be clear we’re all taking about the same things:
- They portray the police as ridiculous and dim-witted. You don’t want to mess with the police.
- They’re using state property outside of its purpose, specifically for illustrations in their religious institution. Uh-oh.
So there are two quick issues. But they both embody one larger issue: This church never considered how the video would be perceived by someone outside of their congregation.
Would a police officer like to be portrayed like this? How would someone outside of their church view them after seeing this video? What would be the ramifications for the police chief? How would a church attendee feel if their local police chief worked with a mosque to make a video comparing law enforcement to the Qur’an?
This video made the assumption that no one outside of their church would see this video and that all who saw it, inside or out, would be sympathetic to their causes and beliefs. They didn’t consider the opinions of others before creating and publishing something for their purposes. And now their member, the police chief, is under heavy fire.
We’ve all made silly mistakes like this. Each of our churches has done a crazy thing or two and never considered what message it would send to others. But this is just a friendly public service reminder: Your church can’t do anything in a vacuum, and you’re always communicating something. Be careful, and be thoughtful.