Dear Portland, Oregon
We’ve never met in person, but after watching the riots that seem to be tearing you apart, I thought we should talk. Did you know that it would take 39 hours for me to drive to you? That’s more than three times the distance between London, England, and Berlin, Germany.
We’ve seen you so much in the news lately that it seems like we are old friends. And it seems that my old friend is in trouble. How did this happen to such a beautiful city?
You’ve had nightly riots for more than fifty nights. It all seemed to begin after the George Floyd arrest in Minnesota. Maybe the news hasn’t made it to Oregon yet, but that the policemen who did that have been arrested, charged with some very strong crimes, and are awaiting trial. Haven’t y’all heard?
The rioting—can we please just give upon trying to convince anyone that these are “peaceful” protests? —seems to center on the federal building. How do you reconcile trying to burn a federal building in Oregon two months after an incident in Minnesota?
What happens during these “peaceful” protests? Every night they shoot fireworks at the federal officers who are trying to protect the federal courthouse.
The rioters point lasers at the eyes of law enforcement, causing permanent damage to some, and the laser attacks are described as heavy. This weekend at least six federal officers were injured and one suffered a concussion.
Remarkably, the State of Oregon’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit asking that the federal government not be allowed to protect federal property. A federal judge blocked that.
All of this happens while your local politicians twiddle their thumbs and support the destruction of this once-great city. Nero is said to have watched Rome burn, but Nero had laid down the melancholy burden of sanity.
You want to riot against senseless violence against black people? How about complaining that a black Trump supporter in Wisconsin was executed when a vehicle pulled up in front of his business and someone shot him in what local law enforcement says was an execution-style murder. I don’t hear anyone taking up that poor man’s cause.
Your neighbors to the north in Seattle, Washington, seem to be following in your footsteps, and they, too, seem awfully confused. When riots broke out up there, according to your local news reports, a city council member, Lisa Herbold, called for not only defunding the police, but also that white cops should be fired first because they are white.
That sounds just a little illegal to me, but what do I know. The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a law forbidding its policemen from using pepper spray and anti-riot weapons to protect the people of Seattle during the riots.
A federal judge had the good sense to block that, but his decision was only temporary.
Things are so out of hand in Seattle that its chief of police wrote local businesses to warn them that because of the city council’s actions, it can no longer protect them from property crimes.
Who would want to move into cities like these?
It seems that the great northwest is not only seeking to defund its police, it is also hamstringing its cops. You are lucky that they haven’t all just quit. I bet if they did, the riots would spill onto city hall, and who would come to help?
There is another protest going on. And it is being handled a little differently.
On May 29, the United States Supreme Court upheld the State of California’s decision that churches of more than 100 people may not gather, even though the state does not require supermarkets, restaurants, retail stores, pharmacies, shopping malls, pet grooming shops, bookstores, florists, hair salons, and cannabis dispensaries to follow the same rules.
Late last week the United States Supreme Court upheld a Nevada law that limited church attendance to 50 even though casinos could have up to 50% capacity.
That means that no matter how big a Nevada church may be, only 50 people are allowed in, while on the same day and just down the road a casino could allow in thousands.
The Supreme Court was, of course, wrong in both cases.
The Reverend John MacArthur of Grace Church in Sun Valley, California (attendance about 8,500) decided that enough is enough, and began holding church services this week.
Sunday he preached a long sermon explaining his decision. Not only did he not say bad things about those in authority, he prayed for them.
No policemen were injured, and no one attempted to blind anyone.
The only law enforcement involvement was those out front who helped with traffic. The gathering was peaceful.
So, Portland, and our friends in Seattle, maybe we should all take a lesson from Rev. McArthur. Maybe your protests should turn from violent to peaceful.
It seemed to have worked well for Martin Luther King, Jr., and he was faced with racism beyond what you’ve seen in your lifetime, especially since the vast majority of those protesting in your streets seem to be white.
Portland, other cities seem to be following in your footsteps. Why not be a good example. A trip from London to Berlin may not be a long trip, but the last war that waged between those towns was awful.
Pick up a book and learn the lessons of the last century, the bloodiest century in the history of mankind. If you do, you will notice that when a government is toppled by anarchists, evil people take over, and the smallest and the most helpless among us are their first victims.
And while you are at it, maybe you want to take a look at all that John McArthur and his church teach. Jesus prayed for those who crucified him. Stephen prayed as he was being stoned to death.
Paul was chief among those criminalizing religion and weaponizing the government against it, but he had a little episode on the Damascus road that changed his mind and then changed history. Portland, I pray that you have just such an experience.
Sincerely, and on behalf of reasonable people all over the world,