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The Use of Force in Church Security: A Biblical and Legal Perspective
Balancing the principles of self-defense and protecting others with the teachings of the Bible and the law
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Understanding the Use of Force: When and How to Use It
The use of force by church security staff can be a sensitive and complex issue. It requires a clear understanding of when and how to use force, as well as an understanding of the legal and ethical implications of such actions. This article will discuss the types of force you can use, when to use force, how to decide to use force, what is reasonable force, and when and how to use deadly and non-deadly force. It will also explore what the Bible says about the use of force.
Definition of Use of Force
The use of force refers to the amount of effort required by church security staff to compel compliance by an unwilling subject. There are several types of force that can be used depending on the situation, including presence, verbal de-escalation, empty-handed control, less-lethal methods, and lethal force. Below, we will discuss these types of force in a church environment.
Types of Force
Presence is the first type of force that can be used, and it involves the security staff's mere presence to deter violence. Verbal de-escalation involves making statements such as "please leave the church" or increasing volume and issuing commands such as "stop." Empty-handed control involves physically restraining the individual through grabs, punches, and kicks. Less-lethal methods involve immobilizing an individual with a baton, chemical (such as pepper spray), or conducted energy device (such as a stun gun). Lethal force involves using deadly force (such as using a firearm) to stop an individual.
When to Use Force
The level of force used by church security staff should always be proportional to the threat posed by the subject. Force should only be used when there is an imminent physical threat to oneself or a third person. It is not justified to use force against someone who makes a verbal attack with no accompanying threat of immediate physical harm.
Think of it this way: You can use the same amount of force a police officer would. You will be judged by the same standard. it is possible for a civilian to use excessive force just like a police officer. Just like police officers are judge harshly at times, the same thing can happen to you. Just go into this with a clear head and practice. Scenario training is the best way to work out these kinks.
How to Decide to Use Force
The decision to use force should be made based on a reasonable belief of the person who uses self-defense. This refers to what the person could have reasonably believed under the circumstances. When someone acts in self-defense, they must react in a way that matches the threat. If a person is threatening to punch you, you can’t just shoot them. But you can certainly use pepper spray on them to stop the impending attack. Likewise, if someone is going to stab you, a reasonable person would believe that you can use deadly force to defend yourself.
Some states require a person to try to escape from an attacker before using force as self-defense. Some states stipulate that a person may use force as self-defense but may not use deadly force without first trying to flee the situation. Find out what the rules are in your state.
What is Reasonable Force
Reasonable force is the level of force that a reasonable person would use in a given situation. It is essential to use the minimum amount of force necessary to protect oneself or others from harm.
When and How to Use Deadly Force
Deadly force should only be used as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted. It is justifiable when the threat posed by the subject is imminent and there is no other way to stop them. Deadly force should only be used to stop an individual and not to punish them. It is essential to follow proper training and protocols when using deadly force.
It’s imperative that you go to the range and practice shoot/no shoot drills. We have put some drills up on our Youtube channel and we will put up an exercise showing how you can do shoot/no shoot up on the range.
You should also be doing scenario training at your church going over deadly force scenarios. This is the best way to induce stress that you would experience in a real life event.
What Does the Bible Say About Force?
The Bible provides guidance on the use of force in various contexts. Exodus 20, where we get the Ten Commandments, includes the commandment "thou shalt not kill" in the King James version. However, most modern translations translate this commandment as "thou shall not murder." The Hebrew word used in the original text of the sixth commandment refers to killing for one's personal gain and has nothing to do with killing under authority.
Exodus 21 commands the death penalty for anyone who assaults and kills another person.
Genesis 9:6 states that if anyone takes a human life, that person's life will also be taken by human hands because God made human beings in His own image.
In Romans 13:1-5, it is emphasized that everyone must submit to governing authorities as they are placed there by God. The authorities have the power to punish those who do wrong, and one should submit to them to avoid punishment and keep a clear conscience.
These biblical teachings suggest that the use of force is acceptable in certain circumstances, particularly for self-defense and to protect others. However, it is important to use force with proper training, discernment, and in accordance with the law and the teachings of the Bible.