Bryan Laughlin’s Remnant Allegedly Tells a Female She Can Not be a Police Officer; Examining Women in Law Enforcement and National Security Roles, Plus Does Acts 29 Deny the Story of Deborah?

At Bryan Laughlin’s Remnant in Richmond, Virginia this Acts 29 church allegedly intervened in the case of a covenant member who wanted to be a police officer. This post looks at that angle. In addition I look at the issue of women in law enforcement even to include those who died in serving their community. Plus women have also played a valuable role in national security positions in the United States government. Remnant’s theology is bad and harmful and hopefully this will give some of the women something to contemplate. 

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

Alice Walker 

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.

Maya Angelou 

“Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.”

Margaret Thatcher 

“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh.

Judges 4:9 NIV

This is another aspect to the story at Remnant that needs some attention. In Acts 29 women appear to hardly be human at times. Its a very patriarchal model that has the DNA of Mark Driscoll still embedded in the network. To read the original story about Remnant you can do so in, “The Disturbing and Cult-Like Behavior of Acts 29 Remnant Church in Richmond, Virginia is Adversely Affecting Lives.” 

 

Did Remnant Derail Someone’s Career in Law Enforcement? 

In the 2013 time frame there was a covenant member of Remnant Church. She was a female and very much into complementarian theology and submitted to her husband in marriage. In the process she also clung to Neo-Calvinist doctrine. During this time period she also wanted to be a Police Officer with the city of Richmond. Now I do not know if she was in the hiring process or the details about her job. I poked around in Richmond and heard a little bit about this. My hope is that the woman in question who was affected will contact me as I would like to hear more about this in detail. Anyhow at some point Remnant allegedly heard of what was going on. The church approached her from my understanding and told her that she could not be a police officer because she is a female. Now did Remnant invoke her membership covenant and tell her to submit to authority? I do not know. Was this person threatened with church discipline? I do not know. How she left I do not know. Was she released on good terms? Or did she have problems leaving? These are all questions I am hoping I can flush out with this post. All I know for certain is that this person left. From what I was told she was crushed, dispirited and upset. 

Now Acts 29 is big into Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and gender roles. The may pastors that the organization promotes become unhinged about this topic. For example in August of 2015 at Desiring God there was an “Ask Pastor John” podcast. John Piper answered a question from a listener about whether or not a single woman can became a police officer. You can see that in, “Should Women Be Police Officers?” If I am interpreting the transcript correctly then John Piper in his usual flowery way is saying no. He won’t come out and say it clearly, and in the process admits that he is a dinosaur in his beliefs. In the article he details about personal influence and how a woman can offend a man. Then he also addresses the issue of a woman being a civil engineer or a drill instructor. John Piper is very much obsessed with masculinity, even going so far as to saying that Christianity has a masculine feel.  Another person who has strongly pushed the manhood issue is Eric Mason who is read at Remnant. You can hear what Eric Mason says in this Desiring God interview with Tony Reinke. You can also read a review of Eric’s book on manhood in the following Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood post. Now Remnant probably has not focused on all the differing aspects to law enforcement especially in regards to women. Let’s look at the role women can play in law enforcement. 

 

California Highway Patrol video about women in law enforcement 

Lakewood Police Department in Colorado about women in policing.

The Role Women Play in Law Enforcement 

Women have played a key role in law enforcement and are deeply cherished and recruited. Women in law enforcement can do many missions that men cannot do in the same manner. Women can frisk same sex prisoners and people being arrested in a way that could neutralize many tense situations. Women also can do strong work in solving sex crimes, and in some cases having a woman in the police department could help solve some of those cases. Women can build better relationships in the community that can serve and help so many. This can be especially true in community policing situations. Women can also work fraud investigations as detectives.   To read more about why women should be in law enforcement you can look at these links here, here and here.  In the history of law enforcement there are some notable pioneers as women who did some remarkable and incredible feats. For example there is the story of Sgt. Marie Owens of Chicago in 1891. It appears as if Sgt Owens was the first female police officer in the United States. Chicago talks about it with pride as this was discovered in 2007. Then there is the case of Mary Sullivan in New York who became the first female homicide detective in 1918. The first African-American female police chief was Beverley Harvard in Atlanta, Georgia. The first female police chief is Penny Harrington in Portland, Oregon. Despite all this history there is still much more to attain.

One thing that should never be ignored is that women in law enforcement can be exceptionally brave. If there is any doubt its erased by the heroism of those who have died in service for their community. For example the first woman police officer who died in Fairfax County, Virginia was Karen Jean Bassford in 1977. In that tragic situation she died in an automobile crash. Then you also had the tragic and sad situation with Vicky Armel who died in Fairfax County in 2006 while in the line of duty. Vicky was a dedicated wife, mother and she loved to serve her community of Fairfax County in Virginia. She was a hard working and diligent law enforcement officer who gave her job all that she could. This was reflected on May 8, 2006. A teenager who was mentally ill who had prior run ins with the law showed up at a police station. He was heavily armed and he shot one law enforcement officer. Vicky was leaving the station for work and engaged with the gunman and returned fire. In the exchange she was killed. Eventually the gunmen was taken down. Vicky’s tragic death came as a great loss to the community of Fairfax. Years later and on the internet people still write about how much she is missed. For her funeral law enforcement from around the country attended, and I believe about 6,000 to 10,000 lined the road in showing their respect for a police officer who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. If you want to read about Vicky’s faith you can do so right here

 

 

The Role Women Play in National Security Positions 

Another situation that bears mention and discussion is how women have played a key role in another area of security, that of national security with the United States intelligence community. Shortly before the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 the United States Army and Navy started to recruit females to do cyrptanalyst work. In the Washington, D.C. area and elsewhere women were hired to study and work at breaking German codes in World War II. The hard work that many of these females did, in time helped lay the foundation for the National Security Agency and is a part of their history. You can read more in a Politico article that recently came out that is called, “The Secret History of the Female Code Breakers Who Helped Defeat the Nazis.” But while that is the 1940’s it also applies to recent history as well.

At the CIA it was two women who helped capture one of the most harmful spies in the history of the agency. Aldrich Ames who spied for the Soviet Union and then Russia was arrested in 1994. The key people who helped expose a mole who had betrayed his country is former CIA Counterintelligence experts Sandy Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille. They were dedicated and extremely professional individuals who served their country well. If it wasn’t for their talent the harm Aldrich Ames was doing could have continued. This is another example of why dedicated women can serve and do so exceptionally. There is another woman at the CIA who will be remembered by history for tracking down Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. The story was turned into a major motion picture a couple of years ago and is called Zero Dark Thirty. In the story people learn of an extremely dedicated and workaholic individual who figures out where Bin Laden held up. Her theory and analysis pay off in the end. She regularly and routinely clashed with superiors but in the end thrived and rose to the occasion. I have the trailer for the move above and a few clips from the movie below. To read more about this person you can do so here, here, here and here.  All of these examples show what is possible when women are allowed to do try new things and apply themselves outside the paradigm. There are other examples that I can use, but I am going to leave this here and return to the theological issues at Remnant that need to be addressed. 

 

Does Acts 29 Dismiss the Story of Deborah? 

One of the most fascinating stories in the Bible deals with a woman. It is the story of Deborah who is in the book of Judges. Deborah is a military leader who sits below a palm tree and gives commands. She recruited a man, General Barak to stand by her side telling him where God wanted the armies of Israel to attack the Canaanites. Barak was afraid and wanted Deborah to go with him. The Canaanites lose and Deborah goes down in Bible history as being a leader. The question that must be asked is if God could use Deborah, could he also use other women in places like the Richmond Police Department or NSA. Can a women be selected by God and told to go into law enforcement? Would Remnant, that fine institution that Acts 29 always is, end up going against God in the process? Here is another question that should be asked. Why does Acts 29 ignore the story of Deborah? Why don’t they give it credibility and allow women to do more? If anything the story of Deborah I would think empowers a female to become a police officer or serve in other capacities. In the end complementarianism is patriarchy. Its about control, and Remnant’s ability to control people. That is what Bryan Laughlin’s church ended up trying to go to a woman who wanted to serve her community in Richmond through the law enforcement profession. If you are a woman from Remnant and this Acts 29 church tried to infringe on your career The Wondering Eagle would like to hear about it. Since I touched on the intelligence community a little bit in this post I will close with a classic James Bond song. Have a good day Remnant. 

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