Pro-family and church leaders are reacting to the ambush in downtown Dallas on Thursday night that left five police officers dead.
Seven more officers were wounded in the military-style attack, as were two civilians. Dallas Police Chief David Brown confirmed that one of the shooters – just before he died – expressed anger over the recent killings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. Three other suspects are in custody.
Sandy Rios is director of governmental affairs at the American Family Association. "It just shows us that the fabric [of the country], the things that are holding us together are breaking apart," she states.
"It's just extremely dangerous that police are now becoming the targets," she begins, "because if we don't have police in the streets then we don't have law and order. We really literally are descending into lawlessness."
Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist-Dallas, agrees. "I believe that this tragedy ... in Dallas and what is happening across our country ... is symptomatic of what the Bible calls lawlessness – a complete disrespect for the law that ultimately is a disrespect for God himself," he tells OneNewsNow.
He says the God commands believers to honor those who are chosen to protect and exercise authority over them. "We ought to remember that God has ordained police officers to be his instruments to keep order in our society," Jeffress explains. "And it is important that we always respect police officers."
A spiritual problem
Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, emphasizes Christians need to understand the problem is spiritual in nature – and Christians, as individuals, he says, have roles in the solution.
"It's a new day," he laments, "and we're just praying that this culture of death that continues to grow in America ... somehow could be ended by the power of Christ and the gospel and [by] Christians being light in overcoming evil with good. That's what the scripture tells us to do."
Graham emphasizes the incident that took the lives in Dallas serves as yet another reminder to Christians to get out of their comfort zone and reach out to the community.
"Build relationships and reconcile with brothers and sisters and make sure that we're doing everything that we can to be a catalyst for revival, for evangelism in our country," he urges. "And just pray that somehow this tragic, horrific event, this pain would be a pulpit by which we could preach the only hope that we have, which is in Christ and Christ alone."
A racial problem
While most Christians would likely agree that the "culture of death" Graham describes reflects a spiritual emptiness, racial tensions clearly factor in as well. But AFA's Rios argues race is only part of the problem.
"It's Black Lives Matter. It's the New Black Panthers. It's the Islamist movement. It's the Communist Party USA. It's Occupy Wall Street. It's the illegal immigration leftist activists, all working together to disrupt the order of this country – and to violently and radically overthrow it," she offers.
Bishop Harry Jackson also believes race is part of the mix. He leads a group called The Reconciled Church, whose purpose is to bridge the racial divide that he says has America in its grips.
"We're going to have to deal with people who have passed on generational hatred feelings – so blacks are going to have to forgive."
But white America, he says, has some work to do as well. "They've got to deal with structural issues such as the unequal outcomes in education in urban areas where blacks and Hispanics are being trained today," he suggests. "Job opportunities will create long-term, stress-free, violence-free cities."
Jackson continues: "And then I think we need to deal with the fact that there's an over-criminalization of black and Hispanic communities. And we've got to deal with … returning citizens home, teach them about Christ, teach them about forgiveness, teach them to take ownership for the problems in their lives."
He's calling for at least ten percent of U.S. churches, black and white, to pray for peace and reconciliation each Wednesday. He's calling the effort "Reconciliation Wednesdays."