Growing up, I was used to an armed officer being at church--and sometimes I even road to church with him, as he was my dad. It never once occurred to me that other people took note of it.
When my husband and I recently discussed getting back into the swing of things with church, I reassured him that it wouldn't be an issue for him to show up in uniform for service. He works Sunday, and if he is working then he is on call for all 24 hours of that day.
So, last Sunday, off to a new church we went. He met us there. We got the kids situated in their respective classes and found a place at the back of the auditorium that felt comfortable. We chose the back for two reasons: if his work phones rings, he MUST answer it and because our kids in a unfamiliar place almost guarantees we will be summoned for one of them (and Scout fulfilled that guarantee). We worshiped, we praised, and we truly enjoyed the church service. About half way through the service, Scout joined us in the auditorium. We kept her mostly quiet.
After service, we retrieved Kale from class and headed out the door. I noted that next time I should park closer to the entrance by the kid's classrooms. Sunday went on without much flair.
Turns out, somebody either inside or outside the church took note of my husband's uniformed presence. Within the next 24 hours, someone placed a call and it became apparent that at least one person questioned my husband's right to attend church in uniform.
The first thing I did was laugh. Good try devil. Not gonna work. We are still going to be going to church. My next thought was shame on the person so poorly representing the church and being so blinded by the devil to believe that a church would ever stand behind the idea of rebuking a uniformed officer. I have never heard a police agency refusing an officer the opportunity to attend church regularly. Sure, things come up and the officer may be unable to attend from time to time due to performing work duties (read: keeping the general public safe). I have known many an officer who used "lunch/supper hour" to attend church. No big deal. Nobody expects the officer to run home, change clothes, attend church, and then run home to change again. Since when did church have a stringent dress code anyway?
So, another call was made and it was made very clear to our family that we were welcome at the church and with my husband being in uniform. We knew we would be headed back to church there again this morning.
This morning, off we went. We met my husband at church. We were VERY reassured by a church leader that we were welcome there with him in uniform. We signed our four year old up for baseball, despite him yelling/screaming the whole way back to the car that he doesn't to play (he does, he just doesn't know it yet...he loves to hit the ball and loves to throw!). We went on our way. Life goes on. And we will continue to go back to church there.