Suicide by cop is a social phenomenon where an individual intentionally provokes a lethal response from law enforcement in order to end their own life. Typical suicide involves the killing of oneself. However, in cases of suicide by cop, the individual is unwilling to take their own life, and thus, they must orchestrate a scenario in which someone else is coerced into using lethal force against them.
Individuals commit suicide by cop for various reasons. Sometimes when an individual no longer desires to live he or she may to make statement through one’s own death. One may also engage in suicide by cop out of cowardice and the desire to avoid legal repercussions for one’s crimes. One may engage in suicide by cop due to a moral aversion to killing oneself or even due to the desire for loved one’s to financially benefit from their death, such as collecting life insurance, where the act of committing suicide themselves would violate the terms of their policy.
For whatever the reason someone decides to commit suicide by cop, they are still committing suicide. Although they do not pull the trigger themselves, through their own actions they set into motion a series of premeditated events that leads to their intentional death.
However, it is often overlook that there is more than just one victim in such a cases. Of course, there is suicidal individual that is murdered, but there are also profound psychological effects on the law enforcement officers that are manipulated into committing murder.
Although the phrase “suicide by cop” was coined in the 1980s, and we tend to think of it as a relatively recent social phenomenon, the act of a suicidal individual coercing law enforcement into killing them might not be as modern of a concept as we’d like to believe. Take the story of Jesus Christ, who we are told in the Bible was sent to redeem the sins of humankind by dying on a cross.
“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15)
“God’s law requires nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22)
In fact, Jesus is often compared to a sacrificial animal in emphasis of the role his death serves. In 1st Corinthians chapter 5 verse 7 Paul claims “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” And in John chapter 1 verse 29 Jesus Christ is called “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
As we can see, the ultimate reason why Christ came to Earth was to DIE as a sacrifice. In essence, Jesus Christ was on a suicide mission, because he HAD to die in order to complete the objective of redeeming the sins of humankind through the establishment of a NEW covenant.
However, Jesus could not simply climb up on the sacrificial altar and slit his own throat, because such an act would be a mortal sin, serving to make Jesus into a self-murderer. In addition, Christ’s death was required in order to make a statement — to demonstrate god’s immutable love through his willingness to allow the torture and sacrifice of his only begotten son.
Therefore, someone else was required to do the torturing and killing for him. Essentially, Jesus committed suicide by cop. Indeed, just like other classic cases of suicide by cop, Jesus Christ was required to set into motion a series of events that intentionally lead to his own demise.
Jesus provoked the establishment and challenged the authority of religious leaders throughout the region. Furthermore, Jesus used violence to disrupt the commerce and banking practices in the Temple in Jerusalem:
“And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’” (John 2:15-16)
Not only did Jesus Christ orchestrate very public spectacles where we behaved like a lunatic, he also spoke out against peace and attempted to divide the family unit:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34–39)
Jesus’ erratic behavior and controversial messages understandably put many of the Jewish religious leaders on alert. It is for this reason Jesus began to be seen as a threat, and plans were made by certain leaders within Jerusalem’s community to turn him over to the Roman authorities.
But imagine if Jesus had not created such upheaval. What if Jesus did not preach such a controversial message or violently attack the money changers. What would have been the motivation to call for his arrest?
Jesus knew what he was doing and the actions that he needed to take in order to sow the seeds of descent, to make enemies, and to coerce those enemies into calling for his death. In fact, on several occasions Jesus predicted his own demise:
“When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.’ And the disciples were filled with grief.” (Matthew 17:22-23)
Even after Jesus was captured there were multiple occasions were he could have avoided a death sentence. In fact, Pontius Pilate had reservations about putting Jesus to death without hard evidence of his crimes. The continued defiance of authority served to further provoke the reaction that Jesus required, leading to his inevitable crucifixion.
It’s interesting to note that Jesus was more than willing to perform miracles of healing the crippled, the blind, and even once raising the dead, walking on water, turning water in to wine, and proclaiming his divinity whenever it suited the purpose of converting followers. However, when it came to proving his divinity to the authorities, and thereby affording Jesus the opportunity to save his own life, it would have been completely counter-productive to his mission.
Therefore, Jesus HAD to remain silent and refused to perform miracles when his divinity was challenged — knowing full-well that his actions would only serve to further incite the powers-that-be.
But just as in modern-day cases of suicide by cop, there was more than just one victim. One of the key events that set into motion Jesus’ crucifixion was a betrayal by his disciple Judas. In fact, Judas was so overcome with guilt and shame for what he had done that he committed actual suicide.
“Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:5)
The true victims of this soap opera were the pawns that Jesus manipulated as a means to an end. Every person involved in Jesus’ death, including Judas, the Jewish community leaders, as well as the Romans, played an essential role in allowing Jesus to fulfill his mission and to redeem humankind of their sins. However, instead of being celebrated, these people were demonize, persecuted, and horrendously punished.
For example, it’s safe to assume Judas went to hell, not only for the role he played in turning Jesus over to the authorities, but also for committing the mortal sin of suicide, an action Judas was driven to as a direct result of the crucial role that he played in facilitating Jesus’ death.
But just imagine if everything hadn’t gone to plan. What if Judas didn’t betray Jesus? Or what if the Jewish leaders accepted Pilate’s initial refusal to put Jesus to death? What would Jesus have done then? Would he have gone to a different city to recruit another batch of disciples, attempt to incite resentment among the community leaders, successfully get himself betrayed, and then hopefully his web of manipulation and coercion would finally result in a death sentence?
The fact that Jesus required other people to play vital roles in fulfillment his mission, means those responsible for his death were actually doing Jesus a great service, because if events did not played out exactly as they had, then humankind could have never been redeemed. But not only was Judas driven to suicide for the necessary role he played in Jesus’ death, an entire race of people were demonized and persecuted for many hundreds of years as a direct result of Jesus Christ’s actions leading up to his suicide by cop.
Many of the earliest and most influential Church Fathers were responsible for spreading anti-Semitism and speaking out against the Jews as “Christ killers”.
In the “Dialogue with Trypho”, the second century Christian apologist Justin Martyr accuses the Jews of crucifying Christ and for leading people away from salvation.
Saint John Chrysostom, a fourth century Christian Father and Archbishop of Constantinople, said of the Jews:
“The synagogue is worse than a brothel…it is the den of scoundrels and the repair of wild beasts…the temple of demons devoted to idolatrous cults…the refuge of brigands and dabauchees, and the cavern of devils. It is a criminal assembly of Jews…a place of meeting for the assassins of Christ… As for me, I hate the synagogue…I hate the Jews for the same reason.”
In 1543 the German Reformation leader Martin Luther wrote a 65,000 word anti-Semitic treatise that he titled “On the Jews and Their Lies”.
Martin Luther wrote: “Such a desperate, thoroughly evil, poisonous, and devilish lot are these Jews, who for these fourteen hundred years have been and still are our plague, our pestilence, and our misfortune… For their kidnapping of children they have often been burned at the stake or banished (as we already heard).
I am well aware that they deny all of this. However, it all coincides with the judgment of Christ which declares that they are venomous, bitter, vindictive, tricky serpents, assassins, and children of the devil, who sting and work harm stealthily wherever they cannot do it openly.”
In fact, even the Bible itself claims, “Jews killed the Lord Jesus”:
“For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone…” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-15)
Anti-Semitism pervaded Europe and the Middle East, from the time of the Holy Roman Empire all the way up to the Third Reich, and beyond. Being the omniscient and omnibenevolant deity that god is claimed to be, one would expect him to have foreseen all of the racism and incalculable suffering the Jews were destined to experience for the role they played in Christ’s crucifixion.
Therefore, are we really to believe that god could not find a better way of redeeming our sins? If a sacrifice was really all that was required, then why go through such an elaborate soap opera and force the hand of the Jews and Romans into doing god’s dirty work? Jesus Christ manipulated these people into the horrible position of murdering the son of god, when there were many other alternatives to this course of action, which would not have resulted in such misery for the participants involved as well as for their future descendants.
Are we really to believe these are the plans and actions of a super-intelligent, all-knowing, all-present, and all-loving god? Jesus Christ’s supposedly “selfless act of sacrifice” came at the cost of premeditated coercion, intentional manipulation, and the untold suffering and death of countless millions of men, women, and children.