"The state has given a few private universities the authority to have a police force, but never a church or non-school entity. Opponents worry crimes could be covered up by the church."
It was exactly one month ago that we brought to your attention a most unusual request by a church:
As we explained in that post, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, located in Birmingham, Alabama, made the very same request back in 2015.That time the bill passed; however, it landed on the Governor's desk at a late date, and the Governor never signed it into law.
Briarwood's request to establish its own police department has once again been submitted to the Alabama State Legislature. When we published our previous post, the bill was being reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. We promised to keep our readers informed of any developments, and now this Senate committee has given its O.K.
Here is how the Associated Press (AP) broke the news:
An Alabama church is a step closer to having its own police force.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would authorize Briarwood Presbyterian Church to employ its own police force. The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.
A House committee has approved a similar bill, but the proposal has not yet gotten a floor vote.
The Birmingham-area congregation of 4,000 wants to create a police department to protect its church and school.
We want to commend the AP for staying on top of stories like this and the Word of Faith Fellowship in North Carolina. Bravo!
Apparently, the Sandy Hook school shooting "changed everything' regarding security concerns. The State of Alabama has allowed a few private universities to operate a police force; however, no such authority has every been granted to a church or non-school entity.
It is certainly worth noting that there are opponents who worry that should this church police force become a reality crimes could be covered up. Some of the commentary under articles such as the one cited above call attention to previous problems at the private school operating at Briarwood, most of which have been drug-related. Here are three comments that particularly stood out to me:
The last comment is the one that really concerns me. Should this become law in Alabama, will is establish a dangerous precedent allowing other religions to follow suit?
I visited Montgomery about five years ago and was so impressed by the city and its citizens. It strikes me as really odd that a church located less than 100 miles away would find it necessary to take law enforcement into its own hands.
If you live in Alabama and are concerned about this development, you might want to contact your legislator.