It’s not too hard to see where this could end up, the unexpected consequences of a private police force operated by a church are potentially many and serious. On Tuesday, by a 24-4 margin, the Alabama Senate voted to authorize Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to establish its own law enforcement department.
The church claimed it needs its own police officers in order to protect both its school and its 4,000 person congregation. Maybe they should have just encouraged their members to carry concealed and avoided setting the precedent.
Sure, these are peaceful Presbyterians, but it won’t be long before less mainstream, less well-intentioned, less American religious or pseudo religious organizations demand that they similarly be allowed to establish their own armed police forces.
The New Black Panthers of “Reverend” Louis Farrakhan already like to march around in their snazzy uniforms like frustrated cub scouts, pretending they’re in charge. If those “churches” are allowed to demand their own “civil rights” to protect themselves by forming their police forces, the State of Alabama has given powers that should be reserved for legitimate law enforcement to those who will abuse them.
How long will it take for an Alabama mosque to demand their own police department for the enforcement of their Sharia Law, in effect establishing Sharia as the law of the land in that particular location? The reality will be that for those in the immediate areas of the mosques or churches, the uniform and the gun represent the power, just as they do everywhere else.
The bill’s critics argue that a police department that reports to church officials could be used to cover up crimes. That’s a danger as well but seemingly less so than the threat of establishing armed, alternative law enforcement that operates under Sharia or other “alternative beliefs.” Genital mutilation at gunpoint may not be here yet, but it just got closer. Will church inflicted floggings now become “legal” or close enough to legal that they won’t be challenged?
In the past Alabama has given a few private universities the authority to create their own police force, but doing so for a church or other non-school entity is new.
The state has given a few private universities the authority to have a police force in the past, but never a church or non-school entity. A similar bill is scheduled for debate in the State House next Tuesday.
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