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posted by martyb on Thursday April 13 2017, @01:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the it-is-not-the-law...-yet dept.

Alabama lawmakers have voted 24-4 to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham to establish a police department. The church has over 4,000 members and is also home to a K-12 school and a theological seminary with 2,000 students and teachers:

"After the shooting at Sandy Hook and in the wake of similar assaults at churches and schools, Briarwood recognized the need to provide qualified first responders to coordinate with local law enforcement," church administrator Matt Moore said in a statement, referring to the mass murder of 20 first graders and six teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut by a deranged man with an AR-15 style rifle just before Christmas 2012. "The sole purpose of this proposed legislation is to provide a safe environment for the church, its members, students and guests." The church would pay the bill for its officers.

[...] "It's our view this would plainly be unconstitutional," Randall Marshall, the ACLU's Acting Executive Director, told NBC News. In a memo to the legislature, Marshall said they believe the bills "violate the First Amendment or the U.S. Constitution and, if enacted, would not survive a legal challenge." "Vesting state police powers in a church police force violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment," his memo states. "These bills unnecessarily carve out special programs for religious organizations and inextricably intertwine state authority and power with church operations."

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13 2017, @02:34AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13 2017, @02:34AM (#493224)

    The fact that any college would have police with arrest powers is pretty broken. The same goes for Disneyworld. I have to wonder how the money plays out... are these places still paying for regular police? If so, does the local municipality try to cause this situation (saving money on cops while collecting taxes) on purpose? Do insiders and outsiders get equal treatment, or at least as well as a town would do? It sure looks like use of force and immunity would be part of the deal, otherwise I don't see why this requires legislative action.

    Also, we do sadly have non-secular towns. There is one by a Mormon splinter group, and there is a Jewish one in New York, and some Muslim ones seem to be forming up near the Great Lakes. Non-believers are hounded out of town by unfair policing, purposeful interference with stuff like city water hookup and various permits, and "interesting" public schools. For example, public schools in the Jewish one are 100% special education. (normal kids go to religious school, the town doesn't really fund the public school, but there is federal money for special needs students)

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