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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: 2) by HiThere on Thursday April 13 2017, @06:28PM (2 children)

    by HiThere (866) on Thursday April 13 2017, @06:28PM (#493539) Journal

    The point isn't that it's the Christians, but rather that it's the religions. The Christians aren't really any worse than the Muslims, they just have access to more power.

    That said, while I don't like the religions being in power, I'm not totally sure that they're any worse than the Corporations (or any other centralized economic group, so say companies, but these days that's usually the Corporations, but historically that wasn't true). Their abuses are different, but that doesn't inherently make them worse. Of course, you could consider the centralized economic power as the religion of Mammon. And the worship of centralized authority could be considered the religion of Jupiter. So most of the groups that I don't think should hold power can be attributed to one religion or another, if you're willing to be flexible about your definitions.

    The problem is that centralized power inevitably becomes corrupt, even in its own terms. And this is because the people in charge are self-centered. In society this is inevitable as those who are driven to seek power always have an advantage over those who aren't in the acquisition of power. So over time the top position becomes more and more frequently occupied by some loon whose main goal in life is to grab power. Sometimes for his own advantage, as thats the most sane reason to seek power, but also sometimes just to hold and exercise power. This is the main reason I think a lottery might be be near-optimal form of office selection. You'd need a bunch of safeguards to decentralize power, as occasionally you might get a real winner, but look around the world today and say that it would actually be worse.

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  • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Saturday April 15 2017, @07:14AM (1 child)

    by aristarchus (2645) on Saturday April 15 2017, @07:14AM (#494327) Journal

    The problem is that centralized power inevitably becomes corrupt, even in its own terms.

    Ah, Lord Acton: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!" (Look it up, Here. [phrases.org.uk]

    Usually, I like to combine this observation with that of Sir Francis Bacon, who said: "Scientia est potentia." Or he did not, but only something similar. [wikipedia.org] So we end up with a tag line that I have seen on the internets, so it must be correct:

    Knowledge is power. Power corrupts. Study hard. Be evil.

    Such poetry, it could have been Steve Bannon!

    And this is because the people in charge are self-centered.

    I will have to disagree with you here, Soylentil There, I think that those who are merely self-centered are not nearly as dangerous as the "true believers". Take President Trump (please!!!), if he is just in this to make money, the entire downfall of the United States might just go against his own self-interest. And I am sure that Jared and Ivanka will explain this to him in words he can understand. But those who think that they are part of some great plan? Those who are willing to sacrifice themselves, and all the rest of us, for what they perceive as some absolute value, like VP Pence does? Those are the ones that are the most truly corrupt, the most dangerous, the least able to see their hubris and folly, and therefore the ones to keep far away from the levers of power. These are the Anti-social Injustice Deplorables, the AIDs, and they cannot be reasoned with, they cannot be dissuaded, they will just keep coming, and coming, especially if they dine alone with a woman who is not their wife.

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    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Saturday April 15 2017, @05:42PM

      by HiThere (866) on Saturday April 15 2017, @05:42PM (#494498) Journal

      You are only considering the person at the top rather than the entire bureaucracy. But it's true that an ideology is a potent means of centralizing control. Still, consider the difference between Lenin and Stalin.

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