Briarwood Presbyterian Church says it’s needs it’s own police force to protect it’s congregation
In medieval Europe, it wasn't uncommon for the Church to wield influence over armies and law enforcement agents. At the peak of its power, the Catholic Church could enforce its rules and laws through its own set of enforcement bodies. With the decline of its power, the church no longer wielded such power and stuck to only religious duties.
In a move that is reminiscent of this practice, an Alabama church may soon get permission to employ its own set of police. The Briarwood Presbyterian Church, a megachurch in suburban Birmingham may just be the first church to have its own police force. The force, called the God Squad, has been given official permission by the Alabama Senate, who voted in favor of the project, 24 to 4. The matter will now be discussed in the House soon.
The church says it needs the God Squad for security reasons and to patrol the surrounding areas to curb immoral or dangerous activities. The church has not begun officially asking for funds, help or recruits because they are awaiting legislative approval before they can start doing so, church administrator Matt Moore revealed.
The demands for a separate police force for the church had been around since 2015. An earlier version of this bill was all but passed when Gov. Robert Bentley, who was in charge back then, refused to sign it for fear that it would create demands for private police forces all across the state. However, a lot of government officials and civilians have been in support of the bill, claiming that the police force was urgently needed to protect Briarwood’s seminaries and schools, besides the 4,000 member strong church.
— Liam Kane-Grade (@lkanegrade) March 21, 2017
Supporters cite the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre as a substantial reason for wanting the church to have its own police force. However, opponents of the bill, which includes the ACLU, insisted the bill will only enable the church to have armed members who will get legal protection for carrying arms and shooting people. They also argued the support of their own police force can help them better cover up crimes they commit.