A hotly debated new bill has just passed through the Alabama State Senate. The bill is proposing that an Alabama Presbyterian Church be allowed to create its own police force. If the bill passes in law, the Briarwood Presbyterian Church will become the first religious institution in the United States to have its own armed police personnel.

The church's need for security

The Briarwood Presbyterian Church, which is comprised of over 4,100 members and over 2,000 students in its own school, mentioned in their statement that there was a need for protection within their congregation that was greater than what the local police departments could provide.

Officials of the church explained that seeking the assistance of local police officers for their various activities wasn't really an option for them anymore, which is why they are now looking to build their own church-run police department.

In their statement, the officials even brought up the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting as an example of why they should be allowed to protect their own churches and schools. The officials further explained that having their own personnel would only serve to benefit the community as well.

The other side of the fence

Those who are opposed to the bill, such as the Alabama branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU), have argued that the bill is in direct violation of the Constitution's clear regulations regarding the separation of church and state.

The proposal was even described as an "affront" to the Constitution itself. The legal director for the ALCU also explained that allowing the church to create its own police would essentially be giving them the power over a "core governmental function" that could easily be abused. There is currently no regulation or institution that would oversee such a department, and there is also the question of accountability should there be any incidents.

Other churches may follow

After having won a 24-4 vote last week, the bill is now on its way to the House, where it is expected to pass. The only thing left for it to take effect would be Gov. Kay Ivey's signature. Several critics have also expressed their concern regarding other churches, larger than the Briarwood Presbyterian, who might also demand to be allowed their own private police force.

This would permanently raise a lot of legal questions regarding the immunity of the church-hired personnel and the implications of arming churches across the country.

The news and commentary YouTube channel The Young Turks shares their opinion on the matter in the video below:

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