Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, signed a law three weeks ago which allows the church in Montgomery to hire its own police force. Briarwood Presbyterian Church will establish its own police force that will operate both on the campus and in the church.
This will allow the church to arrest whenever a crime occurs on their territory. Church officials admitted that with the private law department, they would be able to provide security for both 2,000 students at the faculty and two campus buildings.
ACLU’s executive director, Randall Marshall, disliked the idea, stating that this would allow the church to cover any illegal activities within their premises. Furthermore, he said that he was expecting the law to be challenged because of the unconstitutional granting of power to a religious organization.
This is not the first time that this question was raised. The church initially tried the same thing over four years ago, but without any luck. The issue was dropped in 2007 when the opposition argued against the validity of the law and the fact that it was against the constitution.
The church of Briarwood said that establishing this kind of private force was necessary since the state was unable to provide adequate security for their students.
Briarwood has an average of 3,000 worshipers per week, making it one of the three biggest churches in Alabama. The issue raised many eyebrows since it might oppose the Establishment Clause.