Culture March 20, 2017
Watch out, heathens. An Alabama megachurch has submitted a Senate bill to get its own police department.
SB 193 proposes a police force for the 4,100 member church, which allegedly needs the protection for its K-12 school and seminary, which have 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.
The safety of the church’s members and students is obviously important, but the thought of a powerful church having its own police force is more than alarming – especially in this climate.
I mean, remember the Faith Militant from “Game of Thrones?” When it was introduced in season five, the armed group was meant to protect the High Septon (Jonathan Pryce), the faithful and the clergy (… and because Cersei – Lena Headey – wanted a leg up in her power struggle against the Tyrells).
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But the Faith Militant quickly began imposing their puritanical views on Kings Landing, attacking everyone from liquor vendors to merchants selling idols from other religions. Viewers can pretty much all agree, the Faith Militant were the worst.
And yes, “Game of Thrones” is a TV show, but power is power and it’s not hard to imagine such power getting corrupted. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was no doubt worried about a similar transgression for the Alabama church police force.
The ACLU of Alabama urged lawmakers to vote no on the Briarwood police force, calling it “unconstitutional.” They were also staunchly against another terrifying proposed bill – The Alabama Church Protection Act – that would allow churches to tap gun-toting congregants for security and give them legal protections should they shoot anyone. What?
“These bills unnecessarily carve out special programs for religious organizations and inextricably intertwine state authority and power with church operations,” Randall Marshall, the ACLU’s Acting Executive Director warned in a meme to state legislature.
And… it’s not even necessary, according to local law enforcement, who say the church complex is already policed by sheriff’s deputies from both of the surrounding counties. It is also patrolled by the Vestavia Hills Police Department, and they hire off-duty law enforcement when they have special events.
While the Faith Militant are certainly not the most frightening thing to come out of “Game of Thrones” – Think The Mountain, dragons, Cersei Lannister – we’d still rather they remain fictional. We’ve got enough on our hands as it is.
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