The Alabama Senate recently passed a bill that would allow a church to have a police force to protect itself. This bill will be going to the house who has said that they would be fine with allowing the church to run an actual police force. The bill passed the Senate in April and should be going to the house soon, which has said they would like to pass it.
This bill has garnered a lot of controversy. It has left a lot of people scared that they will be losing their religious liberty. “What if you are Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, etc., but you have a Christian church in charge of your local police force?” many have asked. Many people have criticized it for the unconstitutionality of the bill, “Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. – First Amendment of the Constitution of The United States of America.
America was founded on religious freedom. The founding fathers were strong secularists: “Christianity is nor ever was a part of the common law” – Thomas Jefferson; “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion” -John Adams. Some people have tried to claim otherwise but that claim is simply incompatible with facts. Jefferson also told us to “Question with boldness even the existence of a God”.
Some people defending the bill have said that “The constitution does not explicitly say ‘Separation of Church and State’ in it”. Some opponents of the bill have responded to this with citing the first amendment. It is very hard to refute that this bill does respect a religious establishment.
Some defenders of this bill have tried arguing that the bill only gives the church this power at certain times. Some defenders of it have also said that the police officers appointed by the church have to be approved by the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commision. People have also argued that they would only be getting a small area to police so it is not that big of a deal.
The House read this bill, is currently rewriting it, and should be voting on it sometime in June. The bill has not gotten much attention from the media because it has not passed yet, but it will get a lot of attention if it goes through. You will likely see some sharp division over the bill if it passes, which could be soon.