By Michael Harriot
While advocates of civil liberties decry a powerful Alabama politician’s effort to push through a bill that would give a lily-white suburban church its own police force, many are unaware of the church’s long history of troubling race relations.
The Alabama Legislature is now considering Senate Bill 193. If passed, the law would give Briarwood Presbyterian Church the right to establish its own police force, with all the power and authority of any other municipal law-enforcement agency. The megachurch claims that it needs a police force to provide a safe environment for its parishioners, the private school and the Bible college all run by the church.
While national outlets like CNN have pointed to the news blurb as an intriguing local tale that raises interesting questions about the separation of church and state, they fail to uncover the real story: how a powerful man might single-handedly strong-arm the state of Alabama into giving a fundamentalist church with a history of racism and homophobia the authority to create its own little private army.
Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.