Anthony Izaguirre / AP
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law Wednesday the measure granting the Briarwood Presbyterian Church the right to its own law enforcement agency to cover its sanctuary, seminary and sprawling school campuses, despite criticism that the measure was unconstitutional.
A similar measure, first proposed four years, was dropped in 2017 after opponents argued that the grants government power to a religious institution in violation of the establishment Clause.
Church officials say they need their own police force to protect its 4,100 members, 2,000 students and two campuses in neighboring Jefferson and Shelby counties, especially in light of armed attacks on schools and churches.
Critics say the mega-church already has private security and under the new law it would gain state authority that could be abused if officers are answerable only to church officials
Randall Marshall, the executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, told the Associated Press he expects the Aw, which goes into effect in the case will be challenged in the courts.
Other critics say the church has a history of racism and homophobia. and employ one or more suitable persons to act as police officers to keep off intruders and prevent trespass upon the institution property, "according to a statement made to WBRC in Birmingham." approving our request to be added to the existing Alabama "law, the statement concluded.