‘Donald Trump’s election didn’t just empower the alt-right troops with their #MAGA hats and Pepe the Frog avatars. The religious right is also more quietly making moves to consolidate power on a state and local level, aided by Trump’s promises to appoint conservative-friendly judges and to strike down legal limits on church-based politicking.
But even in the current environment, it’s startling to learn that the Alabama legislature is considering a bill to give a Birmingham-based church its own police force. The bill, Senate Bill 193, would specifically authorize the Briarwood Presbyterian Church, which has more than 4,000 members, to hire its own police force that would be “invested with all of the powers of law enforcement officers in this state.”
“The sole purpose of this proposed legislation is to provide a safe environment for the church, its members, students and guests,” the church said in a memo sent to Salon after requests for comment. The memo also mentioned the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut, claiming that the church needs “qualified first responders” in case such a thing would happen there.’