Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has quietly signed a bill into law that will allow a Presbyterian church with a long history of homophobia to have its own police force that will have the same powers as regular police.
The law, which is scheduled to go into effect this fall, gives Briarwood Presbyterian Church and its private school on the same campus the ability to hire private police officers who can make arrests if crimes are committed on the property, according to the Associated Press.
Officials contend that the private police force is necessary to adequately secure the church and school.
The church’s police force will have the same powers as regular police.
Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, told the AP that the law could give the church the ability to cover-up criminal activity that occurs on its property.
He expects the law to be challenged in the courts for “unconstitutionally granting government power to a religious institution.”
As for its anti-LGBT history, The Root noted:
- “Practical Encouragement for Christians in a Time of Cultural Transitions Part 2,” a sermon that aired on Briarwood’s national radio network informing listeners how to get “in the mode to persuade” friends and family that homosexuality is against the word of God.
- In 2012, at its national conference, the church issued an official condemnation to Disney for “promoting homosexuality.”
- In 2013, Briarwood severed its ties with the Boys Scouts of Americaover BSA’s decision to allow gay youths to participate in the organization.