PLS VOTE :) Do you think police should send out trained clergy to violent crime scenes? (poll)

ugh wiping their butts with the constitution in Alabama ...

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- The Montgomery Police Department is coming under fire from the American Civil Liberties Union and national atheists groups for training ministers to respond to crime scenes.

American Atheists Inc. and the Freedom from Religion Foundation have sent letters to the Montgomery Police Department saying the department’s new program that invites trained clergy to crime scenes to comfort victims is in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First and 14th Amendments.

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Comment by Asa Watcher on October 24, 2013 at 10:42am

There is a lot of stuff to be sorted out at the scene of a violent crime, and there are those who might be calmed and reassured by the presence of clergy.

A sensitive clergy can assess appropriate behavior on his/her part, and will know when to step in and when to step back.

If a witness or a victim can be emotionally soothed in any manner, isn’t that a good thing?  Wouldn’t it help in the resolution and understanding about what happened, how it happened, and who was involved?

Trained law enforcement officers can easily determine if clergy is contributing to understanding about what happened or,  instead, is inappropriately proselytizing to a sinner at the scene.

As long as everybody understands that law enforcement officers are in charge, and their orders are to be obeyed, clergy might be able to make a positive contribution.  

Not everybody expects to be treated as a nonbeliever.

Comment by Hiram on October 14, 2013 at 8:13pm

i wouldn't mind paying my parking tickets with hail maries and our fathers :) then we'd be talking! :)

Comment by dr kellie on October 14, 2013 at 3:18pm

Why not just have only ordained ministers as police officers? 

Sorry, but this whole concept is so stupid that I had to take it to the next level.

Comment by Ted Foureagles on October 13, 2013 at 12:33pm

To avoid confusion about my stance, I'll start by saying that I find this policy repugnant and clearly illegal, but not surprising.  It would be helpful to understand the culture extant in the deep South, which is a Calvinist, dualist, absolutist vision of an ultimate battle of good vs. evil -- either with us or agin' us.  This is much like the stance taken between the US & the Soviet Union during the Cold War, to the detriment of much of the world's population.  To try explaining it to either side would be like trying to explain to a fish that it is wet.  In the US Southeast, evangelical Christianity is like water is to a fish -- just the field within which they move, with other fields unimaginable.  To ask someone here whether they're a Christian is equivalent to asking whether they're a good or bad person.  Those asking the question really don't understand that other factors exist.

Almost everyone that I know here in Upstate South Carolina is a hard-core fundamentalist evangelical Christian just because that's the stream in which this node of culture flows for historical reasons.  Most of them are not bad people, in my opinion, nor are most of them stupid.  They behave in ways that to me are both bad and stupid, but they're going with the flow and I am not.

I'd bet that almost everyone around here would say that having preachers in cop cars is a good idea.  In fact, it would probably be pretty hard to be a cop without expressing commitment to evangelical Christianity, and impossible to be elected Sherriff without publicly and stridently doing so.  That's just life in the South; it's the water in which we atheists and everyone else swims.  Resisting it is a noble appeal, especially considering that it makes you a de facto outlaw in the same way that secularists are outlaws under Taliban rule.

Comment by kathy: ky on October 11, 2013 at 9:12pm

No,no and no.  I get pissed when clergy come into my room when I'm hospitalized.  I'd really hate to think how I would react if clergy showed up at a time in my life when I was very emotional.

Comment by Grinning Cat on October 11, 2013 at 8:56pm

There's some irony in the standard barrier tape....


Comment by Grinning Cat on October 11, 2013 at 8:42pm

Thanks for letting us know!

Currently, the votes on the poll, "Do you think police should send out trained clergy to violent crime scenes to counsel victims?" are 82% "No, there should be a separation of religion and government", with "I don't care" and "Not sure" totaling only 2%. (No idea how many people freeped the poll, using multiple computers or clearing cookies to vote more than once!)

The background article quotes Brian Wibecan, leader of the Montgomery Area Freethought Association:

[...] the impression he has received from reading media reports is the police department is trying to make religion and police one.That is inappropriate,” he said.

[...] Wibecan said it would be more reasonable for police officers to ask victims if they would like a member of the clergy or even another community leader or counselor to speak to them following an incident.

(emphasis mine)

It also says Dayton, Ohio, and Arlington, Texas have similar programs.



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