Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed a bill allowing concealed guns in church, but the folks tucking pistols into their Sunday best won’t be just any believer wandering in off the street.  No, Louisiana’s packing worshipers will be trained professionals, a “security force” for God, as it were.

The new law authorizes people already qualified to carry concealed weapons to bring them to church and other houses of worship  if they have  passed eight hours of “tactical” training and cleared background checks.  The law also requires pastors or other leaders of houses of worship  to announce verbally or in weekly newsletters or bulletins that there will be individuals armed on the property as “members of the security force.”

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Henry Burns, a Haughton Republican, had argued that churches, mosques, synagogues or other houses of worship in crime-ridden or “declining neighborhoods” needed the added protection to ward off thieves and muggers.

So, before you make a sudden reach for that hymnal, consider yourself warned.   The deacon next to you could be a member of God’s secret police.

More Southern oddities and entities:

We’ve been called worse: Sarah Palin has endorsed Nashville attorney CeCe Heil in the Repub­li­can race for the 5th Congressional district seat in Tennessee, calling Heil a “tough mama grizzly.”

Looking for drunk mama grizzlies? Park rangers have begun setting up “sobriety checkpoints” in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Don’t let her behind the wheel in the Smokies: Nationally syndicated conservative columnist Kathleen Parker wrote recently, “If Bill Clinton was our first black president, as Toni Morrison once proclaimed, then Barack Obama may be our first woman president.”

And if you’re illegal, they send you to church: The city council in Irondale, Alabama, passed a resolution that police should determine the immigration status of a person during a traffic stop or a criminal investigation.

QUOTING NOW

“Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays. Little dolls. Me. Like maybe little action dolls. Me in an army uniform, air force uniform, and me in my suit. They can make toys of me and my vehicle, especially for the holidays and Christmas for the kids. That’s something that would create jobs. So you see I think out of the box like that. It’s not something a typical person would bring up. That’s something that could happen, that makes sense. It’s not a joke.”  — Alvin Greene, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in South Carolina.

Gita M. Smith contributed to this report.

Check out our News and Opinion Feeds for a lot more Southern happenings.


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Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor was born and raised in Georgia and worked more than 40 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a reporter and editor and as an online producer for ajc.com and AccessAtlanta. He served for a time as the newspaper's regional editor, overseeing coverage of the South. He is co-author, with Dr. Leonard Ray Teel, of Into the Newsroom:  An Introduction to Journalism and has conducted workshops in the Middle East on feature writing.