It is not illegal in the sense that there is a penal code that precludes this; however, if it is not relevant to the case (it may be relevant for example, in child custody cases, or for protective order issues if both parties attend the same church) then the party can request a new judge based on prejudice, or can file a complaint against the judge.
An attorney should be treated equal to that of a non-attorney; however, if the judge feels that the attorney is violating any rules of professional conduct, the judge can report the attorney to the state bar, which can result in sanctions; the idea is that the attorney is an officer of the court, whereas a lay person is not, so they are subject to the rules of professional conduct.
While this state bar deals with complaints against attorneys:
this one deals with judges:
If the judge and plaintiff go to the same church, that alone is generally not enough to prove bias; but if the judge is in fact biased, one can request a new judge.
Sample motion to recuse here:
Alabama code 12-1-12 governs this topic.
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.