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Dear Catholic Church: Stay out of science and politics

In anticipation of a Congressional House vote, Catholic bishops and priests will preach a coordinated message on Sept 8, 2013 backing immigration

Photo: Wathiq Khuzaie / Getty Images

Photo: Wathiq Khuzaie / Getty Images

policy. I have no intention of focusing on their rationale. Manipulating quotes from the good book(s) are akin to a scientist taking two data points and stating it’s a trend. History is filled with examples of twisting words and/or statistics to justify actions such as the inquisition and slavery along with good deeds. I strongly believe in keeping the government free of religion, all of them- equally including the Evangelicals who also express their support. Early on in the forming of the United States it was understood there should be freedom and diversity in worship. Steps were taken to not favor any one religious establishment. After all, the government has to deal with the ramifications of any bills passed; the budget, enforcement and any unforeseen consequences. If things don’t work out they can’t convene congress and pray for a solution. In theory, they have to answer to the people with concrete results.

History is filled with attempts to insert faith in many aspects of government responsibilities. If the government tried to respect all religions, then health insurance wouldn’t consider vaccinations, blood transfusions, and of course birth control. Also, in recent news is the attempt to influence science textbooks in Texas. The State Board of Education will decide high school biology textbooks which may reside in classrooms for nearly a decade. The reviewers now include creationists which are causing concern for some. Wasn’t the Galileo Affair sufficient reason to understand that faith doesn’t belong in science either? What if engineers working on the braking system in your car relied on “intelligent design”, faith, prayer or some other unseen force? Engineers and scientist must rely on the best data of the time, argue for change based on data and proactively seek new data where it’s lacking. I don’t need faith to believe in math, semiconductor physics, or my programming language of choice.  Simply saying ‘it’s not understood, but it’s intelligent therefore it’s a higher power’ doesn’t cut it.

If religion was fact based then you wouldn’t need faith. Religious institutions should have faith in their own faith and not try to force personal beliefs in science and politics. So, agree or disagree with the need for immigration reform, it’s not for religious institutes to decide. We have enough historical examples of what happens when church and state mix; where would the intermingling end in a country so diverse?

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Jeffery Cassity says:

    The concept of separation between church and state does not and never has meant that church leaders have no place in the debate of social and poltical issues. It means that there is no ‘official’ church as there is in England nor should America be a theocracy where religious leaders have the final say on govt policy(Iran). Conversely, the government cannot tell a religious group that it must do something against its doctrine(same sex marriage can(and should be legal) but the Catholic Church cannot be forced to perform the ceremony, though each denomination and religious group is allowed to do so if they believe it is in accord with their beliefs. Many of our basic laws are derived from religious principles. Killing another person(with certain exceptions) is illegal(Thou shalt not kill); taking another person’s property without their permission is illegal(Thou shalt not steal). Questions of when a person should legally be considered a person protected by our Constitution(the abortion issue) is as much a moral and religious issue as it is a legal and scientific one. The Catholic Church long ago accepted the concept of scientific ‘truths’. Science can tell us the physical realities of creation and existence, but only religion and philosophy can address its meaning and purpose(if any). How our country treats the entrance of non-citizens into our country is a legal and political issue but it also carries moral questions which have to be addressed.

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