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Puerto Rico cop: Keep religion to yourself

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Whenever I probe a believer on the foundations of their faith, finding themselves fully incapable of producing one rational thought, they faithfully respond with the trite adage “To each their own.”

But when you take the time to look around, you notice that it’s mostly the believers who don’t believe in the saying.

Just ask this guy:

“A 14-year veteran police officer from San Juan, Puerto Rico sued his bosses on Friday, alleging that he was reassigned from police work to washing cars and relaying messages when he refused to participate in a compulsory Christian prayer.

The complaint (PDF) alleges that officer Alvin Marrero-Mendez’s superior officers often engaged in religious activities during precinct meetings, including an officially sponsored prayer. Specifically, it alleges that officer Mendez was asked to give a prayer before a group of officers and when he refused, he was told to leave formation and stand in front of his peers while a superior officer mocked him for rejecting Christianity.”

See what I mean?

Perhaps I’m simply that naive, but can’t for the life of me imagine an atheist police officer complaining of another officer praying to themselves. That’s because while atheists do wish their fellow human beings utilized their highly evolved brains, atheists (agnostics, nonbelievers, et al.) have a deep respect for the separation of church and state.

In fact, there is no one in America who respects the separation more than an atheist.

It’s the believers, those neanderthal parakeets whose only phrases are either cherry-picked passages of a primitive text they’ve half read or “To each their own” — they’re the ones who believe in the separation of church and state and “To each their own” the very least.

To understand where their bigotry comes from, look no further than their nightstands. As instructed by the Holey Bible, it’s not enough that a believer have faith. They must force their family members, friends and neighbors to share in the faith, too.

Here are few of the must gut-wrenching bits:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” – Proverbs 3:5-7

“If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; … Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him.” – Deuteronomy 13:6-9

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” – Revelation 21:8

And they call it the Good Book.

Imagine if atheists received their bearing from a book that preached such hate against believers (or if Darwin had said, “I came not to send peace, but a sword,” like Jesus did in Matthew). I doubt most people would consider atheism a harmless doctrine practiced a couple Sundays out of every month.

Yet, believers have the chutzpah to present themselves as paragons of tolerance and compassion.

Discussing the Puerto Rico case with the Christian Post, an Evangelical newspaper based in D.C., Tulsa Police Captain Travis Yates said, “Obviously, no one should be retaliated against for their beliefs no matter what those beliefs are. Atheism is a belief just as I believe in Jesus.”

I respectfully but emphatically disagree, Captain. Atheism and faith have no more in common than a believer in unicorns and a nonbeliever have something in common.

Furthermore, despite the popular lie, atheism tends to make the average atheist more moral than the average believer, since the atheist doesn’t walk around with a false sense of sacrosanctity emanating from a belief that God’s on their side. Rationalists generally have a reason for their actions and rarely resort to the childish alibi of “He told me to do it.”

Nonetheless, even with the moral superiority an atheist wields, they’re still ardent defenders of religious plurality (though we consider it thought plurality) in a secular state.

Alas, goes the atheist creed, people have a right to be intellectuals or ignoramuses.

To the believer reading this post who might take offense to what I’ve written here, let me state clearly that I support your right to believe whatever crazy thing you want to believe.

Just keep it to yourself.

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.

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