essay helper

Being Latino on Google Plus

Religion belongs in the home, but what about the House and Senate?

You have seen them: signs stating “Dios bendiga este hogar.” Their popularity is a testament to the overwhelming adherence to religious faith that characterizes the Latino experience in the U.S.

The last published report by the Pew Hispanic Center on the subject found that only 8 percent of Latinos identify as atheist or agnostic. In the overall population of the country the Pew Center found that despite a changing social panorama, most individuals still report some sort of religious preference.

Securing the right to worship freely was one of the founding principles of the nation. The pursuit of happiness for the majority of individuals includes the freedom to express religious devotion, the right to frame a home and lifestyle according to specific tenets; and, hopefully, as the demographics of the nation change, to claim without negative repercussions, a lack of religious faith.

The First Amendment to the Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  The government is not to promote the ideology of one tradition over any other, since such an endorsement could codify the religion thus making it the dominant belief system and relegating other traditions to “outsider” status. Clearly, this would not secure freedom of religion for the growing and changing population that deserves the same freedoms as the dominant culture.

When the cry arises that the U.S. is a Christian nation, I cannot help but think of the First Amendment and of how it is trampled with such a justification; for this is usually not a declaration of faith as much as it is a justification for one group of people to enshrine their religious beliefs into laws and social policy. The declaration is exclusionary and burdensome to those who follow a different religious path, or for those free thinkers who do not base their world view on religious dogma. It is dangerous, destabilizing, and potentially repressive in the same way that it is in any society that seeks to enforce a religious code against its people. Consider the theocratic tendencies of countries in the Middle East, for example.

Imagine a country where, guided by religious principles, a legislator proposes a law that could potentially punish, with death, a woman who suffers a miscarriage. Georgia State Representative Bobby Franklin proposed such a law, following a pattern of similar legislative attempts that appear to have had a basis in his religious beliefs. The blatant disregard of separation of (Christian) church and state has its modern day roots in the rise of the “religious right” but it continues with election of candidates who make public their espousal of “Christian principles” and their intent to govern within that context.

Any “minority” segment of a population should have a vested interest in limiting the power of a “dominant” religious philosophy to enshrine laws governing a diverse nation. Without such guardianship, we run the risk of fertilizing a society for the growth of oppressive measures that might eventually curtail our own pursuit of happiness.

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. Bad article

  2. I don’t agree

  3. Example: Senator Ruben Diaz uses his religious beliefs in NY and congress. Yes this country wasn’t founded on Christian beliefs but it gets abused in states and in DC against women mostly.

  4. Religion belongs wherever the reverent want it to be. It’s not up to anyone to determine otherwise.

  5. Great article once again Maitri!

  6. Great article! U.S. for democracy; not theocracy.

Speak Your Mind