Atheist cop discriminated against
When people think of the bible belt they don't normally think of Puerto Rico. Well, they probably should. Puerto Rico isn't dominated by Southern Baptist fundamentalists like South Carolina, but it is a very devout region. Puerto Rico is one of the few strong Catholic demographic states, that still takes its' Catholicism seriously. While New England has a strong contigent of Catholics, they are more the sorts that attend Mass every now and then.
While Puerto Rico isn't a state, they are still under the Constitution of the United States. They must abide by the Establishment Clause. In fact, the Constitution of the island states "There shall be complete separation of church and state." Wow, I wish the U.S. Constitution clearly stated that, but I am sure even if it did, the religious right-wing would still try to water it down.
Well, I bring this all up because an atheist police officer in Puerto Rico was discriminated against for objecting to his superiors having organized prayers before mandatory police formations. Officer Marrero-Méndez, a 14 year veteran of the force, was ordered to wash police cars instead of serve the community in what he was trained to do.
All because of the pettiness of a superior who didn't care about the Constitution of Puerto Rico but only about forcing his religious views on those under him.
A thousand or so miles away in Hamilton County, Tennessee, there are invocations/ prayers given before county meetings. Not surprising, theocracy runs wild in southeastern Tennessee. Well an atheist named Tommy Coleman, who as an ordained minister meets the criteria to giving an invocation before a meeting, petitioned the county government to give this form of prayer. He was denied.
See, now you have to be affiliated with a tax exempt religious institution according to the county. The whole purpose of this move was to deny Mr. Coleman or any atheist from being able to speak. Now, I don't know if Coleman became ordained in order to speak before the meeting or not but if there are going to be religious statements before an official meeting, an atheist or humanist should be able to say a few words.
Or better yet, let's just leave religious out of official county business and let the free marketplace of ideas debate the question of a god.
Finally, if you want to support one of the founding principles of our nation, that the government shouldn't favor religion, please consider joining Americans United for Seperation of Church and State, an organization devoted solely to ensuring this time honored standard.