‘In the name of Jesus, step out of your car’

‘In the name of Jesus, step out of your car’

An atheist group in Puerto Rico has lodged a formal complaint against police who subjected motorists to a ‘faith’ blitz on July 1.

In a statement issued yesterday, Elisaul Rodriguez, Vice-President of Ateístas de Puerto Rico (Atheists of Puerto Rico) alleged that a “faith road block” had been set up by Barceloneta City police.

Officers stopped people on the road for the purpose of preaching, distributing written religious propaganda and praying for drivers.

Rodriguez added:

It was a religious activity in which the Christian faith was professed, particularly of an Evangelical variant.

We understand that the Police Department of Barceloneta City has incurred violations to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico …

Article II, Section III says: ‘No law related to the establishment of any religion will be approved and the free exercise of religion will not be prohibited. There will be complete separation of church and state’.

We must also point out that Puerto Rico, as a territory, is under the protection of the Federal Constitution of the United States of America, which also provides a clause for the separation of church and state.

Acts carried out during the “faith road-block” reflected the officers’ personal religious interests and were outside the police departments scope of duty, Rodriguez pointed out. The officers wore their uniforms and badges and:

Used resources provided by the Government of Puerto Rico that should only be used for the purpose of fighting crime, not for personal religious benefits.

This sends the message that the State is Christianizing its citizens, which corresponds to a canonical government and impairs the integrity and impartiality of the State.

Rodriguez continued:

We are worried that non-believers and people affiliated to other religions are being forced to stop for no other reason than to be subjected to religious proselytism, carried out by the State, and that they may experience fear of some kind of retaliation, in case they don’t accept this religious indoctrination from law-enforcing agents.

Our organization is composed of atheists, agnostics and freethinkers. It is part of our mission and vision to watch that the constitutional rights of our community are not violated. For this reason we demand the prohibition of religious indoctrination carried out by agents of public service, during labor hours.

The Police Department of Barceloneta City ought to make correct use of its resources, with procedures aligned to the General Orders of the Police of Puerto Rico, which establish that road blocks must make minimal interference and the reasons for stopping a vehicle should be reasonable, always guaranteeing the constitutional rights of our citizens.

21 responses to “‘In the name of Jesus, step out of your car’”

  1. Broga says:

    The stupidity of these Christians is revealed by their actions. Do they really think that people who have examined Christian belief and rejected it are going to be converted by their literature with its assertions and absence of facts?

    They are not competent to be police officers. What justice would a declared atheist get from these clowns.

  2. Stuart H. says:

    I’d forgotten about those ‘pray against crime’ initiatives which seemed to be popular a year or two back.
    Never caught on round my way, and the ‘street pastor’ scheme which was supposed to help an understaffed police deal with late night revellers also closed. Seems the chief constable had a quiet word with the organisers as the officers they accompanied found it harder work looking out for naive and often geriatric churchgoers than just dealing with the drunks the godbotherers hoped to convert. No ugly incidents, thankfully, maybe because the ‘problem’ the evangelicals used as a funding bid never existed.

  3. AgentCormac says:

    Do you have to be constipated to take part in this kind of police action? From the expressions on their faces you might be forgiven for thinking so.

  4. barriejohn says:

    AC: They are “laying hold of the Throne of Grace” – and that is NOT a euphemism. The religious even have their own language.

  5. AgentCormac says:

    Gripping hold of the throne and straining, more like.

  6. asquith says:

    Does anyone remember Up The Arse Corner in Viz magazine? Looks like we’ve found a new entrants for that 🙂

  7. RW says:

    They overstepped a boundary. But those who refer to others as stupid are themselves lacking.

  8. barriejohn says:

    AC: God is VERY impressed by lots of grunting and groaning. Have you ever attended an evangelical prayer meeting?

    @asquith: Spot on! This is one of the best “unintentionally funny” photos that I have ever seen, especially if you zoom in:

  9. Cali Ron says:

    barriejohn: Don’t forget the crying and shouts of hallelujah. I especially like it when they do the “laying on of hands” where the recipient falls on the floor stricken with the holy spirit. However, my favorite is when an elder gives a message to the congregation in “tongues” and then another elder gives an interpretation. It’s like attending a bad high school play.

  10. barriejohn says:

    Cali Ron: Sadly, the Plymouth Brethren don’t go in for all that “tongues” and “laying on of hands” business, so I missed out there. Shame really, because it’s child’s stuff:

    (If you get fed up with it, make sure you watch the ending!)

  11. Robster says:

    This process reeks of desperation. If silly nonsense dogma, unrestrained lies, cannibal consumption of decomposed deities is not enough to attract victims to the belief system, get the police in.

  12. Cali Ron says:

    barriejohn: That’s starting them young! After watching that I had to go to the loo, too.

    I must confess, as a young teen I spoke in tongues, or did a very passable attempt at it. I can still do a very convincing fire and brimstone preacher and speak in “tongues” (strictly for humors sake). When your immersed in it through your first 17 years of life you “know” without really realizing it. Speaking in tongues wasn’t the only thing I did in “jesus name” that I’m embarrassed to admit.

  13. barriejohn says:

    Cali Ron: A sister in our assembly got involved with Pentecostals, and was forced out (for proselytising, of course, which is a bit ironic , but they just HAVE to convert everyone else to their way of thinking). I was asked to speak on “The Holy Spirit” at one meeting, and she walked out quite ostentatiously when I came to the subject of “The Baptism of the Spirit” (I’m sure that she quite enjoyed her five minutes of fame). I was set up, but that wasn’t the only time – they’re like the mafia; someone else can do the dirty work. The woman claimed – naturally – to have received “The Gift of Tongues” when she experienced “The Second Blessing”, but her kids still called on a nearby Christian neighbour and told her: “Mum used to sit in the kitchen practising speaking in tongues”. We all had a good laugh over that!

    For those who haven’t a clue what we are on about:

    How could you possibly fake that?

  14. Cali Ron says:

    Children and fools will believe anything if reinforced enough by someone trusted. It all seems so silly now.

  15. barriejohn says:

    Cali Ron: I think you’ve put your finger on it. I’m sure that, like me, you go over events again and again, and ask yourself: “How could I have been taken in so comprehensively by these people?”, but I think that some of us are either hard-wired, or conditioned (or both), to comply with authority figures when young, and, in a closed community especially, we don’t really question what we are told. I feel sure from what I saw that many children of Christians (and Christ knows how home-schooled kids view the world) have little idea what a tiny minority they belong to, or how they are viewed by most. This is one reason why Christians are so fond of large conventions and crusades, and I even heard leaders say that it was “encouraging” for young Christians to attend mass events, because they didn’t feel then that they were part of such a small minority,

  16. dennis says:

    “save the bull shit cop and just shot me was my first reaction.” then church and state hit me like a ton of bricks and I got mad as hell.

    o hell, still mad as hell.

  17. […] Earlier this month, Puerto Rico was in the news when police conducted a “faith” blitz on motorists. […]