Last July, police officers in Puerto Rico set up a roadblock for drivers. But instead of administering sobriety tests or checking for people driving without their licenses, they preached and distributed religious propaganda. It was a completely illegal thing for the government to do and it led to a formal complaint by the Ateistas de Puerto Rico against the Police Department of Barceloneta City.
Things haven’t gotten any better, it seems. This week, the Puerto Rico Police held an event “Proclaiming the Favorable Year of the Lord” with Christian singer Samuel Hernández as the headliner.
The flyer even quotes Isaiah 61:1 at the very bottom, in case you weren’t certain this was pushing Christianity.
If you’re wondering why the state police would sponsor a religious event… you’re not alone. The Humanistas Seculares de Puerto Rico issued this statement, reminding people that this is hardly the first example of the sort:
“While its not clear if public funds were designated for this sectarian activity, we suspect that the famed christian singer doesn’t do free work” said Eva Quiñones, HuSe’s president.
In addition to this recent violation to the separation of church and state and the establishment prohibition, the organization denounced that the Police has a constant practice of questionable acts that promote the christian faith.
“Let’s remember the incidents with the police officers praying to the homeless while on duty, the ascent of 447 agents to sergeants in an official act carried out in the church ‘Fuente de Agua Viva’ in Carolina, the blockades of faith carried out by the municipal police of Santa Isabel and Barceloneta with the backing of the state Police, the use of public funds for the promotion of religion displaying christian images in multiple marketing forms, activities and even in the command centers of the police” expressed Quiñones.
Puerto Rico’s Civil Rights Commission is investigating the problem. But if the previous incidents weren’t enough to put a stop to it, it’s hard to imagine this one will make a difference.