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Atheist cop sues after being demoted for refusing to pray

Posted by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 8:44 PM
  • 18 Replies

Atheist cop sues after being demoted to car washer for refusing to pray


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.

“When Department supervisors engage in these unconstitutional activities, they subject the officers under their command to unwelcome indoctrination and religious messages, creating a tense and hostile work environment and harming the community as a whole by sending a divisive message of religious favoritism for those who adhere to the supervisors’ preferred faith,” the Puerto Rico chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union explained in court documents.

The complaint adds that Mendez is “an open atheist, and as such, does not subscribe to the Christian faith or any other religious doctrine.”

“He values his right to adopt no religious beliefs as much as others surely value their right to follow a particular faith,” it goes on. “He is deeply offended by and objects to the Defendants’ official religious practices because these practices promote beliefs with which he does not agree. Plaintiff further objects to these practices because they are religiously coercive in that they pressure him to participate in prayer and worship.”

The filing alleges that former police commander Guillermo Calixto-Rodríguez ordered Mendez to abandon a formation of fellow officers after Mendez voiced opposition to giving a Christian prayer. “As Plaintiff was walking away, Defendant Calixto-Rodríguez shouted that Plaintiff should stop and stand still until the prayer was finished,” the complaint adds. “Then, in front of the entire formation, Defendant Guillermo Calixto-Rodríguez shouted that Plaintiff was standing apart from everyone else because ‘he doesn’t believe in what we believe.’ Plaintiff felt humiliated and turned his back to the formation until the prayer, which was explicitly Christian, ended.”

It goes on to say the incident reduced Mendez to tears, and he vowed to raise the issue with a higher authority. When he did, he was allegedly reassigned to washing cars and relaying messages, often times in the dead of night or in the hottest hours of the afternoon. He also claims that his weekly day off has since been “capriciously denied” without any justification.

“Government agencies cannot require employees to take part in prayer in their workplace,” William Ramirez, executive director of the ACLU of Puerto Rico, said in an advisory. “To do so runs afoul of one of the great pillars of both the U.S. Constitution and the Puerto Rico Constitution, which mandate separation of church and state.”
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by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 8:44 PM
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Replies (1-10):
NewMom11222011
by Bronze Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 9:10 PM
3 moms liked this

Inappropriate and unconstitutional and bound to be remedied in court is my first inclination.

Mama2Spencerninja

Arroree
by Ruby Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 9:55 PM


Yep

Quoting NewMom11222011:

Inappropriate and unconstitutional and bound to be remedied in court is my first inclination.



brookiecookie87
by Platinum Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 10:18 PM


I hope he wins before he ends up fired.

Quoting NewMom11222011:

Inappropriate and unconstitutional and bound to be remedied in court is my first inclination.



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If they enforced bank regulations like they do park rules, we wouldn't be in this mess

Euphoric
by Thumper kid spanks on Mar. 8, 2013 at 10:31 PM

 Ugh

glitterteaz
by Ruby Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 10:33 PM
1 mom liked this

hope he wins they violated his rights and bullied him

Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Mar. 8, 2013 at 10:55 PM


Quoting squeekers:

 if it was in this country, I'd say a lawsuit was on the way. However in PR, it'll never happen.

Puerto Rico is part of the US. US Federal and Constitutional law apply there

..MoonShine..
by Redwood Witch on Mar. 8, 2013 at 10:57 PM
There is separation of church and state even in the PR Constitution.

Quoting squeekers:

 if it was in this country, I'd say a lawsuit was on the way. However in PR, it'll never happen.

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Goodwoman614
by Satan on Mar. 9, 2013 at 12:35 AM



Quoting Sekirei:


Quoting squeekers:

 if it was in this country, I'd say a lawsuit was on the way. However in PR, it'll never happen.

Puerto Rico is part of the US. US Federal and Constitutional law apply there

Yes. 


Goodwoman614
by Satan on Mar. 9, 2013 at 12:35 AM

BUMP!

LindaClement
by Linda on Mar. 9, 2013 at 12:39 AM

If praying wasn't part of the job offer, or contract, he cannot be penalized for refusing.

Everything else is simple oppression.

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