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Discrimination for lack of religion in LE?

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  • Discrimination for lack of religion in LE?

    Im looking for a career in law enforcement, and I have noticed that religion seems to be a very important thing in the LE community. I myself do not believe in religion or any higher power of sort. I certainly respect everyone elses beliefs, but I feel as if I were to discuss my beliefs or lack thereof, that I would be treated unfairly since the majority of the population is religious. Would I be better off being completely honest about it, and hope that people dont judge me solely on that, or just avoid the subject completely?

  • #2
    Originally posted by FMedina View Post
    Im looking for a career in law enforcement, and I have noticed that religion seems to be a very important thing in the LE community.
    I couldn't get past this part of your post. I do not think I have ever had a conversation about religion with any co-worker in any LE job I've ever had. I highly doubt you will find yourself in a situation where anyone cares what you believe.

    Now, if you start throwing your religion (or lack thereof) in people's faces and start making statements about your God is bigger than their God, or that there is no God, then you may create a problem for yourself. Short answer, religion isn't really a great work-conversation topic unless you know your co-worker really well. People get sensitive about it and you can really &^&* someone off.
    Before science, it was believed that autumn was caused by Chuck Norris simultaneously roundhouse kicking every tree on the planet.

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    • #3
      I certainly do not throw it in peoples faces, and absolutely do not bring it up unless someone is really interested in what I believe. Maybe I am thinking that it is a bigger deal than it really is, but I see several mentions of god and christianity on the forums, bible quotes in signatures, etc... and thought that I may be looked down upon for what I believe, if they were to ever find out.

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      • #4
        It's honestly a non-issue, unless you make it one. We talk about everything -- Who got laid the night before, who's going to the Superbowl, finding out when deer season opens, funny calls that we've been on, who's met their quota for warrants served, who's patrolling which zone, who's seen what movie... Just about anything and everything but religion.

        I've not been asked anything at all about what my beliefs are, other than what was briefly touched upon during the psych eval. That's it. That's all.
        Sure, that badge will get you midgets, but those midgets will get that badge!

        The more I learn about people, the more I prefer the company of my dogs.

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        • #5
          There are 2 things you just don't want to talk about with people if you want to keep a smooth work relationship. Religion, and Politics.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by LINY View Post
            There are 2 things you just don't want to talk about with people if you want to keep a smooth work relationship. Religion, and Politics.
            I agree, but we all talk about politics, so it really is a non issue. I have to say religion as never come up...
            Be safe pulling back into the thread...
            http://infidelswithhonor.com/

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            • #7
              Originally posted by FMedina View Post
              I certainly respect everyone elses beliefs...
              Then you will do fine.

              As others have said above, politics and religion should be avoided in any polite conversation. When you have worked with a person for a while and if the two of you are comfortable with such a conversation, then that is acceptable.

              The only issues I have noticed (keep in mind I am near the bible belt) are that:

              1). Some officers are rather snippy if you are not some type of baptist or fundamentalist Christian. Of course, that can be avoided if you simply keep your opinions to yourself. Unfortunately I have had a couple of people who worked around me who were so obnoxious in their attempts to "save" everyone that I eventually had to tell them to get bent. True, I am not friends with those people, but I probably wouldn't have been anyways.

              2). If you really want to have some fun, tell everyone you are a Muslim. I find that most of the bumpkins I work around would rather be near an Atheist than a Muslim. So if anyone is obnoxious towards you, (as in trying to force their beliefs down your throat) be sure to pull out a copy of the Koran while you are pulling a guard duty with them.
              Last edited by BaldOldWhiteGuy; 02-17-2010, 08:47 PM.
              Lighten up Francis!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by FMedina View Post
                Im looking for a career in law enforcement, and I have noticed that religion seems to be a very important thing in the LE community. I myself do not believe in religion or any higher power of sort. I certainly respect everyone elses beliefs, but I feel as if I were to discuss my beliefs or lack thereof, that I would be treated unfairly since the majority of the population is religious. Would I be better off being completely honest about it, and hope that people dont judge me solely on that, or just avoid the subject completely?
                To me you seem to be one of those confrontational anti-religious people. You probably walk into a bar and start talking about why you don't go to church. You like arguing, and you want to impress people with all of the logic behind you not believing.

                Nobody cares. Believe me, I don't attend church and really am not religious at all, yet I have worked in 3 different law enforcement agencies with no issues. It even helps since I don't need to take any religious holidays or holy days off from work.
                What is Perseverance?
                -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
                -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
                -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


                BOP - BPA - ICE

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                • #9
                  I have had an occasional problem with this kind of thing. I've had a few partners who were hard line religious believers. Some of these insisted upon responding to radio calls and asking people to pray with them, routinely tried to hand out religious materials, tried to give referrals to local churches/ ministers, tried to provide religious counseling at domestic violence calls, etc. I've also seen a few official Department advertisements for "Police/Community Interfaith Prayer Days", the "Chief of Police's Religious Forum", etc.

                  My typical response is to remind officers that the U.S. Constitution mandates a separation of church and state and that it is not appropriate for a police officer to use his office to force his religious beliefs upon others. This is especially true since we have all sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution. I would think that this point would be clear to anybody who has ever taken a high school government or civics class.

                  Many of these officers seemed to believe that I was the anti-Christ. This is not the case. I've carefully examined myself in the mirror and have never noticed any "666" birthmarks, horns growing upon my skull, a red devil's tail, cloven hooves, etc.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Capo di Cop View Post
                    My typical response is to remind officers that the U.S. Constitution mandates a separation of church and state and that it is not appropriate for a police officer to use his office to force his religious beliefs upon others. )
                    Actually it doesn't....it simpy states the FEDERAL government will have no litmus test as far as religious belief to hold office.

                    What you are speaking of is from a dissenting opinion in a USSC case.

                    I do agree no LEO should force their beliefs on anyone else...nor should an atheist
                    A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ray8285 View Post
                      I do agree no LEO should force their beliefs on anyone else...nor should an atheist
                      ^^THIS!^^
                      Sure, that badge will get you midgets, but those midgets will get that badge!

                      The more I learn about people, the more I prefer the company of my dogs.

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                      • #12
                        For every officer that is religious there is another one who doesn't give a crap. It's not an issue. The best way to keep it from being an issue is to not discuss religion at work.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ray8285 View Post
                          Actually it doesn't....it simpy states the FEDERAL government will have no litmus test as far as religious belief to hold office.

                          What you are speaking of is from a dissenting opinion in a USSC case.

                          I do agree no LEO should force their beliefs on anyone else...nor should an atheist

                          I actually have a good deal of legal expertise in this area. There are two religion clauses in the First Amendment alone. While these were originally intended to restrict the actions of the Federal government, they were selectively incorporated via the substantive due process clause of the 14th Amendment and are now universally held to be applicable against state and local governments. I can cite numerous cases on point if you are really interested.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Capo di Cop View Post
                            I actually have a good deal of legal expertise in this area. There are two religion clauses in the First Amendment alone. While these were originally intended to restrict the actions of the Federal government, they were selectively incorporated via the substantive due process clause of the 14th Amendment and are now universally held to be applicable against state and local governments. I can cite numerous cases on point if you are really interested.
                            Sure..go ahead...always wanting to learn new things...the original amendment still does not have a seperation, it speaks of abridgement, not allowing the government to control religion nor requiring belonging to a specific religion in order to hold office.

                            14th means the states have to follow those rights as well..no where does the 14th mention seperation of church from state. I believe it was Justice Black who wrote the dissenting opinion in the late 1880's which first mentioned seperation.
                            A Veteran is someone who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America, for an amount up to, and including their life. That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ray8285 View Post
                              Sure..go ahead...always wanting to learn new things...

                              I've been trying to think of a short way to say this but there ain't none. I think that the shortest way to do this would be to look at what Wikipedia has to say about the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Look at the following link under the Establishment of Religion heading:

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_A...s_Constitution


                              The primary test used to determine whether an Establishment Clause problem exists is the three part test used in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602. Not surprisingly, this test is generally referred to as the "Lemon Test". First, the government's action must have a secular purpose. Second, the government's action must not have a principle of primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion. Third, the government's action must not result in an excessive government entanglement with religion.

                              A violation of any single prong of the three part Lemon Test is sufficient to render a government action unconstitutional as a violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.

                              Another major test used to determine whether an Establishment Clause violation exists was established in Justice O'Connor's concurring opinion in Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668. This test essentially asks if a reasonable person would conclude that the government was endorsing religion. An answer of "yes" under this test indicates that there is an Establishment Clause violation.

                              Some appellate courts have occasionally used a sort of hybrid test whereby the Endorsement Test is used to determine if the first prong of the Lemon Test was violated. Under the hybrid approach, the second and third prongs of the Lemon Test remain as discussed above.

                              I hope that this at least conveys the broad outlines of the issue. Prior to writing this e-mail, I looked through some of my law books for a couple of quick references. I realized that I have an entire shelf devoted exclusively to First Amendment religious issues. I have another shelf devoted to First Amendment speech issues, association issues, etc. Suffice it to say, this issue is so complex that the average attorney lacks any real expertise in the area.

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