Saturday, December 19, 2009

That Religious Guy: Rosaries and Gangs?

Here's an editorial I wrote for (I revised it a little but it will mainly appear the same on the Web site.) :

..... The rosary is a Roman Catholic devotion that some say originated from St. Dominic, who had been given this gift by the Virgin Mary. To many, these simple beads and a crucifix are a sign of personal piety and veneration of the Blessed Mother and her Son. To police officers and school administrators in South Lake Tahoe, California, the rosary is considered a "gang sign."

..... Apparently on Wednesday, a group of predominantly male and Latino students were apprehended by a South Tahoe High School resource officer for reportedly using rosaries as gang affiliation. All the rosaries were confiscated and the students were photographed and their pictures put on a database. Some of the young men had previous disciplinary problems and so the belief that they were misusing their religious articles seemed valid. In our opinion, however, South Tahoe High School was wrong and was violating religious freedoms.

..... This little episode, however, caused quite a stir on campus as an organized students protest took place against the administration's actions. Word had spread through the electronic grapevine of a demonstration complete with signs and chanting. The atmosphere at 9 am Friday in the quad was one filled with banners reading "Stop Discrimination" and phrases of "We are one" being spoken throughout the crowds. Many were complaining that teachers were unfairly taking rosaries away from students, intolerable acts indeed.

..... If the rosaries at South Tahoe High were really being used as gang signs, why would the student population go to great lengths to show their displeasure and side with the Latino students? One student even considered it racial profiling since the administration seemed to be only selecting minority students for confiscation. It seems that the school and police officers in that area misconstrued devotion for deviance. The officers justified their policy because adult gang members had confessed to using rosaries as identifiable signs.

..... Granted that there may be a chance that some teens use rosaries as gang signs, school administrators, however, shouldn't see this sacred symbol as one of violence. Students at South Tahoe are now being encouraged to wear their rosaries under their shirts as a matter of safety. This does not attack the problem, but only reinforces the mentality that rosaries should now be associated with red shoelaces and Old English lettering. If anything, by asking students to hide their rosaries, this is a way for administrators to effectively keep religion off school grounds.

..... For Catholics, we must take offense to this since the Blessed Mother is one of our greatest guides in life. Her rosary is a sign of community, not gangs. Some Catholics may not like the practice of wearing rosaries because of the belief that it should be used for devotion not decoration, but many people wear rosaries as an expression of faith, a faith meant to be seen not hidden.

- Jeremy Dela Cruz

P.S. I guess we should start worrying about nuns with guns!


  1. nuns with guns a little too far but funny i guess try to be more religious than infusing comedy into religious ideas and people but overall a goood "story"

  2. Umm who ever said humor and religion can't coexist?

    Religion doesn't just consist of boring homilies and wooden pews after all.

  3. lol, i happen to love the nuns with guns! :D


  5. I'm with you brother on wearing rosaries as a sign of faith! I Make them, wear them and pray them.