In a recent survey conducted by El Nuevo Dia, public safety was ranked as the most worrisome issue facing the island. The economy, specifically unemployment, came in second. It was also revealed that nearly all of those surveyed have little or no trust in government institutions. The situation has become so dire that an increasing number of people are turning towards the church for a solution. Most believe the island is undergoing a social crisis, where morals and values have gone out the window. As 85% of Puerto Ricans profess to be Catholics, having the church intervene on societal issues is nothing anomalous. On numerous occasions, such as the student strike at the University of Puerto Rico as well as some labor strikes, the church has been called to intervene and serve as a mediator.
Puerto Rico has one of the highest concentration of churches per square mile in the world. Religion has exerted a huge influence in the island's culture and society, calling into question the existence the separation of church and state. The exact number of those who are actively practicing (i.e those who regularly attend church services) their religion is unknown. However, just from my observations, the majority of those who do go to church belong to a graying population. This phenomenon is also witnessed on the mainland U.S, where there is a notable decrease of church attendance amongst the younger generation. While listening to a brilliant debate on National Public Radio over the question, "Would the World Be a Better Place Without Religion?" I couldn't help but ponder over many of the excellent points which both sides were making.
A descendant of Charles Darwin was arguing in favor of this motion. In his closing statement, he argued that most societies with a highly religious population experience the most violence and have a high level of teenage pregnancies. He used the U.S as an example during the debate, but he could have easily used Puerto Rico as an example as well. On the other hand, a rabbi from the opposing