Voting Poles Held at Church Locations

So today I voted but I have to go through a church to do it. Don't you think we deserve a place that is secular to vote at?

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Comment by Earther on November 11, 2010 at 4:42pm
Dogly, I am not sure because I just found it myself and scanned over it briefly. I thought it interesting though because it shows again how those in charge can disregard the importance of finding a medium ground or common grounds. It would be so simple to find a place other than a church to vote in, they do not do it on purpose. They want you to see how powerful they are, they want you to struggle or feel uncomfortable. Church has nothing to do with finding peace for all, just peace for some.
Comment by Dogly on November 11, 2010 at 11:29am
I'm sorry that I was impolite to Keith. It was not hate, but just impatience. If we don't protest, our rights will be abridged. I am angry that my taxes support the institutions that would burn us all at the stake if allowed. Though I don't call for martyrs for the cause, I do think a little passion to preserve our constitutional rights is appropriate. Sorry, I forget how to make a link to another web site. Here is the part of the FL Constitution to which I refer.
Florida Constitution, Aticle 1, SECTION 3. Religious freedom.--There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace or safety. No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.

Earther, I was unaware of the court decision you sited. It is about the U.S. Constitution, right? Not that of FL?
Comment by Earther on November 10, 2010 at 7:11pm
Comment by Keith R Araneo on November 10, 2010 at 6:46pm
I guess experienced was the wrong word. Witnessed is what I was going for. You were perfectly fine.
Comment by Earther on November 10, 2010 at 4:10pm
Keith, I do not know where you were treated with hate, I hope it is not from me or my postings.
Comment by Keith R Araneo on November 9, 2010 at 8:42pm
I've experienced more hate on this site than I have in my entire life with a secular upbringing in a predominately Mormon state. I respect your disagreement and hope you respect mine.
Comment by Earther on November 9, 2010 at 7:03pm
Grace and Dogly you have said it well and I appreciate it. Keith I don't agree that this situation does me or anyone else who objects to voting in a church "does no harm". Put it this way, how do you think having a jewish homecoming at a nazi death camp would go over? Even if the death camps are not being used as death camps anymore it may make you feel very ill. I am not an expert on mental and physical health but the semantics of church members carry far into the psyche of others. Body language, neglect, intimidation is all a part of peer pressure. It makes you feel a certain way. If you are uncomfortable in a situation there is no telling how long you will decide enough is enough. I know how much hate these people carry with them and then like hypocrits call themselves good people.
Comment by Dogly on November 9, 2010 at 1:10pm
Thank you, Grace and Earther. The FL constitution specifically forbids tax money going to churches for anything. The U.S. constitution has only the first Ammendment. I can't call it intimidation, but poll workers prayed at me 3 times when I went to vote. I was voting for an atheist in one election. If Keith lived in the bible belt, he might be more understanding of the constant religious clamor, and condemnation (though he IS from the land of the morons, oops, I mean Mormons). The schools in FL are terrible, yet they throw millions at churches. Why is my sincerity doubted?
Comment by Keith R Araneo on November 9, 2010 at 11:52am
If they're not handing out pamphlets supporting certain candidates or making him pray before entering the booth, the argument is entirely symbolic. I'm not saying he's wrong to let symbols bother him, I'm just not on the same page. That's all I was trying to get at.
Comment by Grace Fitzpatrick on November 9, 2010 at 8:27am
I would imagine he's going to invoke the ole First Amendment - the separation of church and state clause. I know I would. Some people may be driven away from voting in a church instead of a more neutral location. Not just atheists, but I can see that even people of faith might not want to go into a church that is not their own to vote. I don't see a Muslim wanting to go into a christian church to vote and I don't see a christian wanting to go into a mosque or a Buddhist temple to vote. In a way, it's a form of intimidation forcing people to go into a place where they have a legitimate reason to be uncomfortable. Many churches tell to their members how to vote and some can be quite vocal about it. If a church strongly supports one candidate over another, voters may feel like that polling station is for one candidate and not another.

In 2004, in Virginia and other places in the south, black voters where chased away from the polling stations at gunpoint. I have heard of a number of violations of voting rights (mainly committed by Republicans) in this election as well.

People should be free to vote without having to go somewhere that makes them feel really uncomfortable like going into a church that is not their own. I imagine a lot of Protestants might feel a little intimidated being surrounded with crucifixes and statutes of Jesus holding open his autopsied heart in a Catholic church.

The fact is, even though they are not supposed to be support political candidates to keep their non profit status, they get away with it all the time. They are not neutral locations where everyone feels comfortable to vote as they please. Just having a polling station in a church which has strongly supported a political candidate could be seen as way of influencing the election.

What's wrong with keeping polling stations in neutral locations like libraries, courthouses, public schools and now the VA hospitals? Heck, even the post office is a better location than a church. I can see why this guy is upset. He has a right not to go into a religious institution if he doesn't want to. By making his polling station in a church, he's being forced into a religious situation ( and just being in a church qualifies as an objectionable religious experience for some) that he doesn't want to be in. I can see church members using the fact their church is a polling station as a way to recruit members. While it is illegal to hand out pamphlets supporting candidates, I don't think it is to stand outside a polling station handing out religious pamphlets nor can anyone stop members from hanging about their own church talking about god.

The fact is, he and probably others - even people of faith, may feel intimidated, uncomfortable or influenced to vote in a certain way by the polling station being located in a church. Voting is a freedom granted to all law abiding Americans 18 and over. Intimidation and freedom do not belong in the same sentence. This guy does not want to cross the doorway into a church. The Constitution guarantees him this right. Forcing him to vote in a church in a small way takes away his religious freedom not to go into a church or even a particular church if he doesn't want to. If he wants to vote, he has to go into this church and that's not right. He shouldn't have this small amount of religion forced upon him against his will.

Fortunately, I've never lived in a backwards place where they held elections in non government buildings. Get with the program Florida. You're standing behind West Virginia in your progressiveness this area.



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