Tag Archives: voting

Is Your Polling Place In A Church?

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image of a Vote Here SignElection Day is Tuesday and many of us still travel to a polling place to cast our ballots in person. In many communities the polling place is located inside a church. It is not illegal to have voting in a church but the location still needs to meet election laws such as having no electioneering materials within a proscribed voting zone. What should you look for and what should you do to make sure a church follows the rules?
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Secular Majority, Its Time Has Come

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logo for Secular MajorityToday marks the opening of the Secular Majority project. Secular Majority is ‘an independent, non-partisan, grassroots network of organizers, activists, and voters with the mission of identifying, supporting, and aiding in the election of qualified candidates committed to secular government and civic equality for Secular Americans’. The time has come to have an independent grassroots group who’s goal is to let secular voters know which candidates support their values.
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Christian Group Doesn’t Want You To Vote

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image of Ohio Christian Alliance President Chris Long
Ohio Christian Alliance President Chris Long – a failed political candidate who wants to keep you from voting because – RELIGION!!

It is well known that some fundamentalist Christians, like their Muslim counterparts, The Taliban, don’t want democracy. They want to impose biblical law as the law of the land and be able to opt out of any laws that ‘conflict’ with their religious beliefs. The Ohio Christian Alliance is one such group. They want to see photo IDs be mandated for voting in Ohio while making it harder in general to vote. It seems their agenda is really typical undemocratic conservatism covered with fake religious trappings.
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Voting Locations In Churches Cross Separation Line

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image of Exterior view of a Church used as polling location, showing a anti-abortion sign
Exterior view of a Church used as polling location, showing a anti-abortion sign

While checking out my hometown newspaper Monday I found a listing of the voting locations for the Presidential election on Tuesday November 6th. The thing that bothered me is a majority of the voting locations are located in churches. Back when I was a kid the majority were in schools. I can understand why they don’t have them in the schools today but having them in churches is not a good idea either for a government based on secular principles.
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Some bright spots in 2006 elections

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By now you know that the Democratic party won control of the US House and possibly won control of the US Senate as result of the 2006 midterm elections.

There were some bright spots for those of us who support separation of church and state.

Here in Ohio, Deborah Owens Fink, the state school board member who was leader of the movement to force Intelligent Design into Ohio public schools, lost her election for another term. She had only 29% of the votes.

Then of course J. Kenneth Blackwell, who had extreme religious conservative views, lost the Ohio governorship. You can view the exit poll here.

In Indiana, Rep. James Hostettler (R-IN) who introduced the “Public Expression of Religion Act” that was passed as the “Veterans’ Memorials, Boy Scouts, Public Seals, and Other Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act of 2006”, lost his House seat tonight. The law is now in the Senate as S.3696. (see previous post American Legion backs law in attempt to stifle religious dissent)

The open seats of former House members Mark Foley and Tom Delay passed into Democratic hands.

Although same-sex marriage ballot initiatives passed in most all states where it was on the ballot (Arizona being the exception), South Dakota voters rejected a draconian anti-abortion bill that had been signed into law in March. The law had been passed in an effort to challenge Roe v. Wade. The hope being that someone would file a lawsuit and the case would go to the US Supreme Court and its conservative majority.

The only sour note is that some of the Democrats who won on Tuesday are known as religious conservatives, however this way is better than an entire party pandering to the religious right.

Christian victims? Give me a break

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My heart is in the sanctity of life and marriage and values and defense against terrorism. I support what the president’s doing in Iraq, and if they’re spending too much money, then I’ll let someone else yell about that. But this president — it’s like this Mark Foley thing — that’s not going to discourage any evangelicals I know from voting. We lived through Bill Clinton, and this situation with Foley is minuscule in comparison. So, I really think it’s making a mountain out of a molehill.

Rev. Jerry Falwell on CNN’s The Situation Room 11/02/2006

Yes, Rev. Falwell, defender of the sanctity of life, marriage, and values, doesn’t seem to have a problem with child abuse.

It isn’t real surprising that Falwell said what he did. You can predict what a religious leader will say by just looking at the politics of the object he/she is discussing. I am pretty sure Falwell would put former Congressman Foley’s actions in proper context had Foley been a Democrat.

That is a big reason the current special relationship that religious conservatives and Republicans proves the point that church and state should be separate. Politics not only can corrupt a person but can corrupt your religion. I mean if your political values can allow you to think that child abuse is less of a moral problem than a blow job then you might need some remedial religion classes.

Of course hypocrisy isn’t the only problem with the mixing of religion and politics.

Last month, my local paper did their obligatory conservative-Christians-as victims election season report as if it were a new trend. Conservative Christians feel put upon because their anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-religious freedom, anti-science bigotry isn’t shared by everyone.

“The Christian majority is sick and tired of things like same-sex marriage and the (removal of the) Ten Commandments in the court- house,” he said. “Two people get upset, and the ACLU comes in. People are tired of things like one guy with a lawyer changing the entire face of a government building because of the Ten Commandments. What the hell was it hurting?”

Bob Burney, who hosts a Christian radio call-in program on WRFD (880 AM) in Columbus, hears the complaint a lot.

“It’s the clash of two worldviews,” he said. “Things have been declared to be unconstitutional that have been constitutional for 200 years,” he said. “Evangelical Christians are energized by their very strong perception that those on the left want to remove the Godly heritage that we have and move to a completely secular state.”

From “Enough was enough” Columbus Dispatch 10/09/2006

I wrote a letter to the editor about the article and it was published on October 18th:

I wanted to comment on the Oct. 9 Dispatch article “Enough was enough.” It doesn’t surprise me that conservative Christians would vote for a candidate solely on religious beliefs. We have some voters who choose a candidate simply because they recognize the name of the person on the ballot or because some relative served years before.

Unfortunately, atheists and secular humanists such as myself don’t have that luxury. Since the conservative Christians have invaded the political process, we have a de facto establishment of religion and no atheist or secular humanist candidate can pass the religious test that group has put in place. We have to vote for the whole package that a particular candidate brings into the campaign.

The New York Times reported on Oct. 8 that, since 1989, religious groups have received more than 200 special arrangements, protections or exemptions in congressional legislation, on topics from pensions to immigration to land use to exemptions from federal employment-discrimination laws.

These special arrangements also have come from winning court decisions and federal-agency rule changes. Ninety-eight percent of the special treatment goes to Christian groups. As The Times put it, “As a result of these special breaks, religious organizations of all faiths stand in a position that American businesses — and the thousands of nonprofit groups without that ‘religious’ label — can only envy.”

So forgive me if I don’t shed a tear the next time I hear the myth that conservative Christians are under siege.

Removing the 10 Commandments from public buildings promotes equality by removing the religious bigotry inherent in the Decalogue. Allowing gays to marry gives them the chance to formally share in what it means to commit to the one you love and removes the 2nd class status that comes from not being allowed.

Conservative Christians use politics to force their subjective “values” on others. Politics should be about doing the best for the most people. It should be about promoting shared values that have little to no negative impact on others.