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Humanists Concerned About Voting

Posted by libhom Sunday, February 03, 2008

From an American Humanist Association email:

Please vote in your primary and help raise your Humanist voice in the public square! This is important even though we Humanists don't always have a chance to vote our values. Often we're presented with less-than-ideal options. But such civic participation is critical if we are to develop the influence we need to make a difference in the public debate on the issues that matter most.

And in a time like this, when we see violations of church-state separation sweeping through every level of government, this election offers us an opportunity to make a difference. In particular, we're asking you to pay special attention to your local polling place.

If you are one of many Humanists whose polling place is in a church, synagogue or temple, please take notes on your experience and e-mail them to our Appignani Humanist Legal Center coordinator Bob Ritter at britter@americanhumanist.org.

When houses of worship are used as polling places, obvious religious symbols within the voting area are supposed to be covered up so that no voter feels intimidated or that she or he is an outsider. Also, church leaders and members are forbidden to proselytize at the polls. Yet we have reason to believe that these rules aren't always being followed.

Let's make sure everyone has the right to vote their own conscience, free from religious coercion. Share with the AHA your observations, any religious statements that you heard by poll workers or any one affiliated with the church, and any pictures you may have taken of outside or inside the polling area (pictures inside the polling room probably have to be taken the day before or after the election). Send them to Bob Ritter at britter@americanhumanist.org. We would also suggest that you call your supervisor of elections to request that any religious signs and/or icons be covered up.

4 comments

  1. My polling place is in a church, and they don't cover up the crosses, etc. I wasn't even aware that they were supposed to. I'm an atheist, but I gotta admit it doesn't bother me to vote in a church surrounded by religious trappings. I can see how it might disturb others, though.

    Far more disturbing to me is the fact that a GOP wingnut jackass in my state (Florida) used churches to place an anti-gay proposed amendment on the ballot for November. He would have never gathered the necessary signatures without mobilizing churches. (Details on my blog, if you're interested.)

    I checked into it, and apparently it's legal to use churches to mobilize support for a political issue, but illegal to mobilize support for a particular candidate. Personally, I don't get that distinction. Either churches are apolitical, tax-exempt organizations, or they're not. I think we know which they are.

     
  2. This is a very important post because its such a critical way to make a point..that church and state are to be seperate..PERIOD. If churches in their "kindness and ability" offer to become polling places - wonderful and i mean that..BUT out of respect YES the rules ought to be followed ! Its time for the people to push back precisely to raise the level of consciousness, to make a point , that sure religion is just DANDY BUT ..not to mingle into our public process.

    So a kind and firm gentle reminder of CIVICs is very much in order. IF the fundie WACKJOBS had not taken us to such extremes over the last couple of decades , we would not need to do this..BUT we seriously DO NEED TO PUSH BACK. NO MORE cowtowing..to the Dobson's or too even the moderates..its just the rules..they way it was civically intended to be..

    WE NEED TO RAISE OUR VOICES - NOW and and every day, but particularly regarding our elections..this and E VOTING..great post GLH !

    oh cool on the blogswarm badge I see you got it done..good job ! YAY TEAM !

     
  3. libhom Says:
  4. Thanks pp

    Can we list Some Notes on Living on the Blogswarm page?

    http://march19-blogswarm.blogspot.com/

     
  5. i vote in not just a church, but an evangelical near-megachurch (it's small by megachurch standards, but clearly what they're aiming at)

    voting goes on in the gym, and actually there is nothing prominently Xian about the gym...when we went in to vote yesteday, one of the poll workers had the daily paper open to a page with a big Ron Paul ad on it, tho...not that it made a lot of difference in the outcome!

     

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