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Election polls at churches

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konerko14
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I know a lot of the locations for this years elections took place at churches. There seem to be a few problems with allowing this to happen, such as: 1) contradicts church and state separation, 2) biased location that could persuade certain individuals to vote a certain way(the weak-minded at least), 3) for an atheist or supporter of a different religion, it makes the experience of visiting such a place to be extremely discomforting.

Heres one more reason why churches will probably not be voting polls in the future: a man is suing the govt over this issue: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061207/ap_on_...recinct_lawsuit

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I voted in a Masonic temple. It was creepy.

Anyway, because the law making a certain place a polling location doesn't intend a religious bias, it will probably come out that it's okay to use a church as a polling location. The law sometimes works all backwards like that. However, there might be an issue in this particular lawsuit about the presence of the anti-abortion posters. Those might actually have been inviolation of that law that says you can't have political advertising of any kind on or in a polling place. I can see a court making a ruling that further restricts the freedom of speech of private citizens (like churches) by limiting what they can have on display when the building is being used as a polling location.

Personally, I'm adverse to using any private property as a public polling place. But on the other hand, if we had a small government which owned only the buildings 'neccessary and proper' for the execution of the proper functions of government, some citizens might have to travel many, many miles to get to a public facility for voting. They really need to figure out secure internet voting.

-Q

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I voted at a church for the '04 election. If you're an atheist, there's really no reason to be scared of going into what is ultimately just a big stack of bricks. It's not like you're a Muslim, where you're afraid you'll burn in Hell for entering a Catholic church.

I don't know...last time I had holy water splashed on me and it burnt like a son of a.... ;)

I am not familiar with that church. What is it about?

Not really a church. A protestent fraternal organization descended from the knights templar. Belief in god is required but no particular one. Jews I know are welcome. Not sure about others.

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You call it Protestant, then go on to say that Jews are welcome.

And not all lodges require belief in God. Some will admit you for belief in science or nature. I've actually considered trying to find such a lodge and join it. The Masons are the ultimate social network. If you want a job and a Mason finds out that you are also a Mason, that automatically puts you ahead of the rest of the applicants.

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You call it Protestant, then go on to say that Jews are welcome.

And not all lodges require belief in God. Some will admit you for belief in science or nature. I've actually considered trying to find such a lodge and join it. The Masons are the ultimate social network. If you want a job and a Mason finds out that you are also a Mason, that automatically puts you ahead of the rest of the applicants.

Sorry...I meant to say predominantly protestant. I did not know that about science. I read the oath one must take to join and it explicitly stated a belief in god. Maybe they have a work around where scinece and nature are your "god"?

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Modern Masonry claims to be nondenominational and non-religious, but it is still at its heart a mystical fraternity, based on the power of ritual and the sanctity of brotherhood. And they do require belief in a 'Supreme Being.' For a totally surreal interpretation of Freemasonry, see Matthew Barney's film Cremaster 3 (the whole thing, not just the The Order segment available on DVD).

The reason I found voting in a Masonic temple creepy is because of the association of Freemasonry with behind-the-curtain political power and intrigue. It gives the appearence that my vote is somehow subject to approval by the unseen powers that be. Stuff and nonsense, I know, but I never claimed my creepedoutedness* was reasonable. <grin>

-Q

* I just wrote a five hour Contracts exam. I ran out of good words.

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The Masons don't specifically require a belief in God, but in some sort of "Supreme Being." Depending on how a particular lodge interprets it, science/nature or reason/logic could fill that requirement.

Yeah, I can understand why voting at a Masonic lodge is creepy, given all the conspiracy theories about them. Then again, I'm pretty sure that all those conspiracy theories are absolute crap. I think it would be cool to be a Mason if, for no other reason, I would be in the company of many of my favorite historical figures.

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Anyway, because the law making a certain place a polling location doesn't intend a religious bias, it will probably come out that it's okay to use a church as a polling location.

It seems biased to me. You go into a place called "Baptist Church" or "st john newman catholic church", isnt that a religious bias?

I think the average person who walks into a church immediately starts to think, "I better not do anything "bad" or something that will make god mad." So in effect they vote anti-abortion and whatever else that may support the common views of the church people.

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It seems biased to me. You go into a place called "Baptist Church" or "st john newman catholic church", isnt that a religious bias?

Not at all. The law that selects polling places is (as far as I know) totally neutral with regard to churches. A law that specifically excluded churches as unsuitable for polling would harbor an anti-religious bias, by selecting a specific ideology and targetting it. Government should ignore private beliefs to the greatest extent possible.

I think the average person who walks into a church immediately starts to think, "I better not do anything "bad" or something that will make god mad." So in effect they vote anti-abortion and whatever else that may support the common views of the church people.

I think you dramatically underestimate the mental resilience of the 'average person'. Besides which, if you are concerned that people will simply vote the contents of their immediate environment, why be worried specifically about religion? Why not think that people who vote in a public school will be influenced to oppose vouchers, or support school bond issues because the school grounds are so unkempt? The bottom line is that you either accept the idea that the average man can vote his own intentions or you don't. If you accept that, then voting in a church building isn't a big deal. And if you don't, then why support voting at all?

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The law that selects polling places is (as far as I know) totally neutral with regard to churches. A law that specifically excluded churches as unsuitable for polling would harbor an anti-religious bias, by selecting a specific ideology and targetting it. Government should ignore private beliefs to the greatest extent possible.
I totally oppose religions of any kind, so obviously churches as polling places have to be excluded as a violation of my right to not have to deal with religion in any way, shape, or form. But I also oppose public schools, and I am horrified and mortified at having to enter a public, non-profit, tax supported school in order to exercise my right to vote. I strenuously opposed the venue of the first polling place that I forced (against my will) to vote in, a Jehovah's Witness private school (what a bunch of crazies!!). It is also not the proper function of government to be fighting fires, and I hate it when I have to vote at a fire station because it reminds me of the taxes that I have to pay and the private fire-fighting contracts that have been thwarted by law. I really wanted them to have the elections conducted at the local grocery store, but for some reason I don't understand, the store wasn't willing to suspend meat sales that day and set up the polling booths in the meat locker. I suppose even if they could have worked it out, there would be some damn vegetarian complaining about having to vote in a charnel house. The only solution is to have nothing but online voting. Thank god there aren't Luddites who oppose the internet.
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:o You kid, David! But, come to think of it, grocery stores may pay to be designated polling places. Retailers salivate over what they call "foot traffic". If they could channel it right, and if the law allowed them to make people walk past the milk and bread, they might go for the idea!
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  • 2 weeks later...

Lol, Qwertz, that's priceless.

I don't see why they don't just set up voting kiosks on street corners, except that we vote in November and that might be a bit chilly in some parts of the country. There's really no reason to object to having polling places pretty much anywhere. I wonder if I can make my house an official polling place so I don't have to go anywhere, unless, of course, that means you HAVE to let random yahoos come in and vote. Would that be poll discrimination? "You can't vote here unless you live in this house and pay rent."

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You call it Protestant, then go on to say that Jews are welcome.

And not all lodges require belief in God. Some will admit you for belief in science or nature. I've actually considered trying to find such a lodge and join it. The Masons are the ultimate social network. If you want a job and a Mason finds out that you are also a Mason, that automatically puts you ahead of the rest of the applicants.

Freemasonry requires belief in a power higher than man, such as nature or science. The G in the compass and square represents either God or geometry, depending on the bent of a particular lodge. Even in those lodges that have folks who believe in a god, it is highly deist or panatheist in nature, which is why a lot of hardcore Christians feel the Masons are Satanic. For the most part, the goal of Freemasonry, besides being a social network, is to seen enlightenment through knowledge.

Case in point on the Christian disdain for Freemasonry, my grandfather was a Knight Templar in Cuba, and was required by the Catholic church to leave the organization in order to marry my grandmother. He ultimately joined the Knights of Columbus, but only for the business networking opportunities and social networking among the affluent members he did business with.

I have long been fascinated by Freemasonry and its history and have for years considered joining a lodge, but my lack of a belief in a god has detracted me from that. If I can find a lodge that allows me to join my acknowledging the power of science or nature, then I might consider it. It is heavily based on science, order, reason, geometry, physics and logic. I think ultimately the "higher power" requirement is a ruse to get intellectual men to join and get converted by the power of logic and reason.

I wonder if this should split into another thread. It makes a good discussion.

Edited by Antonio
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