May 10, 2008

Church / Vote / State

I had a bit of a disturbing experience this morning. I voted for a school bond. That isn't the disturbing part. The polling place was in a church. Specifically, it was in the religious primary school attached to the church, but it was still in a church.

I'm an atheist so the building has no special relevance to me, but I wondered about others who do have faith in a supreme being and what effect the location of the polling place would have on their vote.

What if the polling place was in a Gurdwara and everyone had to take their shoes off and cover their heads before entering?

Would the proximity of flame in a Zoroastrian Fire Temple potentially be seen as a risk to the ballots?

What if the polling place was in a mosque? Should voting be disrupted during one of the five daily prayer periods?

What if the polling place was in a jinja and you had to have permission from the Shinto priest to enter?

Where would the polling place even be able to be in a mandir? How about the Bahá'í Houses of Worship? Or a Latter-Day Saint temple, where non-Mormons are forbidden to enter?

What if, as is more and more common, your priest made a sermon prior to election day about the very topic on the ballot that you disagreed with, but the polling place was in your place of worship? Which would take priority, your duty to God, country or your conscience? Should someone of faith even have to make that choice?

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