Resolution Against Religious Polling Places

Protest A Troubling State/Church Entanglement

Complain! Clip and send this resolution to your public registrar, to media or use it in as the basis for a letter to the editor.

Whereas,
Voting is a hallmark of democracy;

Whereas,
There can be no activity more civic or secular than voting;

Whereas,
We live in a nation predicated on a secular constitution and the absolute separation of church and state;

Whereas,
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that no citizen "shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever;"

Whereas,
Jefferson's Statute for Religious Freedom has been replicated in many of the constitutions of our 50 states, enjoining governments from forcing citizens to attend a place of worship;

Whereas,
Local governments around the nation increasingly are violating the separation of church and state by designating churches as polling places, singling out particular denominations and congregations in the community for this distinction entailing government and media publicity, and all the attending benefits of having a captive audience attend a church to vote;

Whereas,
In many states and communities, polling places receive compensation from the public coffers;

Whereas,
Churches are now routinely intruding in political elections, including but not limited to endorsing candidates from the pulpit, distributing voting guides from the Christian Coalition and other right-wing Christian groups, and promoting political agendas, even proposing and working on referenda on such issues as abortion, gay rights and the right-to-die;

Whereas,
Many polling places are chosen by local politicians, raising the spectre of politicians choosing their own churches as polling places, with all the incumbent conflicts of interest;

Whereas,
The cross is increasingly a symbol of political intimidation;

Whereas,
Voting in a church or other religious institution inevitably raises profound political conflicts of interest;

Whereas,
One of the most common complaints heard at the offices of the Freedom From Religion Foundation from its members around the nation is about being compelled to vote in churches and religious institutions;

Therefore,
Be It Resolved, that we, the members of the Board of Directors of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, representing 3,300 members around the country, and at least 20 million American freethinkers, hereby urge that no churches or religious institutions be designated as polling places.

October 2, 1994
FFRF Board Of Directors
Madison, Wisconsin

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