Freethought Today · March 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF Board chair gets church sign covered

Stephen Hirtle, chair of FFRF's Executive Board, was able to get a director of elections to remedy a state/church violation in a parking lot for a church that is also a voting site.

Hirtle wrote in April 2016 to the Election Board about signs at the church parking lot that said "Parking for church business only" on Election Day.

The director of elections responded to Hirtle. "Voting is considered a church function as we are authorized to be on their premises. . . . Covering the signs may lead to further concerns from church members."

But when Hirtle went to cast his ballot on Nov. 8, "to my surprise, the signs were covered with garbage bags when I went to vote!" he wrote. After voting, Hirtle said he tracked down the election judge in charge for the precinct and thanked him for covering the signs.

He also added that there were no religious signs in the voting area, no church members doing a bake sale, and said it was "the most neutral space I have seen within a church the Pittsburgh area. Cornerstone Ministries, also in my suburb, is at the other end of the spectrum where people are forced to vote in a very religious space."

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