Whiny Jewish dude upset at having to vote in a Catholic church.

This is a guy who needs to relax:

MIDDLETON, Wis.—In Wisconsin, a Jewish man whose polling place was at a Catholic church said he was disturbed to see a crucifix hanging over a ballot box.

Dr. Zeev Bar-Av of Middleton said issues on Tuesday’s ballot such as gay marriage and the death penalty “are essentially on the national divide on religion and non-religion.”

The 65-year-old Middleton man said, “If there is a place where church and state should be separated, the polling place should be it.”

Give me a break. I’m an atheist and I had to vote in a church this year and you don’t hear me crying about it. So long as the rules are followed by the election workers then this shouldn’t be an issue. As pointed out in the article if it really bothers him that much he could always do an absentee ballot. Get over it dude.

31 thoughts on “Whiny Jewish dude upset at having to vote in a Catholic church.

  1. I would wager that his reaction was a bit extreme. Honestly, there are always other polling stations and obviously he could have submitted an absentee ballot. To be quite honest, I’m surprised I haven’t heard any complaints yet from the muslim crowd. Then again, they might voice their opinions by firebombing something, so I suppose its a good thing the religion of peace hasn’t stepped in on this one.

  2. I had to go to three churches before I found my correct polling place. The place on my registration card didn’t have me on the books, so they gave me bad directions to the place that did, which was another church, which had to give me correct directions to the third church.

    That’s more churches than I’ve been in in the last 5 years. Dr. Zeev can chill.

  3. Personally, I wouldn’t be too keen on having superstitious signs watching over me whilst I vote either. Not that they’d affect me at all but I’m sure they’d affect some.
    Here, all the polling stations seem to be public schools (no rental) or community halls (little rental but at least it’s going back into that community – as opposed to paying rental to The HRCC with part of the money being used to keep the pope in fancy skirts and make-up as well as trying to keep condoms outa Africa).
    I understand his feelings, after all The Holy Roman Catholic Church has spent near enough to 2000 years trying to exterminate his people because ‘the Jews killed Christ’.
    Sure, he could vote absentee but it’s the principle of the thing – separation of church and state.
    I’m weird; I reckon a good place to start would be where one voted.  smile

  4. Amusingly, a co-worker of mine expressed her nervousness about voting in a Catholic Church, too—from childhood fear she was going to get her knuckles rapped.

  5. I’m with LJ on this one.

    Voting is something I should be able to do without feeling uncomfortable. Being in a church makes me feel decidely uncomfortable, like my presence is some form of tacit approval or something.

    I’ll step into a church for weddings or funerals, and then only out of respect to the feelings of friends and family. To vote? Nope, wouldn’t like it one bit.

    Thankfully voting up here is done at City Hall.

  6. It’s not like they ask him to kiss a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Ass before he voted. The People are the Church, The Church house is a building like other buildings, it is made out of things like wood, nails, and lastly the contractors signature along with the insurance companies blessings of liability. I have seen closed church’s become restaurants, there is one in Green River Utah that became a T- Shirt shop for shits sakes. And now we have those strip center mini malls (Unit #B1) that are becoming quite popular as church’s. I think Mel Gibson was not drunk on his ass, he was just being honest. These people are nothing but a fuckin problem every where they end up. I’ll bet this one did not even have the god damn common courtesy to dip his finger in the holy water and cross himself before entering the place to vote.

  7. Sorry, guys, I’m gonna have to disagree with you on this one. My point is not that I’m uncomfortable going into somebody’s Big Magic Juju Guy house, it’s that I don’t think ANY political or government-related process should be carried out in a church.

    Try to imagine how certain “Oh, don’t complain so much” people would feel if the situation were changed to be a mosque, or synagogue, or Scientology temple.

    More important, though, bear in mind that a LOT of people have specific unconscious reactions to churches. Imagine going into a Catholic Church intending to vote for a candidate who supported stem cell research, or abortion. But say you know that the church’s stand is that people who support such issues should not receive communion, or are going to hell. Is it conceivable that some percentage of voters are going to feel pressured by the setting of the voting booths to change their vote to parallel the mandates of the church? I think it is. Goddy people are prone to believe their god can read their minds, and will punish them for transgressions, a belief that can only be enhanced by the locale.

    Just as campaign signs are forbidden to be located within a certain distance of the polls, so all other political influences should be forbidden. And since we all know very well that churches have been stridently political of late, they certainly qualify for banning.

    Voting booths should be in schools or other PUBLIC buildings – not in sectarian temples.

    And just FYI, my experience (in Texas, California, Arizona and New York) has been that there are not several alternate places to vote. Far as I know, you have a single voting location in your precinct, and you may not legally vote in any other.

  8. I felt a strange satisfaction voting FOR stem cell research while in the basement of a catholic church.

  9. It’s just a whining Jew. They all bitch and moan about every little thing they don’t like.

    You’re a typical Nazi and or fuckwit – ever realised how much whining you do about other races – you’re like a broken fucking record.
    Would you believe there are more Jewish comedians per capita than any other and, they laugh and poke a stick at themselves more than any other.
    The old Jewish joke: Guilt? We were born with it – Catholics had to learn their’s … just like you learnt your crap, Moloch. All it takes a suspension of reason.  LOL

  10. I’d have to agree with Hank Fox on this one. While it likely wouldn’t make any difference to many of us here (i.e., atheists), for people with even vague religious convictions, a religious context could certainly prime the individual to feel a particular way about any issue on which the church has taken a stand. For individuals who go into the voting booth somewhat ‘undecided’ or uncertain, the religious prime could be enough to nudge the vote. (Do you allow candidates to post signs in the polling station?)

    It is true that you can choose to vote elsewhere, but psychological priming isn’t something people would anticipate.

  11. Hank writes…

    Try to imagine how certain “Oh, don’t complain so much” people would feel if the situation were changed to be a mosque, or synagogue, or Scientology temple.

    I wouldn’t have a problem voting in an of those other locations at all and I’m one of the “oh don’t complain so much” people.

    The simple fact is that for many smaller towns, such as Hamburg where I am, the local church is often the largest facility available to handle the crowds that voting day generates. This town doesn’t have a single public school in it (they’re part of the Brighton school district) and the city hall is barely a store front. This isn’t an issue of church/state entanglement such much as simple pragmatism.

    Polling places have been set up in churches of all stripes since the very first election because of this very reason and there are very specific rules that have to be followed. As long as those rules are adhered to there really shouldn’t be an issue and, as has been pointed out already, if you’re uncomfortable you can always absentee ballot.

  12. Try to imagine how certain “Oh, don’t complain so much” people would feel if the situation were changed to be a mosque, or synagogue, or Scientology temple.

    Actually, I’d find that fascinating.

    More important, though, bear in mind that a LOT of people have specific unconscious reactions to churches. Imagine going into a Catholic Church intending to vote for a candidate who supported stem cell research, or abortion. […] Voting booths should be in schools or other PUBLIC buildings – not in sectarian temples.

    Imagine if you were going into a school intending to vote against a bond issue to support public education.

    Imagine if you were going to a performing arts center to vote whether or not to support a cultural arts tax. 

    Imagine if you were going into city hall or a public auditorium, passing by the offices of someone you were expected to vote for/against.

    Imagine if you were just in the middle of a open field, and being asked to vote for/against a law on combating Global Warming, or providing shelters for the homeless, or anti-pollution controls or candidates.

    Maybe we should just vote as home.  As long as there aren’t property taxes, day care support, or network neutrality weren’t on the ballot.

  13. Dave:

    Regarding schools, performing arts centers, city halls, public auditoriums, open fields—none of those places carry the imagined but (potentially) hugely influential presence of a mystical superbeing who can throw you into a lake of fire for all eternity if you make an unapproved move.

    Les and Dave both:

    I’d have no problem voting in a church. For me, it’s just a big expensive building built by superstitious chuckleheads. It would DEPRESS me, just on general principles of dispair for humanity, but it wouldn’t affect my vote.

    HOWEVER … The point I’m trying to make is that church voting MIGHT VERY WELL have a powerful effect on that very large portion of the voting public who are not as bright or thoughtful or reasonable as wonderful us.

    Essentially the place itself may serve as a last-minute campaign ad affecting the choices of these less independent-minded voters.

    Say what you will, that’s probably something to avoid if your goal is reasoned choice.

  14. The article closes with:

    The 65-year-old Middleton man said, “If there is a place where church and state should be separated, the polling place should be it.”

    Wisconsin Elections Board executive director Kevin Kennedy said the state and municipalities struggle to come up with adequate polling places, and churches have plenty of parking.

    There are pragmatic requirements regarding the choice of polling places. Ease of access, adequate parking, enough space, and probably more. It may well be that a local church is the only game in the district, so to speak. However, seperating Church and State at the polling booth is a point well taken.

    And here’s where I strongly disagree with the Elections Board director:

    He adds that polling places don’t have to be redecorated to protect voters from feeling uncomfortable, and voters who are bothered can always vote absentee.

    This is a disturbing statement and in my opinion, Kennedy has it backwards. Polling stations don’t have to be redecorated to be comfortable, but they should be as neutral an environment as possible. There is a reason why we have the exclusion zone for political propaganda in the near vicinity of the polling stations and with organized religion having their fingers in the political pie, I don’t consider it a stretch to consider a religious symbol in sight of the poll booth as political propaganda. To state the obvious, though, covering it up would get the religionists bent out of shape.

    The short version, however: Cast an absentee vote or get over it and vote for whatever pisses the religious off most.

  15. People should poll at the local prisons and county jails. If it’s just the building with adequate parking and room for lots and lots of people then prisons would be perfect places. Or malls, which would of course try to get compensation but you could legislate that compensation away pretty easily I think once people realized that they could vote and then hit the Food Court for a fruit smoothie.

  16. I’m of two minds on this one.  On one side, I’m like Les and it doesn’t bother me where I vote, so long as it’s safe to be there.  However, churches have been more and more egregious about muscling in on politics that I’m more than a little leery of any subconcious influence to go along with the overt stuff.  (My state was one of those, sadly, that had gay marriage on the ballot.) 

    The religious right has the muscle they have partly because they (IMO) have snookered a lot of moderate Christians into questioning the depth of their own Christianity.  Rather like this Administration questions the patriotism of anyone who disagrees with them.  And voting in a church in this day of resurgent fundamentalism does not help the cause of rational, informed voting.

    Obviously, practicalities are practicalities.  But I think that just about any other venue should be on the list before a church comes into play.  (Good idea with the malls, MisterMook, even though I generally hate to shop.)

  17. In all my places of residence, I’ve only voted in Fire Stations and someones house or garage.  This last few times now, I walk down the street to my neighbors house to vote.  If I ever found my next polling place was a church, I would vote absentee.  I don’t think voting places should be in any type of church, or mosque, or synagogue.  I never knew they actually had them there.  I would (hopefully) think they hold them at least in their meeting rooms, and not in the main church/pew area??

    I also thought there were some laws about polling places, and how no political propaganda can be within 25 or 50 feet of it, or something like that?

  18. True, the church is often the most well-equipped place for voting and it’s never bothered me.  I’d vote in a mosque just the same.  I do like the idea of shopping malls but there are a lot more churches than malls – enough to define individual districts.

    If there is a place for separation of church and state, it would be congress, the senate, the oval office, the supreme court…

  19. Maybe we could sway the Republican elite away from their addiction to polling in churches by suggesting that they BUILD more shopping malls.

    Hell, just politely ask Wal-Mart if you could poll inside and you’d blanket like half the country with huge, probably frighteningly well-run, polling stations. There might be MORE churches, but I don’t know if there would be more square feet of Wal-Marts.

  20. The problem with letting the supermarkets take a hand in the voting process is that, if applied to Britain, while the polling stations would be open 24 hours, they’d all be out of town and only reachable by tiny women driving huge four-wheel-drives. Plus, there’s be the inevitable range from the prohibitively expensive (think Tesco’s Finest Vote) all the way down to Tesco’s Value Vote (utimately unfulfilling but a fraction of the cost).

  21. Even as a Christian, I’m coming down on the side of the complainers on this. I hold the separation of church and state as firmly as (more than?) my religious views. And one shouldn’t be forced to vote absentee just because there’e more parking at the sectarian hangout.

    At best, I’ll side with jeffercine:

    I would (hopefully) think they hold them at least in their meeting rooms, and not in the main church/pew area??

    SEB, how many voters are in your area if there’s not enough people to require a public school or shopping center? Surely, somewhere in the vicinty that’s large enough to be a district there is a secular venue.

  22. In fact, both our local WallyWorlds are voting places.  There’s a partition to separate it from the main store.  The little old ladies who serve as election judges do their job same as anywhere else.
    My mother has served as an election judge for years.  It seems only retired folks have the time to be there for 15 hours from set-up to final count.  She carries a sack lunch and they have to take turns for bathroom breaks.

    We vote in our local precinct at a Methodist church building, which has great parking spaces.  The only religious symbol to be seen near the booths is a handmade banner embroidered with grapes or something.

    The church board of the congregation I attend has turned down numerous requests to serve as a polling place, despite being in a great location, with plenty of parking, and an indoor open area bereft of religious symbols.
    The relationship and purpose of church and government is cited in the refusal letter.

  23. I see both sides. On the one hand, it is impractical to exclude churches if there aren’t any other local large buildings. On the other hand, widely recognized religious symbols are undeniably as strong as or stronger than “Vote for Bob” signs. Sure lots of people will ignore them, but at least some will be pressured.

    In order to come up with a solution, it is important to acknowledge that there are problems both ways.

    I thought of something reading the other posts that doesn’t fit here too well, but I want to share anyway. Imagine a nude, bloody virgin with a dagger through her heart above the ballot box. A picture of a virgin, not a real one. This picture is there because you are voting in a Satanic Church.


  24. I would not have a problem voting in a Satanic church.  Although I don’t like the decor that you describe—pictures of nude women do NOTHING for me.

  25. I agree with Hank Fox. What ever happend to the seperation of church and state. On the other hand if this upset him so much why didnt he exercise his right to do an absentee ballot. It seems that people will bitch because they can. 2cents

  26. Seems silly to get so worked up over such a trivial matter, hell I would have voted in a lot worse places than a church as long as it was properly administered. Church is just another building and only means something to those who attend it.

  27. The difference is that, for observant Jews, there is a biblical prohibition against entering a church.  (sorry to come so late to this discussion).

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