Recently the time came to exercise our right to vote as United States citizens, and I decided to partake in the festivities, as I normally do. Upon pulling into my designated voting location, something dawned on me that hadn't before, and it made me quite disturbed.
It is well known that we live in one of the greatest countries in the world, and that we have the freedom to practice any religion or worship any god we please, but there is also a distinct separation between our government and any religious affiliation, no matter what state you live in. Therein lied the problem I was having.
My voting location was at a First Baptist Church. I may be blind, or just overly confrontational, but that didn't seem like much separation between religion and state to me.
As I waltzed into the side door of the church, I was greeted by two old bags who obviously had something on their agenda, and after the fact it almost seemed rehearsed between the two of them.
They proceeded to lecture me on how the government isn't run properly, and told me I better be registered and voting Republican. One could tell we live in a more Republican area by the obviously shorter stack of yellow Republican ballots.
In return I said, "Please, give me my ballot, so I can get the f**k out of here."
They were noticeably taken aback by my response, and handed me my ballot begrudgingly. While voting, I wondered how many voters these women influence during the voting process.
I decided after voting to make my feelings known and ask any individual willing to listen to give their response on the matter, and I was pleasantly surprised.
While most people had mixed feelings on whether it's right to have a voting location held in a church, most individuals decided it would be more fitting to cast ballots in a publicly owned and operated building such as a library, school, or post office.
Most voters I questioned said they had voted in a church before and the idea had never crossed their mind, and now it had.
Considering the fact that churches do not pay taxes and are a privately run business, churches have no business or right to hold a voting station.
It is well known that Oklahoma is a heavily conservative state, and a church as a voting location doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but this is something that needs to be changed.
Whether you agree with me or not is beside the point, because we as citizens have to abide by the principles our Founding Fathers set forth.
Even though the phrase "separation of church and state" doesn't appear in the constitution, it is known that the basis of our nation was built on the exclusion of government from any form of religion, as stated in the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The third President of the United States, the principle author of the Declaration of Independence, and one of our Founding Fathers said, "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."
In this case, that "wall of separation" has been broken and should be rebuilt.
Story and Photo by Phil Bradshaw
Photo: A "vote here" sign sits outside a church.