So some wack-job wrote a letter to the editor today complaining that his polling station was a Catholic School. Apparently he wasn't Catholic. He whines that Elections Canada should be "a little more sensitive to the diversity of our faiths." He also says that he was distracted by the crucifix on the wall. This, I get. It's a half naked dude, dying, nailed to a wooden cross. I've always found the whole image over the top, and quite frankly, terrifying. Its presence distracts me wherever I happen to find it. So the fact that this guy had a hard time making an "x" while being watched by Jesus is understandable to me. But that's where any agreement with this freak ends.
As far as I see it, a church, or in this case Catholic school, is essentially a building that only has theological meaning to those of the faith under which it was built. I am an atheist who was required to vote in a United church. To me it was a polling station that just happened to be a church. I had no problem with the statue of Jesus that greeted me at the door (he was alive and well with his arms outstretched – quite welcoming actually). In fact, I would like to thank the congregation of that church for volunteering their place of worship to democracy's greatest process. They could worship tuna fish and peanut butter on Wednesday afternoons and I really couldn't give a rat's ass. Actually, I love both Tuna and peanut butter and I know they both exist. This is a religion I might just be attracted to. Hmmm. Oops. Tangent.
A move towards ensuring "neutral sites" for polling stations would represent more time and energy unnecessarily allocated to the plague of political correctness in this country. Listen, I don't believe in God. I think Jesus was a really great guy who spread an important message but I am also quite sure Mary and Joseph enjoyed creating him. I could go on. However, I recognize that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian values. This isn't going to change. So I can tolerate, in fact celebrate, this history while still recognizing that our progress as a civilization has disproved the biblical myths behind these values. You could throw me in a mosque, temple, synagogue, or chapel to vote and I will take in the beauty of the architecture (unless it is one of those new age "airport style" churches – why are they doing this?) and then meet my civic responsibility to choose a candidate.
Mr. Whiner's concerns appear to be one more example of organized religion's growing tide of intolerance and unreasonableness towards one another. The dogma associated with every religion, whether you like it or not, teaches its followers that their faith is the "correct" faith and those that follow others will be punished come judgment day. It's a fact. I learned it in Sunday school when we would do those Bible scripture races. Remember those? I never won a single race. This girl in my class practiced all week and kicked our ass every Sunday. Maybe this is where my disdain originates. Again...tangent.
Anyway, I would like to thank Rideau Park United Church. You have a beautiful polling station, I mean, church.