Florida church loses polling place status over pastor’s anti-Democrat sign

Florida church loses polling place status over pastor’s anti-Democrat sign
Grace of God Church in New Port Richey, Florida, lost its polling license after Pastor Al Carlisle posted an anti-Democrat sign outside. (Image source: Spectrum Bay News 9 video screenshot)

A church in Florida had its status as a polling place revoked over a sign the pastor posted outside on Election Day criticizing Christians who vote for Democrats, according to Bay News 9.

Pastor Al Carlisle of Grace of God Church in New Port Richey, Florida, refused to take the sign down at the request of election workers, noting that the sign was legally posted more than 100 feet away from the entrance.

The sign read: “Don’t vote for Democrats on Tuesday and sing, ‘Oh, how I love Jesus’ on Sunday.”

“I get all these political ads up and down my driveway,” Carlisle told Bay News 9. “I said, ‘Well, I don’t know if God’s really excited about all this,’ and ‘How can I use this opportunity to be a witness, to share the truth of God’s word?'”

Elections supervisor not happy

Pasco County elections supervisor Brian Corley said he was frustrated with Carlisle’s decision to post the sign on Election Day, which he said is the one day there would be consequences for such an action.

“I’m frustrated and, quite frankly, a little resentful because, as I explained to the pastor, any other day, any other day you could put that sign up,” Corley said. “You could put 100 up. But when you use it at a polling place, that’s just not the way you operate.”

Corley said his office received hundreds of complaints about the sign, which he called “horribly inappropriate and tacky and unprofessional.”

Why did the pastor do it?

Carlisle said he was not making a political plea, but rather he was directing his message to Christians, calling them to think about what Jesus when casting their votes, pointing to issues like abortion and gay marriage.

“I’m not telling you not to vote Democrat,” Carlisle said. “I’m not telling you to vote Republican. It’s directed at those who profess to be Christians. There is a line drawn in the sand by Jesus that we ought not cross.”

Still, even though the sign was legal and Carlisle can exercise his First Amendment rights, Corley believes that kind of stunt is not appropriate for a polling location.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, it will cost between $3,000 and $5,000 to take out legal notices in the newspaper and send out updated information to voters about the change in polling location, and the bill will be paid by county taxpayers.

(H/T The Christian Post)