WASHINGTON (RNS) The American Civil Liberties Union is criticizing plans by two Iowa churches to host early voting during worship services.
“Combining polling places with religious services is an invitation to the abuse of both religion and the civic act of voting,” said Ben Stone, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, reported The Des Moines Register.

Satellite voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 24) at Cornerstone Church in Ames, which holds worship services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Another Ames congregation, Stonebrook Church, will host voting during the same six-hour period on Oct. 31.

Tim Lubinus, global ministry director at Cornerstone Church, said his congregation did not request to hold the Sunday voting but was instead approached by a county official.

Brad Barrett, a pastor at Stonebrook Church, defended the plans, saying, “I think the Founding Fathers were intending to keep government from meddling with church, not church from influencing government.”

The ACLU has also expressed concern about Iowa churches mounting a campaign to oust state Supreme Court justices who legalized same-sex marriage in 2009.

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