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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — As November nears, the New Hanover County Board of Elections discussed issues at polling places Friday.

You may remember the sign in May when the Devon Methodist Church, which was a polling place, had a sign that proclaimed, “A true marriage is male and female and God.”

Some voters claimed it was a form of voter intimidation, and the issue garnered national attention. Others say they did nothing wrong.

“It’s their very own property,” says New Hanover County voter Joann Barb. “They should be allowed to do that.”

“Property owners have the same rights of freedom relating to speech whether it’s an election or anything else,” says New Hanover County Elections Director Marvin McFadyen.

Though it is within their constitutional rights, McFadyen says he hopes this time around polling places will choose to steer clear of putting up signage that may have to do with an issue on the ballot.

Sometimes referendums will relate to a certain issue in the community,” McFadyen says. “I guess we could look at what’s going to be on the November ballot as far as the City of Wilmington bond referendum.

Barb says regardless of the sign, it would not change her vote.

“Oh I don’t think it would sway voters,” she says. “Voters are going to vote what’s in their heart and how they feel.”

“It really does come down to the rights of the individual,” McFadyen says.

Comment on this Story

  • Wilmington Observer

    What is the difference in the church sign and signs that poll workers bring with them, in an attempt to sway my vote? “Some voters claimed it was a form of voter intimidation”?? Here, in America, you do not have the constitutional right to not be offended

    Wilmington Observer

  • Roger Helwys Williams

    It’s a pity the Devon Park Church decided to abuse their 1st Amendment rights by dishonoring the idea of separation of church and state in this manner. In a time of national division and economic depression, their message of intolerance shows where this particular United Methodist charge’s priorities are. The Board of Elections should find another facility for this precinct.

    Matthew 22:36-40

  • Guest211


  • Guest1946

    It seems it is perfectly OK for the church to meddle in things associated with government, but let the gov’t attempt to set some standard or control of a church and they scream like stuck pigs. Look what happens when some group puts up a billboard contrary to religion. The “Christians” do all they can to take away their freedom of speech.

  • Justin America

    Where is separation of Church and State mentioned in the 1st amendment or any founding documents? Don’t be so closed minded and intolerant. I believe you are actually thinking of separation of Church from state. That’s Russia / China.

  • Wilmington Observer

    Your stance that the church’s message was one of intolerance is true. The “message of intolerance” was a, sound, biblical, message on the property of a church paid for by the members of that church who, coincidentally, are members of the same community in which you live. The “government” decided to utilize the church property as a polling location and the church, graciously, agreed to allow its property be used for that purpose. The church did not agree to hide its morals, convictions or beliefs which include the fact that homosexuality is a sin and, therefore, NOT tolerated by the church. Expecting the church to be tolerant of homosexuality is akin to expecting the church to not stand by the morals, convictions and beliefs which are the very foundation in which the church, your community and this nation were built.

    Wilmington Observer

  • Erlkoenig

    “separation of church and state” comes from 2 sources. Jefferson’s explanation that congress was not to regulate religion in a letter to a church, and Hugo Black’s (democrat, KKK member – yeah I know that’s redundant) falsely stated position in the majority opinion that made it illegal for prayer in school. If you’re such a whuss that a sign offends you maybe that problem is you being a whuss.

  • Roger Helwys Williams

    Erlkoenig/Justin America – Prayer in public schools is not illegal. I said many prayers before lunch in NC public schools, years after the court decision you reference. The court rightly forbade school-led/sanctioned prayer. After all, I doubt you’d approve of Islamic prayers being led by staff in public schools, and rightly so. Separation of Church and State in America predates Jefferson and the Constitution.

    Wilmington Observer – Thanks for admitting that my statement is true. By focusing on its intolerance that day, the church chose to disrespect its position as bully pulpit. It also chose to put its dubious interpretation of scripture ahead of the clear commandments of Jesus. After all, denying equal civil rights at the ballot box is hardly loving one’s neighbor.

  • Wilmington Observer

    I, and other Christians, can love you and still be intollerant of your, sinful, disgusting and intollerable actions. Jesus had many more commandments, and teachings, than the one that you quote in order to elicit acceptance from the majority (in North Carolina) who are intolerant of your lifestyle, all the while, loving you as commanded. Because the church speaks the truth, does not make it a bully anymore than you are a bully when you tell your child that certain behaviors are wrong, and will not be tolerated. You still love your child, but do not tolerate his / her behaviors.

    Wilmington Observer


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