.

A Hillary-minder? 'It Takes a Village' Quilt Ticks off Voter

St. Philip's Lutheran Church in Fridley, MN said it's an African proverb, not a Hillary Clinton quote, but agreed to flip up the quilt after county and city officials got involved.

Updated (5:30 p.m.): Sometimes, it takes a complaint.

Voters at a church in Fridley, MN are no longer marking their ballots under a quilt with the slogan "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child" after a citizen complained it made her think of President Obama's secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

After Anoka County and City of Fridley officials got involved, leaders at St. Philip's Lutheran Church agreed to fold up the quilt so the voters couldn't see the offending message. The church's part-time maintenance staffperson and a member of the congregation moved two voting stations and used a ladder to lift hook the bottom of the quilt to the screws holding the top edge to the wall.

Whose Quote on Quilt?
A Fridley woman who would only give her name as Becky demanded that St. Philip's Lutheran Church remove the quilt from the polling place after she voted at about noon Tuesday. Church leaders at first refused, saying the slogan is an African proverb, not a Hillary Clinton quote.

It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us is the title of a 1996 bestselling book by Hillary Clinton, published while she was First Lady.

The woman, who would only give her name as Becky, said she first complained to the election judge. When the church wouldn't take it down, she alerted the Fridley Police Department. 

'No Longer Viewable'
Fridley Police Lt. Mike Monsrud said police asked the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota and the Anoka County Attorney's Office for guidance. The U.S. Attorney didn't get involved—"It is not a federal violation," Monsrud said.

But county officials did take up the matter. Anoka County Election Manager Cindy Reichert credited Fridley city staff for finding a resolution.

"The city worked well with the church to make the quilt no longer viewable," Reichert said. "[City Clerk Deb Skogen] did a great job."

Reichert characterized the action as "taking care of a complaint," more than as addressing a violation of law.

Recent Addition
The quilt hangs on a wall of the church's Fellowship Hall directly above voting booths. Pastor Jan Hartsook said a member of the congregation made the quilt and offered it when the call went out for wall decorations several months ago.

(Other hangings on the same wall read, "You Make a Difference" and "Blessed Giving through Faith.")

The quilt didn't originally have the slogan, Hartsook said. Its maker added the phrase especially with display at the church in mind.

"The reason she put that on there is, as a congregation we live in a community, Hartsook said. "We take care of one another."

Hartsook said church officials looked up the state statute and decided the quilt wasn't in violation, since it doesn't say "vote for this."

Becky's reaction: "Great!"

'It's Wrong'
Becky said she was standing in line with about 20 other voters at about noon Tuesday when she saw the quilt.

"I was just standing there, looking up. What's that doing there? ...

Becky said she had also notified the Republican Party of Minnesota. She made her strong feelings about the situation clear in an email to Fridley Patch:

I JUST WENT TO VOTE AT THE ST. PHILLIP'S LUTHERAN CHURCH, LIBERAL POLLING PLACE! RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE LINE OF VOTERS IS A WALL HANGING THAT HAS HILLARY CLINTON'S FAMOUS SAYING:  "IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD" - UNBELIEVABLE!! I ASKED THEM TO TAKE IT DOWN, AND THEY REFUSED.  I'VE CALLED FRIDLEY POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND THEY CLAIM TO BE "CHECKING ON IT".  THOUGHT YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW. THE CHURCH CLAIMS IT'S AN AFRICAN PROVERB.  I SAY IT GIVES THE VOTERS IN LINE A TIME TO PAUSE AND THINK ABOUT HILLARY, SECRETARY OF STATE UNDER THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.  IT'S WRONG AND IT SHOULD BE TAKEN DOWN!!!!!

Another Twin Cities church relented earlier Tuesday when a voter protested a different kind of display. According to the Star Tribune, officials at St. Joseph's Church in St. Paul removed a letter from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis espousing the idea of marriage as only between a man and woman from a display case near where people are voting. 

JoJo November 12, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Leah, how could Becky possibly be a sore loser...the polls were still open and it was around noon! Seriously now, I've served as an election judge for a few elections now, and these things really are to be taken seriously. Did you not read the other complaint listed in the article? In a Catholic church, a pro-marriage letter had to be removed. If you thing the quilt is silly, then so is the letter. At our precinct, we asked many people to remove buttons, and one to put away campaign literature. No one protested the request, though some weren't thrilled. It should be the same at the church polling place. If something isn't a permanent fixture, it can be moved. Honestly, most politically active folks of either party are familiar with Hillary Clinton's book and that slogan she has made infamous. People either love it or hate it, and both sides attach political meaning to it. I think it was wise to remove it. IMHO, nearly all of the replies here are over-reactions. Becky was just doing what she thought was right. It would serve everyone well to take a breath.
Kitzer November 12, 2012 at 06:58 AM
jojo -- OBVIOUSLY she knew before she voted that Mit-Wit and Lyin' Ryan were NOT going to be elected!! AND ha ha ha jojo -- YOUR voter ID flunked also!!
Amy Utley November 12, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I do not believe that churches should be used as polling places in the first place (simplified, there's supposed to be separation of church and state). That aside, I do feel it a bit extreme that she complained about it. After all the ads and debates and blah blah blah leading up to the election, you should pretty much know who you're voting for when you show up to vote. I doubt anyone has been swayed in their choice after looking at a quilt.
Emily B November 12, 2012 at 09:03 PM
I would agree about churches not being used except I wonder if there are enough other large buildings that would work and not be a large cost (does anyone know if churches get paid to be a polling place?) Part of the reason I agree is I know my church is a polling place in Edina, and there is a decent Somali population in the area. Many of them are not Christian and do not like to go in Christian churches, so I wonder if the location deters some people from voting. And before folks reply with objectionable comments about "those Muslims," consider if you are a Christian and your polling place was a mosque, how might you feel? I personally wouldn't care, but there are some people who really might (especially the conspiracy theorists who still believe Obama is Muslim... holy buckets the lies never die).
Dennis November 13, 2012 at 01:17 AM
If I was raising children, I would not want Becky living in my village.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »