By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – It's an election issue that gets virtually no attention, but we found out today that many of you do feel strongly about it: Churches being used as Election Day polling places.
A guest Belief Blog piece on the subject Tuesday morning, "My Take: Stop using churches as polling places," fetched more than a thousand comments, prompting us to ask Twitter followers to share their church-based voting experiences and pictures. Then we noticed the "My Take" rising to near the top of reddit politics, sparking a lively discussion there.
Lots of you who cast ballots inside a house of worship today were bothered by it. Others were bothered by the notion of church-based voting, whether or not you participated in it. A sampling of opposition to church-based voting:
(CNN) – Just because President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney mostly have avoided talking religion during this campaign doesn't mean religion won't play a big role in determining the winner of the presidential race. Here are six ways religion's role in the electorate may shape the outcome on Tuesday.
What factors would you add? Let us know in comments.
1. Will Catholics pick the winner, again? Representing more than a quarter of the electorate and voting with the winner of the popular vote in every presidential election since at least 1972, Roman Catholics are quintessential swing voters. They encompass such a diverse set of concerns and ethnic groups that some challenge the very idea of a Catholic "voting bloc.” However, both campaigns have conducted intense outreach to Catholic voters and have Catholic vice presidential nominees – Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.
Editor’s note: The Rev. Barry W. Lynn is executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
By Barry W. Lynn, Special to CNN
I live in Maryland, where we have a lot of controversial questions on Tuesday's ballot, including referenda on marriage equality, the rights of immigrants and the expansion of gambling.
Many churches and other houses of worship have taken stands on these issues and lots of others, which is their prerogative. Although federal law prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing candidates, they have the right to speak out on ballot referenda and on other issues, from abortion to zoning.
All of this church-based political activity makes me uneasy about casting ballots in houses of worship, especially those festooned with political signs. And yet today, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of churches around the country are being pressed into service as polling places.
By Naomi Canton, for CNN
(CNN) - Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals in India - but the colorful customs and meanings associated with it can vary dramatically depending on whether you reside in the countryside or the city.
On the streets of densely populated conurbations like Mumbai, Diwali - popularly known as the Festival of Lights - is often a raucous affair, marked by a cacophony of firecrackers on the streets and a flourish of ceremonial gambling in the home. The wealthier urban dwellers splurge on gold, jewelry, clothes and expensive gifts such as electronics, which they buy for themselves and their loved ones.
By Arielle Hawkins, CNN
Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.
From the Blog:
CNN: Viral video shows Romney in testy exchange over his faith
In campaign time, it’s ancient history: a 2007 video showing a testy off-air exchange between Mitt Romney and a radio host over the candidate’s faith and his stance on abortion. But the back-and-forth has resurfaced in the days before Election Day. Video of the exchange posted on YouTube on October 31 had garnered nearly 1.8 million page views as of noon ET Monday.
CNN: Paul Ryan asks for blessing day before election
Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan, a Roman Catholic, asked a priest he met at a restaurant Monday to bless a rosary he carries with him. The Republican vice presidential nominee was in the middle of a five-state battleground blitz through Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin, the day before Election Day when he met Father Greg Ames prior to his second rally in Johnstown, Colorado.
By Shawna Shepherd, CNN Political Producer
Johnstown, Colorado (CNN) – Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan, a Roman Catholic, asked a priest he met at a restaurant Monday to bless a rosary he carries with him.
The Republican vice presidential nominee was in the middle of a five-state battleground blitz through Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin, the day before Election Day when he met Father Greg Ames prior to his second rally in Johnstown, Colorado.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.