‘Separation of Church and State': Protesters Object to Bulletin Calling Votes for Democrats a ‘Sin'

Several days after a bulletin was inserted into an Old Town Catholic church’s newsletter implying that Hillary Clinton was satanic and warned that voting for Democrats would result in parishioners 'descending into Hell,' the entrance to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church became a stage for protesters.

‘Voting Catholic,' the title of an article in the weekly bulletin at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, suggested the devil is working through Hillary Clinton. The article comes just two weeks after another handout inside the bulletin told people it's a mortal sin to vote for a Democrat.

“This is a violation of the great principle of separation of church and state. A pillar upon which our democracy is built and this is an egregious, egregious violation of that principle,” Father Dermot Rodgers, a pastor at St. Peter of Rome, a church not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, tells NBC 7.

Rodgers held up a sign that said ‘separation of church and state’ Saturday afternoon in protest of the article.

“People should vote their conscience. People should weigh in what is for their own good and the common good but not be influenced by religious organizations or by churches,” he says.

Protester Lindsey Krosby, who held up a sign that read: ‘I’m a nasty woman and I vote,’ tells NBC 7 “I don’t think any leader should be telling anyone how to vote. It really comes down to the individual and their conscience how they want to vote.”

“I'm calling on the bishop of Roman Catholic diocese of SD to, at the very least, censure the pastor for his misdeeds and possibly remove him,” Rodgers says.

Pastor Richard Perozich of The Immaculate Conception tells NBC 7 in an email he will continue to lead this parish, which he says is pleased with the article he wrote. Perozich says, "The fact that people from other Catholic parishes, other faith communities, or other non-religious wish to comment would be an exercise of their free speech, the very exercise they are trying to deny me because it does not fit their agenda. I will continue to guide my flock to live out their faith in Jesus."

As for the other article that called voting for a Democrat a mortal sin, Perozich says a group called Ecclesia Militans San Diego wrote the flier and inserted it into his bulletin.

Perozich told NBC 7 on Thursday he stands by his comments made in this week's bulletin, but he says he does not agree with the outside group's insert that called a voting for a Democrat a mortal sin.

In an online statement Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego says the Immaculate Conception parish violated its duty saying it's contrary to Catholic teaching to say voting Democrat or Republican automatically condemns the voter to hell.

Bishop McElroy is urging all Catholics to consult their teachings and pray about who they're going to vote for.

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