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:


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. 

Joe Tadros November 06, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Shall we start taking all the kids' artwork down from the schools where the polling places are?
Pat Pierce November 06, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Becky needs to get a life! I guess you can read whatever you want into artwork - if you try hard enough!
Sara Bar November 06, 2012 at 08:46 PM
All I can say is WOW! I wish I had that much time on my hands to complain about a quilt. Only in America
Amy Reierson November 06, 2012 at 09:03 PM
It originated from the Nigerian Igbo culture and proverb "Ora na azu nwa" which means it takes the community/village to raise a child. The Igbo's also name their children "Nwa ora" which means child of the community. It has been in existence in Africa for centuries. Indeed, the saying previously provided the source for the title of a children's book entitled It Takes a Village by Jane Cowen-Fletcher, published in 1994. She should at least do a little work to get some information since she seems to have so much time on her hands.
JOANN JOHNSON November 06, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Suzanne Kelly November 06, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Wow Becky you need to chillax!
Suzanne Kelly November 06, 2012 at 10:50 PM
That was certainly good use of tax payer dollars!
Linda LaFond November 06, 2012 at 11:52 PM
This is just beyond belief! I can't believe that a quilt had to be taken down just because of the verse it had on it. This lady must need something to do. When will people learn to live and let live and quit reading something into a quilt, picture, etc. that isn't there. Give me a break!
Pat Pierce November 07, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I cannot believe the county and the city got involved in such a petty, uniformed, frivolous complaint! Beyond stupid!
Joan Kruse November 07, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I am the maker of this quilt and the quote was put on it because we, as a church are a strong advocate for children in Minnesota and around the world. It was NOT a political statement. Joan Kruse
Kate Bailey November 07, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Entirely petty, uninformed and ridiculous. The quote first appeared in American literature in 1958. It's been around in various African tales since long before that. Hopefully, that woman will read the source attached and feel like the overreactive and uneducated hot-head that she is. http://www.h-net.org/~africa/threads/village.html
Amy Reierson November 07, 2012 at 02:02 AM
And it is a lovely quilt Joan!
Emily Stoddart November 07, 2012 at 03:05 AM
I love that this republican (I assume) is giving Hillary so much credit. Ha, I didn't even know it was part of a title of her book. I did know it was an African proverb. How about - Thanks for hosting us at your church and opening your doors. Instead of- could you take that quilt down!
AKA November 07, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Why were the police called? News flash folks, if you feel politically wronged, it's NOT an emergency worthy of a police response.
Carrie Ritchie November 07, 2012 at 01:40 PM
What a joke. People are getting way too serious. It is actually a very nice quote from an African Proverb. Is a Church not allowed to promote family and community? I am a conservative and embarrassed by Becky's overreaction.
Dale Butler November 07, 2012 at 02:15 PM
I agree that, on the surface it does seem like a frivilous complaint. On the orher hand if no one speaks up, what's to stop others from using such art to suggest how someone should vote. Suppose it had been a picture of an elephant. would that have been okay? Would she have reported it? In this politically divided climate we need to be aware of how strong of an influence imagery imagery has over our thinking. I donot condemn Becky for speaking up on this. Just an FYI I am a life long Democrat
Connie Karls November 07, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Is this for real? How could anyone find that offensive?
Linda LaFond November 08, 2012 at 12:14 AM
The polling place is in a church. A church that serves the community and surrounding communities. I find it very offensive that Becky can come in and tell our church what we can and cannot put on our walls. A lot of work went into this by a very nice lady whose heart is in the right place. It does take a village to raise a child, especially in this day and ago. Hillary Clinton did not coin this phrase. I would suggest the next time someone wants to come in and tell a church, my church, what they can and cannot put on their walls you best better think again. Would you like me or anyone else to go to your church and tell them what to do? Would you like me or anyone else to come to your house and tell you what you can and cannot put on the walls. I heartily doubt it. Research out your comments before you go telling others what they should and should not do.
Ann November 08, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I think Becky must have been raised in the wrong village.
Jim Grossman November 11, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Good Grief Becky. Get a life.... the polling place is a church.... Do they need to cover up the cross on top of the building too!!!
Leah November 12, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Becky is just a sore loser!
Emily B November 12, 2012 at 02:57 AM
I know, right... good thing conservatives want to cut funding for things like public services like police. What the heck will they do when there is not officer to respond to crap like this?
Emily B November 12, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Well then Dale, all churches that function as polling places should have to take down all their crosses or other religious symbols because that makes me think mostly of conservatives and I just can't handle how that might subconsciously influence my vote. Thank GOD I vote at a community center. Sorry, I just think this is ridiculous.
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.


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