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Church tells members to vote its way or get out

The following it taken from WPSD.com TRIGG COUNTY, KY - The campaign to legalize alcohol is getting ugly as a church gives its members an ultimatum: vote no or get out. A petition could be tearing a local church apart. A number of Trigg County voters contacted Local 6 to say church leaders have given them an ultimatum over an upcoming vote. Recently some 18-hundred people signed a petition to legalize alcohol sales in Trigg County. It turns out some of those signees names have become public and soon after church leaders went to their homes pressuring them to apologize publicly in front of the whole church and promise to vote no in the coming election. Otherwise, they'll be kicked out. Church leaders say members agree to abstain from the sale and use of alcohol, but some of these members tell Local 6 they didn't agree to anything about what petitions they can sign or how they vote. Mark Graff knew the leadership of his church was against drinking, so he wasn't surprised when he received a visit after he signed the petition to end prohibition. "I completely expected them to ask me to change my mind. I didn't expect to be called out on my front step and given an ultimatum," Graff said, but he says that's exactly what happened. Graff says his pastor at Blue Springs Baptist Church and another church official were abrupt and in no mood to argue. "He said the church was against this and if I did not go to church and confess my sins and say that I was going to change my way and my opinion on the vote, then I would be stricken from the rolls," Graff said. Dr. Michael Rust is the head of the Little River Baptist Association. The group includes Mark Graff's church. Rust says his group encourages its members to vote against legalizing alcohol sales, and the churches have every right to revoke membership. "The purpose of the visit is to encourage the membership to be united," Rust said. The county-wide referendum on whether to end the ban is set for September 29. The last day to register and be eligible to vote is Monday, August 31. Copyright 2009 WPSD-TV, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcasted, rewritten, or redistributed.

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