It is probably no secret that the National Association of Elected Latino Officials is distributing the following poster to churches nation-wide to encourage Hispanics to participate in the upcoming census. [ There is a Spanish language poster.  12/26/09]

Many people and groups feel this measure is entirely inappropriate and hypocritical. In the first place, there is a constant vigilance kept about keeping church and state separate. The head of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, called the poster  “blasphemous.

According to ABC News:

Latino advocacy groups have launched an aggressive campaign to boost participation in the census, allay fears over confidentiality of the information it gathers, and counteract isolated efforts to boycott the count as a way of forcing immigration reform.

Advocates say the census is the only means for Latinos – a diverse and fast-growing population – to achieve greater political representation and benefit from federal programs that directly affect immigrants and their families.

Federal money and apportionment of congressional seats all hang on an accurate census. Unfortunately, too many Latinos have been led to think that the census takers are violating their privacy or possibly reporting them for any breach in immigration status. Basically, they don’t want the government in their business.

Is the poster in bad taste or is it a good tool to educate those who want to dodge the census? Should the government take heroic measures to include Latinos in the census? Some people have voiced fairly strong opinions on both sides of this issue.

Fun Facts from the Census Bureau

19 Thoughts to “Using Jesus, Joseph and Mary to Encourage Census Participation”

  1. Opinion

    looks like it was produced by a private group,… so I don’t care. Latinos tend to be Christian (Mostly catholic, I believe) so this poster just might resonate. I assume there’s a version in Spanish.

    People need to lighten up and mind their own business.

  2. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Uhh…it’s in the wrong language. Those who speak English will most likely participate in the census.

  3. Slow, I just did an addendum on the post. Yes, many of the posters are in Spanish. Sorry, I left that part out.

  4. Freddie

    The Holy Family went back to where they were from for the Census. If only we could require that now.

  5. Does anyone think the poster is ‘blasphemous?’

    I hesitated about putting up this post because I kept reading how people were up in arms over this poster. I saw nothing wrong with it. I do see the need for an accurate census.

  6. The U.S. Census Bureau offers information in Spanish and English for faith organizations, schools, businesses and state and local governments to get the word out.

    Go to the source,

    From what I understand, the forms will be mailed to households starting in March 2010 and April 1 is Census Day. Fill out the form, mail it back and no one will knock on your door.

    The important news to know right now is that the that the Census Bureau is hiring census workers and census takers NOW.

    They want people in the neighborhoods to be the ones to knock on doors of their neighbors, so if you want to do this for your neighborhood, you can apply now to go through the screening process and training before the May-July door knocking time comes. Again, you will only be knocking on the doors of people who don’t fill out the forms and mail them back.

    The local U.S. Census office in Manassas is on Liberia Ave and the phone number is 703-881-4650 for hiring and training. The pay is $10 to $20 an hour for this temporary work.

    The Constitution requires that the Census Bureau deliver population counts to the President by Dec. 31, 2010 and the Census Bureau completes delivery of redistricting data to the states by March 2011. That’s the important part for us, so anything anyone can do to help get the word out to have everyone fill out their forms and be counted helps our jurisdictions.

    One more note — Confidentiality is mandatory. All 2010 Census information collected
    by the Census Bureau is confidential by law (Title 13, U.S. Code, Section 9). All Census Bureau employees, including the census workers who collect the address information and
    GPS coordinates, have taken a lifetime oath to protect confidentiality and are subject to a jail term, a fine – or both – for disclosing any information that could identify a respondent or household.

  7. IWK Manassas

    Taking this poster literally and really thinking about the story of Jesus’s birth, this poster misses the mark when speaking to someone of the Christian faith. The “don’t be afraid” tag line doesn’t make sense in this context, as Joseph was forced by the Romans to return to his hometown of Bethlehem to participate in the census because of Emperor Augustus’s decree. Considering Mary was pregnant, it probably wasn’t the most convenient or safe time for them to travel. Also, the family had to flee to Egypt after going to Bethlehem because Herod’s men were coming for them. Herod knew the Messiah had been born there because of the wise men and chief priests who informed him of the prophecy. Joseph had gone to Bethlehem because of the census and it did fulfill God’s propechy that the Messiah would be born from the house of David in Bethlehem. In that way, the census served an important purpose. A very sad part of the birth story is when Herod sent his henchmen into Bethlehem and killed all children aged two and under… most of whom they most likely had record of because of the census that had been taken. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph escaped to Egypt. This isn’t a very comforting story in relation to census taking.

  8. kelly3406

    Am I the only one that finds it sinister for a group acting on behalf of the government (and probably receiving federal funds although I cannot prove it yet) to use deeply held religious beliefs to accomplish the aims of government?

  9. Kelly, so far, yes. But I confessed that I hesitated to post this article and I waited until Christmas night. And I am not sure why exactly. So perhaps you are affirming my hesitancy.

    As far as Christianity goes, I don’t get proprietary at all. I take the ‘Good News’ message at its word. I sort of assumed that it was a message everyone could relate to when dealing with folks who might have come from countries where census is not take or not taken accurately. It also might be used for nefarious purposes.

    Am I sinister to wonder why some Americans want the Latino community to boycott the cenusus?

  10. IWK, argggghhh…I had not even thought of that aspect. You are right. How did they know? I had always just assumed magic…like the rest of the bible but that part is rather provable looking at history.

    So now we can expect to see Latinos running in fear of census takers because they have young children who they think will be killed by King Herod. Oh Geez.

  11. kelly3406

    I just find it very distasteful that a coalition that seems very anti-Christian (including the ACLU, ACORN, Secular Coalition for America, National Organization of Women) and has systematically worked to exclude Nativity Scenes, Crosses, and other Christian symbols from government-owned facilities would try to use Christianity to support the Census. This coalition is not purely private, since we do know that several of its member organizations receive federal dollars.

  12. I can only speak regardking NOW and ACLU. I don’t think that NOW is anti Christian nor do I know of any real efforts to remove Christian symbols from the public arena. ACLU isn’t anti Christian. It is pro separation of church and state. I know nothing at all about the other groups you named.

    What I don’t know or understand is the alliance with the association of elected Latinos. I would like to see a master roster of all groups belonging to

    I actually don’t have much of an opinion one way or the other on the use of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus to encouage participation with the census. I do think it is critical that everyyone be counted.

  13. Kelly, I just went and looked at the rogues gallery with that organization, It seemed to have every organization known to man in it. I even saw Presbyterians, Jews and Lutherans. I don’t think an civil rights organization that broad based should be expected to not touch religion.

  14. Firedancer

    I don’t even understand the poster. But since I know very little about Christianity, I might be missing something.

  15. Hi Firedancer,

    Mr. Firedancer can probably explain it better than I can.
    A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that everyone in Roman lands was to go to their home town to be counted. Joseph was decended from David so he went to Bethlehem from Nazareth to be counted. He took his betrothed with him, Mary, who was pregnant. She gave birth while in Bethlehem. The couple had to stay in a stable because there was no room in the inns. I guess Bethlehem was King David’s home town.

    However, IWK might be on to a dark side of the census.

    I hope this helps.

  16. Where are Rick and Second Alamo? I hope they are out of town for the holidays and not mad at us.

  17. Firedancer

    MH, Oh now I get it!! I had absolutely no idea what the reference to the census was. Mr. Firedancer didn’t have much of a religious upbringing either, so I think I’ll quiz him just to see…lol. But wow, IWK’s analysis is very interesting. Whoever thought of that campaign didn’t think it through…or consult with anyone who knew about these things.

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