June 1, 2010 by David Gillaspie
A Census Taker And A Jehovah Witness?
You know what I’m talking about; you’ve had them both at your door, or will have soon. If you have a door to knock on, they’ll both knock.
A Jehovah Witness knocks softly. It comes from having a copy of The Watchtower rolled up in their knocking hand. Hard to make a decent knuckle and avoid squeezing the goodness out of a Good Book reference.
The Census Taker knocks with a tight knuckle, whacks the metal door knocker, then the door bell, without leaving time for The Flash to answer the first knock. They go through another sequence before leaving their Notice of Visit.
Usain Bolt couldn’t get there fast enough.
If someone does answer, it’s more out of annoyance than it is being American.
On the other hand, the Jehovah Witness speaks from the heart. It can’t hurt to take a moment to talk about Jesus and God and the here-after on the front porch. Steer away from the religion-specific details of any belief and it’s almost relaxing to think of kind souls spreading the good word.
Census Takers speak from the heart too, but they need to take an oath to seal the deal, much like the oath U.S. Senators’ take:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”
Some of the same words come with the Soldier’s Oath:
“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
The Jehovah Witness’s religion does not permit them to take an oath in which they must swear faith or allegiance to any entity other than God. When one of the faithful knocks on your door, it is God’s work on earth.
Taking oaths, and not taking oaths, is important. You take an oath of allegiance to America:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation, or purpose of evasion; So help me God.”
If you’ve had jury duty, or been a witness, then you’ve raised your right hand. If you went to grade school during a certain era you said a Pledge of Allegiance every morning, though I’m not sure which is stronger, an oath or a pledge.
In a way the Census Taker and the Jehovah Witness both share a calling to a higher power. Both ask you to do more than you want to do. One asks you to examine your relationship to the higher power, the other asks you to participate in the business of America, of your state, your county, your town.
Which one is more important?
That’s where the hairs get split. Would a Census Taker trained by a Jehovah Witness do a better job?
They might be kinder and gentler, but it still depends on who opens the door. If you find a Census Taker on the stoop, show some compassion. These are temps in the field with a temporary administration, some on their first tour of government service.
Help them do a good job. It’s not too much to ask, is it?