“(The Lord) said to Moses: ‘Count all the Israelites. List the name of each man with
his family and his family group.’” ~Numbers 1:1b-2
It’s 2020, a year ending in a zero, and the U.S. Census is underway.
Counting the people of a nation stretches back through human history, including the Lord’s command to Moses in the book of Numbers to count the Israelites, listing each man with his family and family group.
Our own U.S. Constitution directs Congress to number the people, one of the relatively few powers specifically delegated to the federal government. Yet the Census has become controversial and polarizing in our country, with many questioning whether they should participate or how the results could impact them—presumably negatively.
You might be wondering the same thing, which is why I want to encourage you that participating in the census is as much a part of biblical citizenship as voting or serving on a jury.
As Americans, we have inherited a birthright of freedom and self-government, both of which depend upon our active and ongoing engagement. In fact, there are many positive and truly critical aspects of the census—ones that the family of believers in America should not ignore:
- Every vote counts: One of the most significant aspects of the census is that it is used to redistribute Congressional seats between the states based on population—and as we’ve learned in recent presidential elections, that representation also determines the number of Electoral College votes each state has. We know the Electoral College is critical for ensuring smaller and more rural states are not just “flyover country.”
- Every person counts: Another extremely important aspect of the census is that state and federal legislative districts will be re-drawn based on where populations are located within each state. We know elections have consequences, and the state legislators who are elected this November will use the Census data to redraw legislative districts that will impact election outcomes for the next decade. If areas with lots of conservative, pro-family people are under-represented because of low Census participation, that will likely mean other areas get more legislators—who in turn will be less likely to hold pro-family values.
- Every dollar counts: The census is also used to determine where over $675 billion in federal funding—for services such as schools, hospitals and fire departments—will be allocated. Funding for rural areas is especially dependent on accurate Census data.
Please engage in our system of government in this year’s Census—as a reflection of your faith, as a good citizen and as someone who loves your neighbors as yourself. Our participation will affect our ability to influence elections and, therefore, the policies advanced or opposed as a result of those elections.
For better or worse, our families and our values will be impacted by this Census—so let’s unleash our biblical citizenship so that we can ensure that impact is for the better, for a nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.
Standing for the family of believers,
Chief Operating Officer