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God Sends Pestilence as Punishment for Census

by James on March 23, 2010

 This week I received my 2010 Census form in the mail. I should feel pumped about it because I saw the expensive Super Bowl ads and hear the radio ads almost daily. This is supposed to be a big community building event (on par with the World's Fair) that will not only make each person feel unique and important, it will insure your community get its fair share of federal funds.

 It's hard to believe some people would resist participating in this exciting event, but it happens. It turns out that there are a great many people (particularly poor minorities) who fear that it is dangerous to give the government this sort of information. Yet, the $11 billion project pushes particularly hard to count these groups. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has assured everyone that people who are living in the U.S. illegally have nothing to fear because immigration enforcement is not part of the census project. As if that's all the data could be used for...

 So why is it so imperative that illegal immigrants be counted in the first place? The population size determines how many seats a state gets in the House. The number of seats grows even if the additional population is not eligible to vote. This means that immigration-friendly states like California become even more important in Presidential elections. When the last Census was done in 2000, California picked up six seats. The Census project, therefore, becomes a highly political process with a lot of power to gain depending on the results.

 I'm not recommending that anyone refuse to send back the census form. You could get fined and there's very little private information on it anyway. In fact, this census form has fewer questions than the one from 2000. There is, however, a Biblical episode to consider as you're mailing the form back.

 As recorded in 2 Sam 24 and 1 Chron 21, King David took a census of the Hebrew people living in Israel and Judah. The purpose was to give the king guidance in levying taxes and to count all the able-bodied men who could serve in the military. The census was successful but it brought God's wrath upon David.

 Luke 12:7 tells us that we belong to God and he knows us. Every hair on our head is counted. The idea of counting something symbolizes ownership. King David probably didn't have a copy of the New Testament, but he apparently understood that counting the people would be considered an act of pride because the people belonged to God, not the kingdom. Even his general Joab warned him against such an action.

 When the census was complete, David regretted his decision and sought atonement from the Lord. The Lord spoke through the prophet Gad giving King David three punishments to choose from. He had a choice of three years of famine, three months of military retreat, or three days of pestilence.

 David selected the the pestilence, but after the Lord had sent the plague across the nation, David pleaded for mercy. “It is I who have sinned; it is I, the shepherd, who have done wrong.” The Lord then commanded David to build an altar and offer Him sacrifice. When David had done this the plagued left Israel.

 It is perhaps an irony that all the punishments were tied together by the number three. We too are bound by the number.  We have at least three more years of shenanigans to put up with.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Armiger Jagoe March 24, 2010 at 4:15 am

I’ll welcome three more years of shenanigans vs. the past eight years of (1) Iraq (to be recorded as the worst mistake in American history)
(2) The accumulation of our deficit, which is the largest in the world
(3) USA approval of torture.
(4) etc., etc., etc.
Armiger Jagoe, editor of The Joyful Catholic

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Mike March 24, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Then, Armiger, you will most certainly welcome the expansion of our benevolent Federal Government by at least 40%, to an estimated 28% of GDP. You’ll also welcome, and have to get used to at the very least, deficits and national debt like to have never seen before. Your taxes will go way, way up to pay for all this and that thing called the economy, you know the elephant in the room, well that will just get worse and worse. Look on the bright side, though. We can always borrow more money from China. Hey, perhaps we can become a new Chinese territory? Their brand of capitalism seems to be doing better than ours . . .

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Joe March 26, 2010 at 9:41 am

As an interested outsider (not a resident or citizen of the US) I am curious, Amriger: has the US presence in Iraq been eliminated? Has the USA publicly denounced the “approval of torture” that you mention?

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Armiger Jagoe March 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm

In aswer to your questions, Joe, (1) the US presence in Iraq is still there and will remain there (note that we have built the world’s largest embassy complex in Bagdad–larger than the Vatican.
(2) On January 22, 2010, in his Executive Order (Ensuring Lawful Interrogations) President Obama revoked Bush’s Military Commissions Act of 2006, authorizing him (the executive) to hold so-called enemy combattants indefinitely and approving the obtaining testimony coerced through humiliating or regrading treatment.
Armiger

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