From San Jose Mercury News:
ST. LOUIS — “Dear Pastor,” the letter began. “The U.S. Census Bureau needs your assistance, as community leaders, to help us fill crucial positions in order to carry out a fair and accurate count in the 2010 Census.”
The March 10 letter was sent by the Rev. James Morris, pastor of Lane Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Louis, who also represents the 58th Missouri House district as a Democrat.
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Morris’ letter asked pastors to recruit people in their congregations to apply for census jobs.
“This will help in providing your community with its just share of federal resources,” Morris wrote.
U.S. Census forms began arriving in mailboxes last week, and census officials are asking people to fill out the 10 questions on the form and mail it back by April 1. Those homes that don’t send the form back by then can expect a visit from an “enumerator,” a census worker who will go door-to-door asking the same questions that are on the original form. Morris wants to make sure those temporary jobs — which start at $17 per hour — are filled by people in his neighborhoods.
The Rev. Anthony Witherspoon, pastor of Washington Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in St. Louis, received Morris’ letter, and took it to heart.
“He asked us to tell the people what the census is for, and to spread the word that this is an important thing for our community,” Witherspoon said.
So he’s doing his part — discussing the census with congregation members, and printing census materials in Washington Metropolitan’s bulletin.