Sunday, March 14, 2010


The Census Bureau wants us to hurry up. At first they wanted the local counts in by March 22, which meant we actually had to finish by March 20 to get it in. Then they wanted it by the 20th, so that gave us till the 18th. Now they want it Tuesday, which means it needed to be finished today. On Friday they asked for all hands on deck, with all employees working all day both Saturday and Sunday.

I said no.

It's not that I refuse to do work on Sunday, or believe people shouldn't. I often have. I was a nurse. Hospitals don't close on Sunday, people don't take a day off from being sick. I worked. When I have worked in stores or gyms, if I was scheduled for Sunday, I worked. It gave someone else the day off, and usually it equalled out. And it's not as if all I'll do on Sunday is go to church and then spend the rest of the day reading the Bible. I go running on Sundays, and I'll run a marathon or do a triathlon on Sunday, thanking police officers and race volunteers for their help. I'll go to the store on Sunday, thankful others are working so I can get groceries I couldn't get during the week while I was working -- in fact, I went shopping after church today.

This is something totally different, though.

American citizens are Constitutionally assured the freedom to practice religion (or not) without government interference or restriction. Sunday is traditionally a religious holiday for Christians, and this is a heavily-Christian area of Maryland. Example: classified ads in the local newspaper are replete with the statement "No Sunday sales" whether the advertiser is selling a used car, homemade quilts, clothing alterations, or pit bull puppies. I felt sick in the gut at the idea of knocking on their doors with government business, interrupting the sanctuary of their day of rest and worship as if it were just like any other day. My own religious freedom is violated if I am required to intrude on that of others. I believe it is ethically objectionable for the government to make this intrusion or require its workers to make it.

I said no. I told them why. They gave my assignment to someone else. She came and picked up my paperwork and I told her how to get to the area and off she went.

I'm not fired. My supervisor said I was not the only one not accepting a Sunday assignment. I may be working tomorrow, if everything didn't get done today. And I'm still eligible for re-hire for the next round of operations.

Thankfully, our freedom (so far, anyway) does not allow termination of employment for religious belief, or for consideration of others' religious practices.


ShirleyPerly said...

Good for you standing up for what you believe in. I would find it very difficult to knock on people's doors too on Sundays.

Steve said...

Well done.I think you did the right thing.


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