But they can’t, because they don’t freakin’ live in Utah.

But I wish they did. Hey, has anyone noticed a marked increase in these drones from Utah in South Minneapolis lately? What do they think they are goig to accomplish there?

Anyway:

SALT LAKE CITY – The U.S. Census Bureau has told Utah’s elected leaders it won’t count Mormon missionaries serving overseas in the nation’s next head count.

Census Bureau officials, rejecting Utah’s lobbying efforts for the better part of a decade, say there’s no way to reliably count the overseas missionaries.

Utah leaders say the omission cost the state an extra congressional seat in 2000, when the state fell just 857 people short of receiving the last available slot in the U.S. House. (msbnc)

Missionaries. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Actually, we can live without ‘em.

Comments

  1. #1 Jason Sexton
    August 18, 2009

    We’ve seen a couple of them wandering around in the Prior Lake area SW of the Cities.

  2. #2 Martin
    August 18, 2009

    I’m assuming that this is similar to the way that the Census Bureau treats students studying abroad, people working long-term assignments overseas, and military personnel stationed outside the US. Nevertheless, how long until someone claims that the missionaries are being singled out because of their religion? Counting 10…9…8…

  3. #3 Henry Harpending
    August 18, 2009

    Spray a repellant containing deet liberally around your front door, especially near the doorbell.

  4. #4 Buffalodavid
    August 18, 2009

    Hey, I live in Utah and I say, don’t count em. It will just add more republicans to the congressional mix.

    I live in Southern Ut, where the non-LDS are outnumbered by about 99 to one. And I get missionaries at my front door. Can you imagine? You look forward your whole life to going somewhere exotic in the world, where there are lots heathens to save, and you get sent to Tropic Ut. HA!

  5. #5 anon
    August 18, 2009

    The Census Bureau does count military personnel outside the US and other “federally affliated” types. One of the reasons for this is that if the federal government sent you out of the country, they can probably find you to count you.

    To be fair, Utah doesn’t just want missionaries counted. They want all Americans living abroad counted. They just have a very high number of those people.

    The biggest problem with trying to count them is that 1) it’s really expensive and 2) not many people answer. For more details that anyone could hope to ever read on this see http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-04-898

  6. #6 Phillip IV
    August 18, 2009

    How about a compromise? As a little memento to the Mormon church’s racist “past”, the Census Bureau could offer to count their missionaries as 3/5 of a person…

  7. #7 cjs
    August 18, 2009

    The Census is to determine voting districts. So, Mormon missionaries as well as US students abroad, etc. don’t get counted. I guess that is fair enough as long as one group is not singled out. But, illegal immigrants do get counted. I’m not so sure how fair that is. Is it logical to apportion voting weight with non US citizens being part of the count? These illigal immigrants are not paying income tax, not voting, but those US citizens abroad are. Back to the Mormons and counting missionaries. There are Mormon missionaries from other countries that come and serve their mission in the US. Will they be counted. I assume that goes also for other foreign students coming to college here, etc. By counting illegal immigrants, I suspect that the east and west coasts will benefit more than the middle of the US.

  8. #8 anon
    August 18, 2009

    No counting illegal immigrants would require a constitutional change since the constitution requires a count of all “persons.” It’s not an administrative decision or law.

    Counting or not counting American’s who live out of the country is not a constitutional one, but an administrative or legislative one.

    Administrative or legislative change is much easier than constitutional change.

  9. #9 cjs
    August 18, 2009

    Thank you for that information. I wonder how they count all the missionaries at the Mission Training Center in Utah? If the forms are received say on June 1st and to be completed by July 1st, what happens to those missionaries at the training center in Utah at that time, because they likely will not be back in their home state for 1.5 to 2 years.

  10. #10 Seth Payne
    August 18, 2009

    “Drones from Utah …”

    What insightful commentary. These are young men and women who voluntarily, and at their own expense go out and proselyte, yes , but also engage in countless service projects in communities throughout the world.

    So you don’t agree with their religion … when they knock on your door just say “no thanks.”

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    August 18, 2009

    Seth: They don’t knock at my door anymore. But they do accost me on the street which is actually often a violation of local ordinance, so my preference is to see them arrested as criminals. But since they are missionaries rather than panhandlers, they won’t be arrested because even in the liberal city of Minneapolis being linked to god …. even the whacky Mormon God, gets you a pass.

    As for their works over seas, that should all be illegal and is in fact illegal in many countries. Being illegal has not stopped them from carrying out misionizing acts, and when they do so, they should be arrested by local authorities and tossed in prison.

  12. #12 Seth Payne
    August 18, 2009

    Criminals??

    I live in NYC — and get “accosted” by people on the street all the time. Just say “no thanks.”

    Certainly I agree that Missionaries should follow local laws.

  13. #13 Monika
    August 18, 2009

    ACK! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    So that’s why those guys are showing up in Hamburg, Germany so much lately! Just today two of them tried to talk to me about their invisible friend! And one of them was from the US.

    Take them back! We don’t want them! They are annoying!

  14. #14 Monado, FCD
    August 18, 2009

    Bone up on some obscure god or, better yet, goddess and insist on explaining everything you know and explain that their lives won’t be complete until they worship her.

    It used to be enough to open the door and say “I give blood” but now they say that they don’t care.

    Or you can get a sign that says “No religious proselytizing,” no salescritters, no charities.”

    If they approach you on the street, I’m afraid you’re stuck with whatever you’d tell any sidewalk seducer.

  15. #15 Joshua Zelinsky
    August 18, 2009

    Is it really that annoying? I really enjoy it when missionaries approach me on the street. They are really fun to talk to and argue with. The main problem I have is that it seems like they show up mainly when I’m in a hurry. Almost as if there is some sort of deity that’s decided to ruin my fun…

  16. #16 Mike from Ottawa
    August 20, 2009

    But, illegal immigrants do get counted. I’m not so sure how fair that is. Is it logical to apportion voting weight with non US citizens being part of the count? These illigal immigrants are not paying income tax, not voting

    I’m pretty sure a larger group of non-voting, non-income-tax-paying people are counted. Or does the US census not count children? And illegal immigrants, as you concede, do pay sales taxes and excise taxes.

    BTW, the reason people like members of foreign services and militaries and their families accompanying them are generally treated as still being resident in their home country rather than the country they’re currently living in isn’t to do with ease of counting but to do with the fact they are in a foreign country at the behest of their own country and only so long as it pleases their own country to have them in foreign lands.

  17. #17 Mike from Ottawa
    August 20, 2009

    As for their works over seas, that should all be illegal and is in fact illegal in many countries. Being illegal has not stopped them from carrying out misionizing acts, and when they do so, they should be arrested by local authorities and tossed in prison.

    That’s generally in countries where things like converting from Islam to atheism is also illegal. How thin is the veneer of your principles.

    Don’t like the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses at your door? Just say ‘No thanks.’ and close the door.

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    August 20, 2009

    Seth [12]: I hope you realize, then, that if all the missionaries followed local laws, missionaries from the US would have to withdraw from about a third of the countries that they are working in today. As for following local laws where they work, missionaries routinely don’t. They freely admit (many do) that they answer to a higher power, and the distained local government (from the point of view of the missionary) is not anything but a nuisance.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    August 20, 2009

    If they approach you on the street, I’m afraid you’re stuck with whatever you’d tell any sidewalk seducer.

    Know your local laws. In certain places (and this is often by local regulation) if you are not moving someone can not accost you. So, if they start to come over to you, stop and look around like you are lost or looking for someone. They have to stop. They can’t talk to you. THen, when you start walkig, if they waited for you, they can come at you again, but then you can stop again.

    This is tricky because a person can accost you and ask to talk to you, and if you acknowledge this and stop, THEN they can talk to you. So you always have to turn away when you stop so you are not showing a sign of acknowledging them.

    I used to play this game with a guy in Harvard Square all the time.

    Josh [15] Last summer, I had relatives visiting, we ended up coming from a Mn Atheist event with the producer of Mn Atheist talk radio, the host of Mn Atheist talk radio, the head of Mn Atheist (I think he was there) and some other people. We hit the streets in Whittier, South Minneapolis (the neighborhood in question) and were instantly accosted by a group of a half dozen mormons. Most of us could do nothing but ROSLOAO (S=street)

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    August 20, 2009

    You totally want illegal immigrants to be counted. They use infrastructure and pay taxes. Imagine a hypothetical state with 1,000,000 US citizens. They get one congressmember. Now, add 300,000 illegal immigrants that you count. They now get two congressmembers.

    You’d have to be a a total morman, I mean moron, to not want your local illegals counted.

  21. #21 Greg Laden
    August 20, 2009

    That’s generally in countries where things like converting from Islam to atheism is also illegal. How thin is the veneer of your principles.

    Yes, those countries typically have anti-missoinary laws, but so do other countries. My principles are just fine, thank you. My experience with missionaries is that they routinely ignore local law in all ways that are convenient to them. And, I fully object to systematic, well funded proselytizing, especially when it comes to trading “souls” for food and medicine. I am not worried by he mormons at my door. I’m worried about other things regarding missionaries.

  22. #22 Ben Smith
    December 20, 2009

    Ugh, missionaries should be illegal? Mission work is, for many people, a fundamental part of practicing their religion, so that would constitute a violation of freedom of religious worship, freedom of speech, expression, etc etc. I’m with the missionaries on the ignoring unjust laws like those which suppress freedom of speech and worship, though my ‘higher power’ is the aforementioned individual freedoms, not any personal god.
    Those freedoms are upheld in the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, rightly signed by ALL nations, aside from a few gross violators like Myanmar and Saudi Arabia. The world would do well to protect these rights, even if it means a few more missionaries floating around. Punish the direct harm they do to people, not the proselytising itself.

  23. #23 Stephanie Z
    December 20, 2009

    Ben, you think the right to worship however one desires trumps the rights of nations to determine who may enter those countries for what purpose? What other laws do religious freedoms trump? You’re good with forced marriage of young girls and women to religious leaders? You’re good with the exposure of children to poisonous snakes and infectious agents? The denial of health care to minors? The teaching that condoms don’t help stop the transmission of HIV? You’re good with the killing of witches?

    The International Covenant itself states, “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.” All the things I’ve listed above are examples where the religious rights of one person come into conflict with the public safety and health rights of others. They’re all examples taken from proselytizing faiths. There are excellent human rights reasons to deny the entry of missionaries to one’s country.

  24. #24 lynn
    February 13, 2010

    You guys are right missionaries shouldn’t be allowed to practice their religion. They should be locked up because they practice something you disagree with and possibly whipped. How dare they practice freedom of religion and freedom of speech. I say hang them all. You and all your friends are right we need to bring back hitler and his cronies they would show those missionaries?

    Sig Hiel

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