Four Seventh-Day Adventist Mail Carriers In Loma Linda, California Forced To Violate Their Faith And Deliver Mail On Saturday, Or Lose Their Jobs, As Mail Delivery Is Changed From Sunday To Saturday
Contact Alan J. Reinach, Esq. 805-231-0890, firstname.lastname@example.org
In April, 2011, the United States Postal Service ended an eighty year old tradition by changing the mail delivery date from Sunday to Saturday in Loma Linda, California, one of three Seventh-day Adventist communities where mail is delivered on Sunday. Because mail is delivered on Sunday, the Loma Linda Post Office has attracted Seventh-day Adventists seeking to avoid Saturday work to observe the Sabbath. Four of the fifteen mail carriers in Loma Linda are Adventists.
The decision has broad impact, not only on the individual mail carriers but on their churches and the entire community. One of the mail carriers serves as an elder and teaches a Bible class. The requirement that he begin working on some Saturdays undermines his standing within the church community, and jeopardizes his leadership role and reputation. According to another mail carrier, Ruth Gomez, many businesses in Loma Linda, including banks, close on Saturday out of respect for the Adventists. Now that the post office is delivering mail, she fears other businesses will open on Saturday, changing the character of the entire community.
“The decision to deliver mail on Saturday was outrageous,” claims Alan J. Reinach, Esq., Executive Director of the Church State Council, who is representing the four mail carriers. “For a government agency to make such a decision in blatant disregard for the impact on its own workers, who are known to be Adventist, and on the religious community which is the reason for the tradition in the first place, is illegal and discriminatory and cannot be permitted to stand.”
In Colonial America, mail was delivered seven days a week, even over protests from the Christian community which unsuccessfully petitioned Congress in the 1820s to end Sunday mail delivery. When Sunday mail delivery was stopped, it was out of respect for the dominant Christian practice of resting on Sunday. In the early part of the twentieth century, three Adventist college towns secured Sunday mail delivery in place of Saturday delivery. Sunday delivery remains in Angwin, California and in Collegedale, Tennessee.
“If the decision is allowed to stand in Loma Linda,” Reinach mused, “can similar actions be far behind in Angwin and Collegedale? How many more Adventists will be forced to choose between their faith and their job in this dismal economic climate, by their own government, no less?”