Adventist Church Advertises Its Opposition to Gay Marriage and More News Shorts

Australia's Hervey Bay Adventists Advertise Their Opposition to Gay Marriage. Hervey Bay's Seventh-day Adventist Church members in Australia have taken a stand against gay marriage with a sign in front of the church reading "God designed marriage between a man and a woman" while the other side reads "Vote Y or N? See bible chs: Gen 1&2: Lev 18: Rom 1 & Jude." Church member Heather Paynter said, "We could get backlash; I don't know, but down in Brisbane, the gay people have been putting on shows and marches and that kind of thing which I think they were wrong in doing that. If they don't get their way, I reckon there will be a bit of strife. [I] feel the minority are overruling everybody else, [and] they're trying to force their opinion on everyone. If God was comfortable with [gay marriage], then I would be comfortable with it." Despite her views, Paynter said she was in no way seeking conflict and did not treat the gay community any differently in a social environment. In a statement to the Chronicle, the Seventh-day Adventist Church said that it supported the legal definition of marriage and that any changes to the law should not be treated lightly. "We believe everyone should have the right to speak up on this important issue without the fear of bullying or intimidation," the statement read. "We encourage healthy and respectful debate, while understanding that not everyone will agree with our point of view." The statement went on to say despite seeking to retain the current legal definition of marriage, it should not be misinterpreted as being unsympathetic to those with differing views and as Christians, they were committed to recognizing all people are valuable to God. From the Fraser Coast Chronicle, “Clear cut sign: Local church says no to same sex marriage.”


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2017/10/04/adventist-church-advertises-its-opposition-gay-marriage-and-more-news-shorts

Hervey Bay is in the state of Queensland in Australia, rather than in Florida.

I wonder what the church is ultimately hoping to achieve effectively by it’s statement on the church noticeboard. The spokeswoman is basically saying “everyone is welcome here” by her words, but a sign like this is already telling a number of people that this is a place not to visit.

There is a notion that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the real crunch time is when someone who is gay and in a relationship attends the church. That is where it is not just an opinion to agree or disagree about. Will the person or couple really be welcome not just by words, or will they feel second class and silenced or not really wanted.

Many Christians and denominations are known for their opposition to LGBTQI+ people. That reputation may be not true. In Australia, earlier this year before the public national political debate kicked off, it was reported that two thirds of Catholics were considered to be accepting of gay marriage and about 60% of evangelicals, regardless of official denominational statement. Many of those voting NO in the current government voluntary postal poll say they are ok with gay people but not calling their union marriage. Many Christians in opposition are claiming marriage to be a Christian term and telling gay people to have their own ceremonies and equivalent of marriage, but not to call it marriage.

I look forward to the day when christians are known for the way they will work with everyone to have more loving and happier relationships. Don’t we want more love in society? Don’t we want all people to get along better in their relationships and friendships and to find ways to have more peace and harmony and learn how to treat people better and deal with conflicts more effectively? Or would we prefer that only people like most of us have healthier happier friendships that may well develop into deeper relationships, and wish that everyone else suffers and doesn’t have better relationships?

Or are we willing to keep condemning some people and refusing to help some people to be more effective in their deepening friendships? Or are we going to be known for doing really great relationships work but making sure we put disclaimers of all the people we don’t want to help: "We will help you be healthier and happier in your relationships - but not if you had sex before marriage, don’t keep the Sabbath, are committed to another denomination or religion, are in a committed relationship but not married, don’t believe our doctrines, work in industries we don’t agree with, eat and drink things we are against, don’t intend on being open to being baptised (because really our seminars and assistance is primarily to get you in the door and on the baptismal track somewhere down the track)?


Peter, it’s interesting how different people get different perspectives in this media diverse world. My experience on social media (I mostly avoid television and newspapers) has been one of YES people mostly speaking kindly and pleading for treating each side decently, with a small number of NO people (which includes Adventists) attacking with viciousness and abusive language. The other theme I see is repeated “case studies” which “prove” the catastrophes of the YES vote overseas which on investigation many of which aren’t what they are being trumped up to be.

SDAism may be theoretically an open communion with welcome to all but for my SDA LGTQ friends (let alone those who aren’t SDA) many know in many ways from subtle to blatant in words, vibes and actions that church and church community are not really welcoming places unless they deceive the congregation and hide who they are. If they stay they always need to be wary, put up their defences when anti gay words are spoken and secretly find a few allies with whom they are safe.

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Danielle,

We meet again! I agree with you that there are probably better ways to persuade people about an issue with such a huge load of emotional baggage than to anticipate that short sound bites will be positively received. And we certainly practice open communion as Adventist. All people are welcome to worship our great God together. We do want people to meet Him and His Word before having to cope with any stacatto messages coming from us.

Yet Heather Paynter, wife of a retired Conference Administrator, is to be congratulated for doing more than most in the church in Australia to speak to this contemporary issue.

The Australian Same Sex Marriage Debate has been interesting. A respectful and substantial information campaign, much of it on social media, supporting the NO camp has often been punctuated and intersected by shrill presentations largely formed from short sound bites from the YES campaign. Or at least that is how I have experienced it.

The NO campaign have highlighted the radical social engineering and huge and totally foreseeable negative consequences of embracing Same Sex Marriage. There an inevitable slide toward a new Dark Age of political correctness, significant and unwarranted limitations on freedom of religion and freedom of speech and a real and ever present social engineering where young children are taught that their gender is fluid. And a real secularizing agenda whose ultimate aim is to destroy even a mimumal presence of Christian morals that once were the foundation of our Judeo-Christian legal framework.

Interestingly, the spokespeople for the NO campaign are almost all not Christian leaders of any description but lawyers and lobbyists who think from cause to effect.

@adykstra
Australian Adventists were sucessful to a remarkable degree in prompting the architects of the Australian Constitution to enshrine some valuable religious freedom protections c. late 1890’s. At our best Australian Adventists still have an interest in measures to support religious freedom for all. Australian are presently being invited to engage themselves in voting their support or otherwise for gay marriage without the benefit of knowing exactly what protections will be enshrined in the legislation for ministers of religion, bakers, cake decorators, and florists to name a few of the people whose religious freedom has been put under threat in other legal jurisdictions.

Romans 14 tells us that the government has a role to minister righteousness to its citizens. Legislators have a legitimate interest in creating laws that accord with the great principles of the last 6 of the 10 commandments. Western democracies were founded within the legal framework built from within a Judeo-Christian worldview. We stand in Australia in 2017 on the cusp of a slippery slope into a new Dark Age of political correctness, and also a massive erosion of freedom of speech and of religion. The Australian Parliament have not flagged any of their intentions in terms of freedom protections within any future legislation.

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I will absolutely agree with the Hervey Bay SDA church position, that God designed marriage between a man and a women:

When I see their members offering up their favorite daughters/nieces/granddaughters to marry gay men in their congregation!

I think most parents would veto their daughter unwittingly marrying a closeted gay guy! These marriages usually end in divorce!

So if they will not back up their position that sign should come down!

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i’m actually quite startled to see this kind of bulletin board put up by an adventist church, which i’m assuming is a mainstream congregation made up of reasonable, balanced people…they must feel inundated, and that their backs are against the wall, to go to such extreme lengths…

generally, this kind of subject is best handled quietly, and behind the scenes, and at a pace people can handle…i can’t imagine that any gay person, in seeing this bulletin board, would ever think to attend this church…hervey bay sda church is also cutting itself off from any ministry to straight people who may sympathize with gay rights, not to mention possible tourists who are simply looking for a peaceful, restful church experience while they’re in the area…i don’t think this is a winning formula…

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This is an issue of civil law. Australia will no more force Adventist churches to marry same-sex couples than it will be forced to marry divorcees or members to non-members. Historically we have kept out of issues of civil law. Think of how annoyed we would be if the sign said the proposed change to civil law was in violation of the Koran. Think how we would protest if the sign had said “Sunday is the Lord’s Day: write to _______to demand all stores be closed.” We would be right to protest because it imposes one religious view upon others. We are free to hold our religious views, but we behave like Babylon when we seek help from the state enforcing them.

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UInfortunately this happened and - I suppose, looking at the procuration policy of some youth secretaries - still happens.
today. Decades ago : "Well, now you have given yourt heart to Jesus. Just marry, you know, “The appetite comes with eating.” It was a horror party for both trough 40 years - of course in the closet. I was present at her only outcry after thirty years “Isnt it my right to be embaced by a man at leas tonce in my life ?”

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I’ve got a message for their sign that would make just as much sense:

“God designed marriage between a naked man and a naked woman”?

Would they expect that to discourage wedding gowns and tuxedos?

Slowly, but surely, without any trumpet sound or fanfare, the doors against evangelism are closing around the world. Those doors are being closed, not by the Beast, but by the soft and gentle hands of political correctness. You cannot preach against Judaism, Islam, homosexuality, the second amendment, abortion, … marijuana use, being obese, pedophilia … because the words you might use might hurt the feelings of those who have a right to who they want to be and the things they practice. Mat. 5:13

It’s truly amazing that, contrariwise, the close of probation should happen in our age of freedom and openness; but so it is happening. It’s as if the world itself were publicly and solemnly digging its own grave, digging deeper and deeper, singing all the while:

He who is unjust, let him be unjust still;
He who is filthy, let him be filthy still;
He who is righteous, let him be righteous still;
He who is holy, let him be holy still.

Every man in his own order.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.

///

Although i answered "Yes’ for the Voluntary, non-binding Postal Survey, (the Parliament need not take any notice of the survey results, either way), I applaud the Hervey Bay church (100km north of me) in couching an opinion in terms of religious understanding and faith statement. This contrasts with most of the material I have seen from those purporting to speak for Christianity (ACL, Coalition for Marriage, Safe Schools Coalition) who have avoided sharing their Christian belief/faith, and instead warned of the imagined apocalyptic results. It has disturbed me that outright lying (claims that have been checked and found to be made up), and scare tactics have been considered valid Christian behaviour. Indeed this problem has been responded to by some bishops, ministers, theologians, publicly stating that that those campaigners “do not speak for the Christian church in Australia”.

The Proposed change to the marriage act which is an entirely civil act (references to religions are in providing for ministers of religion to be legal celebrants, along with ships captains and civil celebrants etc). The current main effect of this law is that unmarried couples (same sex or heterosexual) do not have next of kin status. Marriage trumps (sorry) family for next of kin status. The proposed change will enable the attainment of this status if wished to be availed of. (note there are many heterosexual common law marriages (de facto) which exist in Australia, but the choice to manage next of kin status is a choice they can currently make).

All the slippery slope thin edge of the wedge don’t know where this will lead issues that have been raised are ALL CURRENTLY LEGAL, and have been for decades. The Postal Survey has given those who are unhappy with the past to say so again.

Yes they should have kept quiet and not made a scene and just went along with the status quo. What were they thinking right? reminds of three Hebrew boys who shunned the norm right? but “quietly behind the scenes” with your tail between your legs is your winning formula?