Consider . . .

Last Sabbath, the Adventist Church celebrated Religious Liberty Day. The principle of religious liberty is at the core of our ethos as Seventh-day Adventists. You could say that it is a part of our denominational DNA. Our status as a minority faith, even in comparison to other Christians, further underscores our emphasis on this important element of the religious and spiritual experience. So the church celebrates religious liberty as a means of protection but also as an obligation to advocacy, for ourselves and other groups who are similarly situated. It seems, however, that our understanding of religious liberty is moving away from these tried-and-true principles. It behooves us to be reminded of what religious liberty should be—and what it is not.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Adventists have had to contend not just with employers but with other Christian groups as well. Those believers who now lobby to deny the right to abortion or lobby to ensure public funds can be funneled to parochial schools which teach their religion, see religious liberty as protecting their interests and no one else’s.


SDAs are distributed on a spectrum. On the left end of the spectrum are those SDAs who are law-abiding, rational, and productive citizens of the community. On the right end of the spectrum are those who have been radicalized, such as David Koresh (an offshoot with an SDA background) and his cult followers.

SDA antivaxxers are not quite as radicalized as Koresh and his cult followers but are situated on the far-right end of the spectrum. SDA antivaxxers claim that the “right of personal conscience” justifies disobedience of vaccine mandates. And these SDAs have a conspiratorial mindset. Similarly, Koresh and his cult followers believed that their “right of personal conscience,” informed by their interpretation of Scripture, is a justification for statutory rape and polygamy. And they, too, had a conspiratorial mindset. Koresh and his cult members died as a result of their radicalized views. Some SDA antivaxxers, including some members of Village SDA Church in Berrien Springs influenced by disinformation from the pulpit, have also died (from COVID-19) as a result of their radicalized views.

If SDA antivaxxers were sufficiently rational, you could engage them with some thought experiments that demonstrate that gibbering “right of personal conscience” and “religious liberty” and attaching to that gibberish Bible texts like ornaments on a tree is not a viable, cogent, and intelligent argument. These jingles open the door to violating any law with impunity. Instead, other means of persuasion, such as “pre-butting” anticipated radicalized views and finding ways to elevate the self-esteem of those who have been radicalized (because of their low self-esteem), are what is recommended in the literature.

There has always been a spirit of rebellion and lawlessness in the SDA DNA. We cannot change that. But we should try to minimize and tame the radicalization of thought that is occurring in various SDA communities.


Well articulated, Jason. Thank you for this clear and explicit review of true religious liberty.


Most Christians-as well as the minority of the world’s population who know anything at all about it-consider Adventism a radicalized version of Christianity.

An attempt to minimize or prevent hyper-radicalization of some members of a group that is already obsessive about their religion is like asking, “How do we stop some of these race car drivers from wanting to go faster?”

But beyond that, it seems essentially illogical to expect rational thought at a website where a majority of the readers are predisposed to believe in unobserved phenomenon such as talking animals, worldwide floods, supernatural realms, revivification of dead organisms, etc.


And then there’s Jorden Walker, head of the covid program at Pfizer, claiming that covid is a “cash cow” for the foreseeable future; in fact, signalling interest in something similar to the Chinese “gain of function” project. (video found on Bing, Walker/cash cow). “Follow the money”, yet again.


I’m glad you’ve figured it all out, placing Adventists into three neat packages - right in line with the current “identity politics” where people are no longer seen as complex individuals, but judged as part of a package. It’s dehumanizing and unchristian.

Maybe I’ve been out of the Adventist “loop” too long not to be aware of all the radicalized Adventist groups who are “violating laws with impunity”. When they start making laws requiring injecting myself with whatever the drug companies see as “cash cows” count me among the radicalized.

For your information - I got my initial shots - what group do I fit into?


it isn’t only christians who have this problem…exhibit A would be Canada’s Trucker Convoy, that disrupted trade at a critical time, and subjected the citizens of Ottawa to unbelievable inconvenience and even hardship (some of the truckers actually set up temporary hot tubs, and treated the whole thing like one grand holiday)…i actually think christian anti-vaxxers, adventists in particular, get their queues from society all around them…

nobody ever thinks of anyone else…it’s always me, myself and i…i think Village Church has a lot of self-reflection to do…

What is the “village church” doing that’s so abhorrent? My guess is its members are older and not as cool as campus church.

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If you’re thinking of school vouchers where the money follows the child into whatever school they wish to attend. That seems like a perfect idea.

Village Church has been something of an epicentre for the anti-vax/freedom of conscience mvt in our church…in fact they’ve practically implied that our GC has been in collusion with the Mark of the Beast…during the early days of the pandemic, when covid was generally dangerous, i saw people i went to school with, who seemed reasonable at the time, say the most outlandish things from Village Church pulpit…i have actually wondered if they even believed what they were saying…the situation has been extreme, to say the least…

my guess is most students go to PMC due to convenience, which would tilt the demographics somewhat, but as a kid, and undergrad, i often went to Village Church…it was much different, much more mainstream, then…it’s probably beyond rescue now…Magaventism has shown a strong affinity for disaster in my view…

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I thought you went to AUC?

Was there a law? There were restrictions by public forums and events; if cannot prove vaccination, cannot enter or attend. I thought it was left up to each individual. I got all the shots and told nothing, except date and time if I wished an appt. Was it different where you are?

i went to AUC, PUC and Andrews for undergrad, but i grew up in the Andrews area…i went to Junior High there, before transferring to Pioneer Valley Academy for Academy in Massachusettes (since defunct), and ultimately SLA in the AUC area…

i’ve been around… :wink:

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I was thinking of recent legislation in some states that public funds for education/teachers may go to private religious schools.
This has always been a murky area for SDA’s. Church needs to clarify where it really stands on some of these things.


Not “three neat packages” but a spectrum, as I wrote. This should not seem “dehumanizing and unchristian” as it is mere rudimentary sociology, but the radicalized tend to perceive themselves as victims.

Any classification stops dialogue. In the real world we don’t get very nuanced to see a “spectrum” of social categories. Once it’s determined that you agree with even one aspect of a group, you are categorized and labelled. It happens here on a regular basis as well. As soon as questions were voiced about the covid vaccine, out comes the “anti-vax” label. As it has turned out, vaccine or no vaccine, people get covid.


but it’s just a fact that vaccinated individuals were hospitalized, ICU’d and dead less often than unvaccinated individuals:


When are we going to give this TRUMP fixation a rest. Don’t you know you can make statistics to come out whatever way you need to. Geech! Like everyone is having such a great time without him.


“As it has turned out, vaccine or no vaccine, people get covid.” What is your point? People keep saying this, but I don’t understand them. A vaccine is not a cure, but it is to lessen a disease by building up the immune system to something it has not seen. Oh, and by the way to reduce the numbers of death related directly or indirectly and severity.