Florida Adventist Teacher Fired after Revealing He Is Gay — and More News Shorts

In this week’s news round-up, sixth grade teacher Steven Arauz was fired after revealing he is gay, and more news from Loma Linda, Canada, Kenya, and Zambia.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/news/2020/florida-adventist-teacher-fired-after-revealing-he-gay-and-more-news-shorts

One of the striking aspects of the Florida case is the disparity between the church regard for hospitals and teachers. Mr. Tol reportedly has a salary of over $1.4 million while the teacher subsisted on $49k a year. The hospital donated $22,400 to the school total for a year and wonders what to do with all of the rest of their money. Maybe if the hospital did more to support the schools we would not be reading about government money being necessitated. And don’t get me started on the outright discrimination against this brother because he has a relationship with a man instead of a woman. That is discriminatory and unnecessary.


Maybe I missed it in the article, but was (is) Arauz in any homosexual relationship? Or was he fired just because he IS gay?

This makes a big difference. If the school superintendent is not properly educated on the “gay issue,” he may be acting as if Arauz chose to be gay instead of just being gay.

I am always appalled how bad decisions are made due to ignorance. I wonder if this is another case of the same…


The original article referenced the fact that he had a boyfriend…

But I will add, the SDA primary/secondary educational system is now out a superstar teacher, who was loved and respected by his students and colleagues.


Arauz should not have accepted a job when he knew full well it required him to be aligned with the school’s philosophy which is not supportive of same-sex relationships. He is now using the good name of Forest Lake Elementary School as a pawn in his nationwide campaign.

His actions show he did not deserve the trust of the families who put kids under his care and influence. The school does not owe Arauz anything; religious organizations are shielded from governmental meddling. While we should all support the civil rights of same sex relationships, we should all the more celebrate the separation of church and state.

Jacki Hill-Perry has a powerful story which we should all ponder:

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Is not the Florida sacking if a gay teacher the predictable and intended outcome of the GC’s insistence to narrow our church’s definition of marriage? The school probably had no discretion regarding his ongoing employment because of policies that want this kind of purge to happen.
How can our church be reformed against this shrinking mindset?

One can hope but things look bleak for organized religion. Time to live the faith we have as individuals. The world should see us as living in the unconditional Love, Freedom and Equality which the Gospel offers. And always be prepared to give an answer for the faith we have, 1 Peter 3:15.

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Agree. It was completely dishonest to accept the job. Irresponsibility has consequences. I hope he is not surprised now that he was fired. He should have resigned.


we can throw out the bible, for starters…we can also throw out egw…then we can be completely like the world around us…

i think this story illustrates why LGBT questions shouldn’t be made a test for fellowship or employment…it ends up doing more harm than good…instead of having their attention called to biblical testimony and things of eternal weight, most onlookers will be thinking about questions of discrimination, and how uncaring our church is…

it’s better to maintain our biblical position, but treat LGBT as a lifestyle issue left up to personal conscience…this approach will enable productive conversation when the time is right, without stirring up controversy and resentment…


EGW would be rolling over in her grave if she knew…that hospitals are money factories, CEOs (unheard of to her) make million$, and we are even mentioning homosexual relationships in a church setting. If you think behavior should not be an issue, think again. I find it odd that a state or company wants to ban Trump or travel, then tells another institution that it can’t ban someone. Too funny. What comes around, goes around. Ban me, I can ban you. No matter. Behavior matters. Would you allow a smoker to tell his.her students that they smoke and tough luck? Show up at school with beer on the breath? Hey, one drink is okay, right? So we should allow it all. It’s funny that those rioting to ban certain behavior, are themselves telling others…you can’t ban us. Sorry, we can ban you.

these behaviours, when proscribed, don’t come with the same baggage of discrimination and civil rights weight that LGBT does…in addition, smoking and drinking can be demonstrated to be harmful…the bible’s teaching on homosexuality, like it’s teaching on the seventh-day sabbath, rests purely on its inspired authority…there’s really nothing that corroborates it outside of that authority…

it’s a question of taking a course that avoids unnecessary negatives…egw’s time, and whether she’d be rolling in her grave if she knew what’s happening now, is quite irrelevant…if we want to use egw, or an even less applicable biblical figure, as a helpful source of reference, the way to do that isn’t to infer their reactions if they were confronted with our realities, but to study how they managed their own realities…egw, for instance, wrote against one of our churches who disfellowshipped a heavy smoker, even though she taught incessantly against smoking…her point was that the disfellowshipped individual was far in advance in spirituality than those who disfellowshipped him, and that there was a better course to handle this man’s smoking than disfellowshipping him, 12MR:285-286…

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If you can for a moment think outside the Adventist bubble, consider the impact this story will have on the populace of Central Florida. The hero of the story is Daryl Tol. People will read the pieces in the Orlando Sentinel and see the love and compassion demonstrated by Tol and the accepting attitude of AdventHealth. Hopefully, that is what will strike the readers most.

I know Daryl Tol. He is a fine person and outstanding leader.


Mr. Stephenundercoversda, did you know that if AdventHealth were a publicly traded stock company it would rank at about #270 on the Fortune 500 list as ranked by revenue? Did you know it enjoys a AA rating from the major rating agencies as an outstanding credit-worthy entity? AdventHealth is a major enterprise that deals with competitive market risks every day and serves millions of people. Do you think the top executives should be paid a pastor’s wage for leading such an enterprise? There are thousands of AdventHealth employees that earn far more than a pastor or the GC President because they are paid market competitive salaries. So what do you think the leader should earn? What seems right to you in this situation? The executive salaries are determined by market surveys of comparable roles across the healthcare industry. Yes, White would probably be shocked, but she would likely also be shocked at the extent of the presence AdventHealth has across the country for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

By the way, why don’t you come out of whatever closet you are in, being undercover and all.


However, why does it seem necessary to pay Adventhealth administrators market salaries, but not pay our college/university presidents and VPs market salaries?

SDA University administrators are paid a relatively competitive salary within the domain they are working. When salaries are compared across similar size and configuration of school, they are not far off the mark. That said, they are not paid like major state, and private university administrators, but that is a factor of relative markets segment…

Good question, Peter. I like Dee Roberts answer above. However, pay practices are not standardized across Adventist colleges and universities as the GC would like. Some schools pay closer to market rates and some stick with GC policy. This is particularly true of the president’s position. Presidential salaries are scattered, with most exceeding GC policy guidelines. Little known stuff. But I know of no sanctions or shaming of union or their schools for paying higher salaries. Presumably, that is because the policy variances do not violate the headship heresy.

How many single teachers have pre-marital heterosexual sexual relationships? Don’t ask, don’t tell.

I won’t bring up pornography - secrets.

Just thinking out loud!

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I’ll reply by writing and not pretend that I am “Just thinking out loud!”

If you are having pre-marital sex and are publicly bragging about it, would you expect consequences?

If you “won’t bring up pornography”, why did you bring it up?

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I am so thankful that someone saw the need and was so generous. So many will depend on agencies like yours this winter. And congratulations, Millie and helpers for the tremendous work you have done over the years.

Well, since didn’t bring up anything…, :roll_eyes:
I too won’t bring up the fact that if any worker has heterosexual relationships and it becomes known, that person will have the safe fate as Arauz’s.
Therefore, I believe that Arauz got a fair deal.