Fringe Group’s Full-page Ad in Tennessean Sparks Outcry

On Sunday, June 21, 2020, The Tennessean, a Nashville-based newspaper that’s part of the USA Today Network (owned by Gannett Corporation), ran a full-page ad claiming that “Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device in Nashville, Tennessee.”

The ad featured a composite image of Donald Trump and Pope Francis in the foreground and an American flag and what appear to be fire and protestors in the background. It was signed “The Ministry of Future for America,” an Arkansas-based fringe organization that states its mission is to:

“proclaim the final warning message of Revelation 14 as identified by the prophecies of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. The end-time fulfillment of Bible prophecy is no longer future-for it is taking place before our eyes. The historic, prophetic understanding of Seventh-day Adventism is now present truth.”1

“We are under conviction to not only tell you but to provide evidence that on July 18, 2020, Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device in Nashville, Tennessee,” begins the ad, which claims to provide an overview of the prophecy, and encourages readers to visit a link “where the defense of each of these issues is presented fully.”

The ad goes on to claim that Donald Trump is the final president of the United States, and that “his struggle with the Democratic Party is also a subject of prophecy…” Furthermore, the ad claims that the “Third World War” will “begin in earnest when Islam strikes the USA again, as on 9/11, but now with a nuclear weapon on July 18, 2020.” Russia, Putin, the Roman Catholic Church, and “the backslidden Seventh-day Adventist Church” are referenced as well:

“The Seventh-day Adventist Church was given prophetic light through the writings of Ellen G. White, which they have chosen to hide under a bushel rather than fulfill their responsibility. That responsibility included giving this very warning message; for it is from the writings of the prophetess they claim to believe and accept that Nashville is marked as being destroyed by a ball of fire, and her description easily fits the description of a nuclear weapon.”

The closing paragraphs of the ad offer the plea that it is “…our hope that you will avail yourself of the information we are offering before it is too late, but whether you hear or not, this letter is being sent so that we might fulfill our responsibility as watchmen, for to not do so would mean that the blood of all those that perish is the upcoming nuclear strike would be required of our souls.”

Social media backlash was swift after Twitter user @asmiff shared photos of the print ad, which were retweeted over 8,600 times as of this writing.

This morning, the Nashville @Tennessean — the largest newspaper in the state — published a full-page ad from a far-right client warning “Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device in Nashville, Tennessee.” It’s accompanied by photos of Donald Trump and Pope Francis.

— Alex Martin Smith (@asmiff) June 21, 2020

The full ad can be read by clicking here.

The Tennessean, which has a daily circulation of 95,311 and a Sunday circulation of 212,839,2 strongly denounced the ad, apologized to its readers, and announced it was launching an investigation into “how a paid advertisement from a fringe religious group was published on Sunday in violation of the newspaper’s long-established standards.”

According to The Tennessean, its advertising standards “clearly forbid hate speech. Advertisements that do not meet the paper’s standards are routinely rejected for publication.”

Kevin Gentzel, President of Marketing Solutions and Chief Revenue Officer for Gannett, stated on Twitter that the ad had clearly violated their advertising standards. “We strongly condemn the message and apologize to our readers. We are immediately investigating to determine how this could have happened.”

Ryan Kedzierski, The Tennessean’s vice president of sales for Middle Tennessee, also issued an apology:

“This advertisement should not have been published within The Tennessean and we are sincerely sorry that this mistake took place. We are extremely apologetic to the community that the advertisement was able to get through and we are reviewing internally why and how this occurred and we will be taking actions immediately to correct.

“No words or actions can describe how sorry we are to the community for the advertisements that were published. We will be utilizing the advertising dollars that went toward the full-page ad placements and donating those funds to the American Muslim Advisory Council.”3

Michael A. Anastasi, vice president and editor of The Tennessean, weighed in as well, calling the ad “horrific and utterly indefensible.” He continued,

“It is wrong, period, and should have never been published. It has hurt members of our community and our own employees and that saddens me beyond belief. It is inconsistent with everything The Tennessean as an institution stands and has stood for and with the journalism we have produced.”4

Like most news organizations, the editorial and advertising departments of The Tennessean function independently of each other, so editors and reporters were not involved in the decision to run the ad.

By Sunday afternoon, the ad and the apology had made national news, with Religion News Service, The New York Times, and several other outlets picking up the story.

Religion News Service spoke with Jeff Pippenger from Future for America who took responsibility for writing the version of the ad that appeared in Sunday’s paper. A different version of the ad, which did not mention Islam, ran in Wednesday’s paper,5 and was written by “a friend from Ireland,” said Pippenger. According to RNS, “Pippenger said the ministry paid for the ad, which he said was inspired by the work of Ellen White, one of the co-founders of the Seventh-day Adventist church.”6

Pippenger told RNS that “he and the others behind the ad consider themselves Seventh-day Adventists, ‘though some such as me have been removed from their membership by the Adventist Church because of our prophetic beliefs.’”

According to The New York Times, Pippenger is demanding a full refund from The Tennessean, but would not say how much the ad cost.

“I stand by all the content in the ad and the content in the website,” he said. “It seems to me the criticism is more aimed at the editorial staff at the newspaper, and the criticism about my religious convictions is simply what happens when you let your religious convictions out into the public arena.”7

An article from The Tennessean published late Monday afternoon announced that the ad cost $14,000 and that Future for America would receive a refund. According to the article, Future for America is registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt non-profit, whose purpose is “evangelism.” The group “reported $1,195,650 in assets in 2018, according to tax documents.”8

In addition to refunding Future for America it’s $14,000, Gannett will donate that same amount to “the American Muslim Advisory Council, a Nashville-based advocacy group. The company is also giving the council $50,000 in advertising credit, which will be used for multiple Islamic organizations.”9

“Sabina Mohyuddin, executive director of the American Muslim Advisory Council, confirmed plans to accept the donation from The Tennessean. She said Tennessean executives had reached out to apologize.

‘We're grateful that they've opted not to benefit from the proceeds of that ad,’ Mohyuddin said. ‘We can use that for something good in the community.’

There is work to do, Mohyuddin said. Muslims throughout Middle Tennessee are worried the ad will spark continued discrimination or violence against them or their places of worship.

‘A huge target was placed on our community,’ Mohyuddin said.”10

The Tennessean also announced in the article that following its internal investigation into the matter, the advertising department’s sales manager had been fired. The company also plans to coordinate with the American Muslim Advisory Council on diversity and sensitivity training, and employees will receive “refreshed training” on policies regarding hate speech.

The North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church strongly condemned the ad and distanced itself from the fringe organization in a statement issued on Sunday, June 21, 2020, which was sent directly to The Tennessean, Religion News Service, and posted to the NAD’s website and social media channels. It’s included in full below and can also be read on the NAD’s website by clicking here:

“The claims made against the Muslim community have caused pain and strife. We soundly reject these hateful and dishonest words. Further, we need to be clear: there is no connection between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and this group and their teachings, which serve to hurt and cause disharmony.

“One of the Adventist Church’s Fundamental Beliefs states, 'In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation' (Fundamental Belief 14, Unity in the Body of Christ).

“The Seventh-day Adventist Church requests that the Nashville Tennessean repudiate the advertising and publicly state there is no connection between the Adventist Church and this group.”

Not only does the ad briefly mention the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the group used quotes from Ellen G. White, one of the Adventist Church’s founding members, out of context. “The Ellen G. White Estate rejects any interpretation of Ellen White’s writings that suggests she predicts a specific target of impending disaster, the timing of any such event, or a connection to the Muslim or any other faith group,” said Jim Nix, director of the Ellen G. White Estate, an entity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church world headquarters.

In addition to the full response on Sunday, the NAD also sent two tweets on the morning of Monday, June 22, 2020. The first, published at 7:07 a.m. (EDT) stated, “We are deeply disturbed by the hurtful ad published by @Tennessean. The claims made against the Muslim community have caused pain and strife. We soundly reject these hateful words. We need to be clear: there is no connection between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and this group”

We are deeply disturbed by the hurtful ad published by @Tennessean. The claims made against the Muslim community have caused pain and strife. We soundly reject these hateful words. We need to be clear: there is no connection between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and this group

— NAD Adventist (@NADadventist) June 22, 2020

The second was a response to the RNS article. The NAD quote-tweeted the article at 10:03 a.m. (EDT), stating, “The claims made against the Muslim community have caused pain and strife. We soundly reject these hateful words. We need to be clear: there is no connection between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and this group.”

The claims made against the Muslim community have caused pain and strife. We soundly reject these hateful words. We need to be clear: there is no connection between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and this group

— NAD Adventist (@NADadventist) June 22, 2020

According to Dan Weber, communication director for the NAD, the slightly different wording between the two tweets is due to the fact that Twitter does not allow users to tweet the exact same thing twice.

Some Adventists on Twitter criticized the NAD for stating there is no connection between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Future for America.

Trevan Osborn (@trevano) wrote, “I appreciate the NAD condemning the ad. However, we need to be honest that there IS a connection to the Adventist Church. They use EGW quotes and Adventists love creating end-time scenarios. Soul searching is needed on why so many current and former SDA’s do this stuff.”

The NAD responded, “People misquote or abuse beliefs, but that's no reason to blame the belief. This group was disfellowshipped by the Church for their abuse of Adventist teachings. Like other Christians, we proclaim and believe in the Second Coming, but don’t set a timetable or make predictions.”

Matt Shallenberger (@mjshally) wrote, “‘There is no connection...’ Technically true, but there obviously was a connection at some point. Seems like that should be addressed.” To which the NAD replied, “The leaders of the group were disfellowshipped after many years of conflict with the church. Their teachings have no basis in foundational Adventism.”

Read the Twitter thread here.

Other Adventists praised the Church for its quick response. Sarah Sulton (@Simplysaved) wrote, “This is a true blessing to hear our Adventist leadership taking a stand!” and Ryan Sinclair (@NirvanaMonk116) said, “I’m so proud of the Church standing up for the dignity of all peoples and faith groups.”

This incident has raised several important questions — on prophetic interpretation, journalistic integrity, freedom of speech, and perhaps most importantly, interfaith dialogue. What responsibility, if any, does the Church bear for members and former members who misinterpret or misrepresent the Church’s official teachings? In a country and a world that is so polarized on so many issues, how do we communicate our beliefs in a way that heals rather than harms? Put simply, what does it look like to follow the greatest commandments of all, to love the Lord our God, and to love our neighbors as ourselves?11

Notes & References:

1. Future for America “About” page:, accessed June 22, 2020.

2. Circulation numbers for The Tennessean as reported on, accessed June 22, 2020.

3. “Tennessean apologizes, launches investigation after 'horrific' ad runs in print editions,”, accessed June 22, 2020.

4. Ibid.

5. “Tennessee Newspaper Apologizes for ‘Utterly Indefensible’ Anti-Muslim Ad,”, accessed June 22, 2020.

6. “Tennessean editor denounces ‘horrific’ Nashville Islam nuclear prophecy advertisement,”, accessed June 22, 2020.

7. “Tennessee Newspaper Apologizes for ‘Utterly Indefensible’ Anti-Muslim Ad,”, accessed June 22, 2020.

8. “Manager fired, training planned, money donated to Muslim council after ad runs in Tennessean,”, access June 22, 2020.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

11. Mark 12:30-31

Alisa Williams is managing editor of

Image: Photo of top portion of Future for America’s ad which appeared in The Tennessean on Sunday, June 21, 2020.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

At a time when the POTUS is free - and certainly feels free - to make any non-sensical statement and declare it to be truth, a newspaper ad like this should not really be all that much concern. It is plain and utter nonsense.

What is of great concern is the fact we don’t own our history. I still remember how the PR strategy after Waco was exactly the same: not SDA, no connection to the SDA church … (when I personally knew many who burned in Waco as good and faithful - misguided - Adventists from Manchester - where my late wife had grown up…). It is a PR strategy that I can understand and appreciate - yet it is neither truthful nor helpful in the longrun. We need to own our history as a “prophetic movement” and (hopefully) translate this term into our day … when “prophetic” could have quite a different ring …
Else we will have to “distance” ourselves time and again form (former) fellow believers - presumably with less and less credibiltiy (if we still have any).

That the NAD tries to clarify that the ad does not represent the Adventist position is commendable - but is only half the homework done … at best.


What a missed opportunity! While being embarrassed by being associated with the Ministry ad, the official statement could have drawn the distinction more clearly. Maybe something like this:

“Like the Ministry, we too believe in Bible prophecy accurately predicting the future. We too believe in the prophetic gift of Ellen White. We both examine obscure symbols in apocalyptic writings, and using the historicist method, we find way-marks through the span of time showing where the world is on the timeline as events are tied to predictions. We both believe that we are living in the very last moments of earth’s history. We both believe the prophecies are finding fulfillment with our religious movement. But we differ in the identification of some current events as fulfillments of end time prophecies. Like us, they see the United States being foretold in prophecy. But they see Islam as one of the elements of fulfillment and using Ellen White’s writings, they point out to an imminent attack on Nashville. What a foolish idea to think that Nashville would be in prophecy; imagine, an American city in prophecy! No, we believe that the United States itself is foretold in prophecy (not any particular city) along with the Papal Antichrist and an allied apostate Protestant church which will soon use state power to oppress our church, enforce Sunday worship, and bring martyrdom upon us sabbath keepers. It is our mission to call people out of the fallen churches before it is too late lest they get the mark of the beast. There you go; we aren’t so bizarre in our predictions like those other guys.”

Nothing to be embarrassed about here. The differences are stark.


Well, not as weird as the original ad, but most people, Christian and non-Christians (at least I think I could include most non-Christians), would find that statement weird as well.


Could be…but then again, if they saw the presentation at an end time series, some would be convinced.


Adventism is, understandably, missing the boat.

“The Church” was born out of a false prophetic movement, gained new prophetic insight, and went on to become an organization whose membership has grown almost exponentially in our lifetimes. I can’t speak for anywhere else in the world, but around here in the US the “end time series” seems to be the be all and end all of soul winning. I got curious a few months ago, a week or two before everything shut down and when invited by a random person I met in the the trendy downtown area of the city we were working in at the time to go to a meeting about “end time events” I went. Turns out it was at the local Adventist church. I was greeted with plastic smiles, pawed at and fawned over, ushered to a seat at a table in the fellowship hall where there was a selection of juice, munchies, and fruit bites, and listened to the same old presentation of the Mark of the Beast that I’d listened to as a 6 year old. When it was over I was then treated to more plastic smiles, pawed and and fawned over again with a plastic invitation to return “tomorrow night” whilst being handed a handbill containing the notes of the evening’s message.

Well, wonderful. It fully met my expectations.

Like I said, missing the boat entirely. Whatever happened to making a friend? Hearing his or her joys and sorrows. Crying on each other’s shoulders across the back fence or across the street or the town? Whatever happened to just loving our fellow man so much that they know we worship a loving God? Even those nasty gays? Even those libtards? Or the white supremicist? When the church finally gets over its nonsensical addiction to prophesy as a way of gaining souls for the kingdom there will no longer be a need to distance oneself or to distance the organization from the likes of the Branch Davidians of the world.


Why change a marketing program with proven results? P.T. Barnum was right when he said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Come to think of it, I had 3 sets of great grandparents recruited under a circus tent with sawdust floors in the early 1900’s.



So let me ask you, How many millennia will it take to “preach the gospel to all the world” using the current “prophecy seminar” paradigm with it’s plastic smiles, handbills with sermon notes, monsters, and the ever active revolving door once the baptism is complete and the plastic smiles disappear?


I thought the revolving door was shut in 1844.

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Haha! :rofl:

I gave up trying to figure that door out somewhere in about grade 7 or 8 as I recall. Figured it wasn’t important enough to impinge on my chances of salvation if I didn’t understand it! LOL

But you didn’t answer the question…?

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Like all institutions with a goal, it is never in their interest to actually achieve the goal. Their reason to exist would thereby be ended. Perpetuation of an unattainable goal is the goal.


That’s an excellent point! LOL

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If they didn’t see it as “weird”- they might recognize it as too much opportunistic “spin”. Today’s consumers aren’t beguiled by pamphlets, EGW books, etc…far too sophisticated.

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What “results”??? I can assure you that no one now is going to be “recruited” under a circus tent with sawdust floors. It is a new century (or 2). :laughing:

Ah, of course, another date set to just embarrass the SDAC and all of us.

Those people have no character since they misrepresent themselves and their lunatic activities are portrayed as being SDA’s. Deplorable activity.

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BTW…have ANY commenters that have had “prophetic” timetables ever been correct? I certainly don’t remember any one of them coming true.

I am shocked that the Fringe groups ad was published to begin with!! Someone’s head is going to roll at the publishers.


An article I read on another site had an announcement from a higher up in the company that, indeed, the director of marketing was fired after a very quick investigation.

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No! But all of them are very flexible people and can make adjustments and re-adjustment ad infinitum…We had one of those around here not long ago, remember? He disappeared after the recurrent fiascos… His next prediction may be that Pence will be raptured on Nov 3, at 20:00 PT… :roll_eyes: :innocent:

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Wasn’t he from Tennessee? I could have sworn that he was…

And as an aside, one has to wonder why a group in Tennessee would choose Nashville for the location of this particular holocaust. Seems a bit close to home, does it not? And were they planning to drive to Montana till the conflagration was over?


I KNOW. I had such high hopes that COVID-19 might make us think for a minute. Yeah, no. The local church was adamant about reopening ASAP in May. We can’t even figure out that church isn’t a building.

Before the reopening, we had at least 100 people streaming online that weren’t members. Who were they, and what were their needs? I didn’t know, but I was excited to find out. So much for that, because now they’re gone. Once the live services resumed, the online experience got left to die on the vine. (I’m staying home, and even I can’t be bothered with it.)

Ain’t it the craziest thing? Let’s take their stated stance for a minute. Actually achieving the goal ends their reason to exist because Jesus Christ shows up in the clouds and says “I missed all of you so much. We’re never doing this again. Let’s go home!”

You’d think that kind of raison d’être would be way more important than going “And this church here in Thyatira, which you’ve never heard of, represents the Middle Ages.” And somehow you’d be wrong.