General Conference President Ted Wilson Pens Open Letter Alleging Religious Liberty Abuse by Burundi Government

Editor’s Note: This letter originally appeared on the Adventist News Network and is reprinted here in its entirety:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

It would be instructive if the charges against the Adventist’s were listed and explained. What is the basis of their arrest.? Can it become a pattern?


We have NO IDEA from this communication from President Wilson what he
actually alludes to, or what precipitated singling out the SDA church, or
IF PERHAPS there are other Christian organizations who are having similar

Perhaps Spectrum could give us a clear, definitive view of the Religious scene
in Burundi.


Burundi has a horrible Human Rights track record. I wouldn’t be shocked if this has happened to other denominations there…perhaps they are picking on the smaller religious “fish” for now. I hope and pray that nothing devious happens to the arrested people to make them “disappear”. :frowning:

Read and weep…

There are 17 comments (latest posted today) to this Wilson Prayer Appeal that was posted on Adventist News Network.

These comments by Ndizeye Isaie are of interest: “Prayers are needed for the East-Central Africa Division that has divided the people of Burundi, they need to respect the rule of law and Church policies. Politics has no place in the Church. Please, urge your fellow leaders to give you accurate information. This will help you address the real issues: it is all about people who are fighting for positions. They have nothing to do with religious liberty at all.”

Further: "Prayer is needed, but only for the leadership to listen, seek righteousness, and be humble in their actions. In addition, this is the time for the GC to show leadership, otherwise, Ellen White has warned, “He who does nothing but pray will soon cease to pray, or his prayers will become a formal routine.”


Where was his indignation and concern for those whose basic human rights and lives are being taken for merely living their biological truth?

Obviously, his concern begins and ends with those he deems acceptable for his denominational “club”.


Good point. Are SDA’s the only ones with difficulties?

Roman Catholic 62.1%, Protestant 23.9% (includes Adventist 2.3% and other Protestant 21.6%), Muslim 2.5%, other 3.6%, unspecified 7.9% (2008 est.)

Burundi is a densely populated country with a high population growth rate, factors that combined with land scarcity and poverty place a large share of its population at risk of food insecurity. About 90% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture. Subdivision of land to sons, and redistribution to returning refugees, results in smaller, overworked, and less productive plots. Food shortages, poverty, and a lack of clean water contribute to a 60% chronic malnutrition rate among children. A lack of reproductive health services has prevented a significant reduction in Burundi’s maternal mortality and fertility rates, which are both among the world’s highest. With two-thirds of its population under the age of 25 and a birth rate of about 6 children per woman. Source: CIA Factbook

1 Like

Thank-you for this! Some of these comments are incredulous considering the real lack of Human Rights in this country. What do you make of all of it?

1 Like

Not being “on the ground” I can only offer an assumption: The flavor of local comments seem to be consistent that a) the issue is a local church governance matter, and that b) the offended ousted office holder is using his influence with the local authorities for self-serving purposes…


Thank-you for your “assumption”…it is quite plausible. Strange church politics either way. For better or for worse the SDA church is under this abusive government’s microscope now. Nothing good is going to come of this fiasco.


Thanks for that, original article would of course not report on personal gain abuses by one of the ordained . I was wondering why the Burundi headmastress was spanking the B.U.M. Sounds like the president deserves a good stiff spanking.

In other almost breaking gnus, Uncle Sam may want to know why Mr T. N. Clare Wilson continues to negate, berate, subjugate the gender of majority in his church. Lets write letters to him to ask why he supports such worldwide abuse at his own hands. That right there is religious liberty usurpation.


I wonder whether our fearless GC president is aware of the parallels this issue has with his issue of WO. This “Burundi” issue is one side of the coin where WO is the other side.

Even a Wall Street advertising company would have a hard time spinning this campaign.


The ECD, removed the president of BUM before his term through executive action and appointed the new head. The reasons for the ouster of the former are vague, but he seems to have steered the church well.

The newly ECD appointed leader seems was imposed and thus rejected. The govt of Burundi has a low tolerance for tribal divisions and the action of ECD, seems to have fueled animosity. These are not strange in ECD as the tribal card has played in church matters esp in Kenya, it’s headquarters.

From comments most burundians side with the government actions. ECD should be investigated. There’s strife in the countries under the East Central Africa division, as pundits say has everything to do with elections in 2020

1 Like

Sorry TW. Be transparent and DON’T obfuscate.
This issue is about Power, Internal Church Politics, Corruption
and NOT Religious Liberty!!
A clearer picture emerges when accessing the website referred to
by Mel Douglass, Post No 4, above.
Presently, in the Adventist Church, on the one hand there is LG Theology and TMI;
and on the other hand , situations such as this one (among well known others).
Cognitive Dissonance reigns!


This episode is another illustration of the erosion of the GC’s strength and effectiveness during Ted Wilson’s presidency. That there is a GC compliance committee focused on women’s ordination but no compliance committee to deal with the criminals, grifters, and savages in Third World Seventh-day Adventism highlights how out of touch Wilson’s governance priorities have been. He has staked the entire credibility of the GC on a losing cause–opposition to women’s ordination–and in so doing, has transformed the GC into a feckless and irrelevant entity.

His political strategy of dividing the Seventh-day Adventist Church, allying himself with the majority in the Third World, and solidifying that support by fomenting animosity toward the minority, namely the NAD, has succeeded for him personally but has been harmful to the GC and the Church at large.

I wish we could do more than just extend to him our thoughts and prayers.


We live in very strange times in our Church. Times of inconsistency. Isn’t it hilarious seeing the same person putting a façade as defender of religious rights and liberty and at the same time being a leading discriminator-in-chief regarding women’s rights and liberty in his own Church?

Hypocrisy is going rogue these days…


Demagogic maneuvers and politiking like this work very well in the third world, and TW knows that well. So he is exploiting it as much as he can. It’s bad that the options are only, 1) He does not know what really happened there, and 2) He is just trying to save face and manipulate the public opinion. In either case, it is a deplorable situation. After all, this is the GC President, a man who considers himself appointed by God (sure…) to lead this Church.


truth becoming lies, and lies becoming truth

1 Like

Very strange, but all the sources I found have the same story.

What is abuse, because abuse takes on different forms and sometimes it is clothes in religious organizations. When pastors abuse their position, but take no responsibility for their actions, because the treasurer is the legal accountable to the law. Or women work over time for months, but don’t get paid. Is he talking about human rights violation, because it is happening here.