North American Division Leaders Speak Out on Shooting Deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

Daniel R. Jackson and G. Alexander Bryant, the president and executive secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, issued the following joint statement on July 8, 2016. The statement is in response to this week’s shooting deaths in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and Dallas, Texas:

“We are heartbroken and disturbed by the tragic and brutal shooting deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five Dallas police officers.* We extend our deepest condolences and prayers for the seven people killed this week, the seven officers and two civilians wounded in Dallas, their families, loved ones, and friends. We also pray for the communities of Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, and Dallas, and the heartache they are experiencing as a result of this tragedy.

“This week has been an extremely difficult week as we wrestle with the senseless loss of life. It is past time for our society to engage in open, honest, civil, and constructive conversation about the rights and equality of every member of our community. Having an open discussion means talking about difficult topics in a productive manner. However, we must move beyond the talking stage and begin to actually develop practical ways of dealing with racial intolerance in all of its forms — whether subtle or overt.

“This week we continue the struggle with what it means to fear for your life because of the color of your skin. We struggle with the pain that the African-American community feels. Last night we struggled seeing a hate so evil, so intense, that it led to the murder of those who were attempting to protect the right of American citizens to peacefully protest.

“We were deeply troubled by the shooting deaths of two African-American men by police officers this week. This brings the total number of blacks shot to death by police in the United States to 123 so far in 2016, according to press reports. We are equally troubled that five Dallas police officers were killed by a gunman filled with hate who, in his words, wanted to “kill white people and especially white police.”

“Let us be clear: the violent death of any human being is wrong. The deaths of these seven people in these three events are equally tragic and agonizing for God. While so many in our country are angry and frightened, hate and revenge are never the answer.

“We find wisdom and comfort in the life of Jesus. Human experience illustrates that hatred breeds more hatred. Jesus lived a life that demonstrated love in the face of hatred, and peace in the place of anger. Evil cannot be eliminated with evil; it must be overwhelmed with peace, love, and goodness. We know that there is growing anger, frustration, and alienation throughout our division. These emotions are accompanied by a growing distrust and fear.

“How will we personally and corporately respond? We believe that . . .

  • Now is the time to listen, to hear, and to understand the cry of those living in fear.
  • Now is the time for the men and women of the North American Division to stand up and link arms together, in peace and love, to say “NO” to racial inequality; and demonstrate that love is stronger than hate.
  • Now is the time for our local congregations, for our state and regional conferences, for our educational and medical institutions to pray together, to engage in creative thinking together, and then to work together to strengthen what we have in common and bring the hope and healing compassion of Jesus to our communities.

“We pray for peace and compassion to guide our way forward as we acknowledge and seek to heal the hurt and fear that pervades this country. We pray, once again, for the day when all of God’s children, of all races, treat each other with love and respect rather than bias and hate.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28, NIV).

* NOTE: At the time of this release the names of all of the officers had not been released.

Daniel R. Jackson is President of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. G. Alexander Bryant is Executive Secretary of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7548

Wish I lived in the D.C. area. I would attend the event planned by NAD for 7/9/2016 at the Lincoln Memorial. It is good that we have spoken up about the racial injustice we experience in the USA. Perhaps, just perhaps, we can start to heal within and without. Recognizing that a problem exists is Step 1 in the process of finding a solution or at least a salve for the problem. It is high time that the Seventh-day Adventist Church was proactive rather than being reactive. But if reactive is what it takes, so be it. It’s a start.

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An excellent, thoughtful, and praiseworthy statement. May each of us endeavor through God’s grace to bring about the racial understanding and reconciliation so badly needed, in North America and throughout the world.

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This is an excellent statesmanlike response to the recent bloodshed , sparked by white Police murders of blacks and vicious murderous counterattacks by black gunmen. If this species of confrontation continues there could be virtual race-based civil war in America. America would lose its moral standing (or what’a left of it)in world affairs , and therefore its ability to call out dictatorships such as in North Korea and gain support from NATO and other crucial allies. Such a scenario would of course make WW 111 loom larger than at present. The specious argument that back on black crime is rampant is a weak non sequitor if intended to insinuate that black therefore deserve to have their civil rights abused. Nobody slaughtered more Caucasians in multiple millions than Adolph Hitler, and yet he is still regarded as a role model by many wannabe racist “Aryans”. America must try and fix its race problem , get rid of crime-breeding ghettos and become the place where every citizen can develop to full ;plotentian , and thus make America truly great .

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Wow, These are powerful words from a Spiritual Leader who takes more and more political risk with each of his responses to the crisis of social justice that we are in. The road of moral leadership that Elder Jackson outlines stands in sharp contrast to the inertia of the SDA segregationist organizational bureaucracy that has historically run from virtually every significant fight for justice.

Thank you Elder Jackson for your moral clarity. May they spark a political revolution within the church.

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It is noteworthy indeed that an Adventist leader is responding so quickly to current issues and does not refer to any prophetic end time scenario, but to the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ:

I believe this is how we might become a prophetic movement once again.

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When God fearing men and women take a stand on injustice done to God’s children, demons will tremble. The SDA Churches in the Washington Metro Area are setting an example of how our voices can be heard in support of our less fortunate brothers and sisters who have no voice. It is so forward thinking to see our North American division leaders partner with our churches in showing love to these broken and hurt families. I am proud to be a Seventh Day Adventist in these last days of earth’s history. We are breaking up the churches comfort level in order reach the masses. Blessings to you Elder Jackson and Elder Bryant in allowing God to use you as usual.

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It was my. First year teaching at Loma Linda. I had a laboratory class. I had a class picture with each students picture and name. however the names w ere printed in such a. Way that the name appeared to be at t he top, rather than th e. Bottom. there was a be black student, 6. Feet tall solid muscle. There was also a white student, 5 feet 4 inches tall, thin as a rail. The pictures were so arranged the one appeared top of the other. So When the black student came to my desk, I addressed him by the name of white student. the student laughed and called the other student to come to the desk. which he did. the the black student said"Dr. Zwemer can’t tell us apart." We all h ad a good laugh at my expense. At a deeper level I see a person not a race, a homo sapien with blood, brains, and soul- just like mine. TZ

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I know a fellow who’s as broke as the Ten Commandments.

He said, “It is a difficult matter to argue with my empty belly since it has no ears. Black Lives Matter. Being Black American is no disgrace but America finds it confoundedly inconvenient. I can’t hold my head high I can’t hold my hand out when I am a confounded inconvenient . Inequality is as dear to American heart as liberty itself. I am poor , weak, hungry to speak to my Governor. I have only one eye, The popular prejudice runs in favour of two.”

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I must say first, that such statements Seventh-day Adventist Church, are good, appropriate and necessary. Bad, worse, for example, be a little late. Although there is a saying in Spain that says: Better late than never … What is happening today in the US It is nothing new. Living in the US, or know the history of the United States, you know, and remember, what happened in the 60s of the twentieth century against the civil rights of blacks, African Americans. And then, when blacks were treated like animals (buses, bars and public places, there was a sign saying NO ENTRY FOR DOGS AND BLACKS … In those days, few, if not almost no one protested against the deep racist government laws. or NAD, or pastors or churches, or almost no one said no to racism. I think the American people, inside and outside the Adventist Church must reflect and think about the past, a duration dragging what happens today in Dallas and in many cities and states of North America, to understand and try to prevent events such as those that have been occurring recently in the so-called land of freedom land … land of opportunities open to all. and all hope that NAD also recommend pray, and indicate something more to eradicate, inside and outside the Adventist church, racism and discrimination against blacks and against women say rightly that. all we are children of God …
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I think the American people, inside and outside the Adventist Church must Reflect and think About the past, last dragging what happens today in Dallas and in many cities and states of North America, to Understand, and seek to avoid events: such as Those That Have Been happening lately in denominated … LAND oF LIBERTY LAND OPEN LAND oF OPPORTUNITY tO aLL. and all the NAD Hopefully, in Addition to recommending pray, and do something more to eradicate Indicate, inside and outside the Adventist church, racism and discrimination Against Women Against blacks and rightly say That all We are children of God … Fourth letter of the Spanish alphabet;. represents a dental consonant, plosive and sound. His name is de.Signo in Roman numerals equivalent to quinientos.En the alphabetical notation represents the re.Abreviaturas note of Don and Dona, forms of treatment of respect and courtesy used prefixed to the name of a person. "D . 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I think the American people, inside and outside the Adventist Church must Reflect and think About the past, last dragging what happens today in Dallas and in many cities and states of North America, to Understand, and seek to avoid events: such as Those That Have Been happening lately in denominated … LAND oF LIBERTY LAND OPEN LAND oF OPPORTUNITY tO aLL. and all the NAD Hopefully, in Addition to recommending pray, and do something more to eradicate Indicate, inside and outside the Adventist church, racism and discrimination Against Women Against blacks and rightly say that. all we are children of God … two examples MoreView tambiénD. I must say Translations of first, That Such statements by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, are good, Appropriate and Necessary. The bad, the worse, say, arriving a little late. , Although there is a saying in Spain That says: Better late than never … What is happening today in the US is nothing new. Who lives in USA, or know the history of the United States, you know, and remember, What Happened in the 60s of the twentieth century Against the civil rights of blacks, African Americans. And Then, When the blacks Were treated like animals (in buses, bars and public places, there was a sign That read: NO ENTRY TO DOGS AND BLACKS … In Those days, few, if not almost nobody protested Against the deeply racist government laws. Neither the NAD, or pastors, or churches, or almost no one said no to racism. I think the American people, inside and outside the Adventist Church must Reflect and think About the past, last dragging what happens today in Dallas and in many cities and states of North America, to Understand, and seek to avoid events: such as Those That Have Been happening lately in denominated … LAND oF LIBERTY LAND OPEN LAND oF OPPORTUNITY tO aLL. and all the NAD Hopefully, in Addition to recommending pray, and do something more to eradicate Indicate, inside and outside the Adventist church, racism and discrimination Against Women Against blacks and rightly say that. all we are children of God … abbreviation
Esq. Mr. D., D. Don
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