Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America Issues Statement Emphasizing Importance of Equality for All Americans

Columbia, Md. — The Statue of Liberty, a longstanding symbol of freedom in the U.S., has these words engraved on its base: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, … Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Some today, however, are questioning the presence of those on our shores who come from countries currently facing political, economic, and natural disaster challenges.

As the most ethnically-diverse Christian denomination in the U.S., the Seventh-day Adventist Church proudly defends the rights of all men, women and children, no matter their country of origin — the equal rights afforded in the United States Constitution and fair treatment as immigrants and refugees in our beloved country.

Almost every American citizen’s lineage includes immigration from a foreign territory, and many came here with the hope and promise of a better life made possible by a nation that recognized the fair and equal treatment of all its citizens. As a religious group that was formed in the U.S. more than 150 years ago, we celebrate the religious liberty that is given to all who choose to live and worship here. Our country is at its best when we celebrate the ethnic diversity, cultural variances, and freedom of religious expression of all Americans.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church joins other communities of faith in prayerfully calling for all Americans to search their hearts and seek God’s guidance in their daily interactions with others. God creates all His creatures equal and His love is available to all who accept it, no matter their background, place of birth, or economic status. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

This statement was issued by the North American Division (NAD) of Seventh-day Adventists on January 16, 2018, and originally appeared on the NAD’s website.

Image Credit: Photo by Julius Drost on Unsplash

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8512
2 Likes

Well, my eyes flew wide open at the absurdity of this. If events of recent years are any indication, I’m not sure they understand the meaning of the word, “equality”.

Yes, just before I saw your words above it dawned on me that this was not a statement from the GC but a statement from the NAD, a fact that was not entirely clear to me as the entity was not specifically mentioned in the headline or the statement itself, and usually I am remiss in reading the after notes on these articles.

So yes, I agree, perhaps this statement IS a proverbial “line in the sand”.

5 Likes

I’m so very sure they do. We’re all equal. Some are just more equal than others.

For example, women and those awful gays. They’re less equal. But if you’re a man, and straight, then you’re more equal. And you’re welcome to participate fully in the church.

7 Likes

EQUALITY of ALL.
Except in the World Wide Seventh day Adventist church.
Except in the North American Division.
Those who ATTEMPT to make EQUALITY FOR ALL in the SDA church
are disciplined by their Conf., Union, Division, Silver Springs Officials.

What is THIS called???
Janus-Faced??? Two-Faced???
Our North American Division President is TOO WEAK to change
things, or else, he Doesn’t Care To.
Keeping In-Equality in the SDA church is easier than being a
President Lincoln and announce – Emancipation Proclamation of
Equality.
Maybe he is AFRAID!! Pres. Wilson, Losing his JOB. Having to go back
to a small community church somewhere as a shepherd of a small flock.
Not hobnobbing with “important persons.”

Sirje – Equal in Amerika.
According to the Seventh day Adventist church [of which I am an active member], NO. NOT ALL HUMANS are Equal before God.
The Scriptures say THEY ARE. The SDA church say, THEY ARE NOT!

PS-- George
I believe my comments and observations mirror yours.

John – instead of just “putting a line in the sand”, WHY NOT build an Edifice of Equality in EACH CHURCH in North America and DECLARE that ALL North American Church Members may be elected to ANY position in North America. Women and Men have equal opportunity and treated the same.

I am NOT SURE our President is willing to say that ALL GOD FEARERS will be treated as Equals in the SDA Church or even be ALLOWED to become baptized in a SDA baptismal tank or be allowed to become members “in good and regular standing.”

Javier-- The 10 Commandments IS COMPASSION. It is defined by “Love – God, Yourself, Others”.
that is WHY Psalm 56:9 can say – “God is for me”. God has the Universe working on its own. Because so, all his attention is elsewhere. WE are His Children. WE are His current creative work.

4 Likes

What exactly prompted the North American division of the seventh-day Adventist Church to issue this statement of equality on the 16th day of January in 2018? Odd.

About that statue - I passed it when I was eight years old; seeing it for the first time on the SS Washington on my way from Hamburg, Germany to NY City where my family was to embark on a new life in AMERIKA. It had taken us five (5) years to get a visa that allowed us to move to the US as “Displaced Persons”, since our own country had been over-run by the troops of another nation - the Russians - who had been given permanent control of our nation by a deal made by Pres. Roosevelt on the island of Yalta. Why, I’ll never know; but that’s how we came to be displaced, not wanting to get sent to some gulag in northern Siberia. It took 5 years to accomplish that. Little did we know, all we had to do is get a slow boat to Mexico and stroll across the border to get free room and board in California. As it was, my dad had to learn a new language, not having landed in California, and a new occupation - as a plumber. I had to immediately go to school and learn ENGLISH (not having landed in California). Fortunately there were no Estonian translators in my classroom so I had to get busy and learn English, pronto - ultimately learning enough English to get a degree and teach it.

Right away, my family was equal to everyone else, making our own way in a country that provided equal opportunity to anyone willing to learn and to work. To have that opportunity, we had to also learn the language that this country runs on - its laws - its traffic signs - election rules - and understand qualifications of those running for government positions. Had we insisted on living in an Estonian ghetto (if there be such a thing) we would never have become assimilated into the culture of the land that gave us our opportunity for a better life; and we could not have become equal.

We were forever grateful that we were in a country of safety where those hoodlums couldn’t get in because there were stringent regulations for entering; and a value system that protected democracy.

As for the SDA church making a statement about the importance of EQUALITY - Isn’t everyone in AMERIKA equal anyway? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

10 Likes

Reading between the lines, or perhaps directly, this statement again supports not only equality of race, culture, background, etc., this statement also underlines and restates the NAD’s continuing support of gender equality.

1 Like

My, my, my. The unfathomable depths of…

Has the whatever committee who formulated this outstanding policy ever consider they should start at their backyard before expecting others to follow their lead? Otherwise the burden of credibility rests on this committee. And religion is all about credibility.

6 Likes

LIKE THE GOVERNMENT, IS THE CHURCH ALSO TRYING TO NORMALIZE HYPOCRISY AND CRAZINESS?

This is just outrageous! How do the black suited guys upstairs DARE to question the intelligence not only of the SDAC members but of the whole world?

I take exception to the statement issued by the NAD (which is part of the GC). I refuse to be just treated as an imbecile, so here is my protest: the following statement,

is false, it’s the opposite of what we all have seen happening since the inception of this Church’s history. Let be no mistake, the current GC Administration does the impossible to perpetuate DISCRIMINATION OF WOMEN in our Church by not offering equal opportunity in ministry and other areas as well. Their statement is unrealistic, false, and manipulative.

I know that the NAD issued this statement with the best intention, talking about immigrants. But they should have added a remark admitting that equal opportunity is NOT a universal principle within the Church - as anyone can easily verify.

What we really need the most is to replace the current GC administration in full, with people more sensitive to the reality of those very people they are supposed to lead!

Dr. Cupino, @elmer_cupino, what is wrong with those people???

6 Likes

What does gender equality mean if the NAD continues to discriminate against the LGBTQ community? If you’re transgender, good luck working as an ordained pastor.

5 Likes

Worse, good luck being a member in good standing. The church’s infantile remarks on sexuality don’t even acknowledge the concrete reality that not all of us are either fully male or female, that there is an in-between. Stupid beyond imagination.

4 Likes

:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap: Amen! Powerful statement. Something that many in the upper eshalons of power have forgotten. Compassion and law must go together.

1 Like

Notice the “If”

God is not "for " the SDA church. It is against it.

Remember that the SDA church = the poor, blind, naked lukewarm church that needs to repent and get eyesalve, gold & clothes.

Jesus had reservations of 5 of the 7 churches in Revelation, speaking “against” the first one Ephesians.

Is God the first love of the SDA church or is the world?

Actually I confront the dumbing down clergy who regurgitate & parrot clichés & religious lingo more than those who gripe about WO & LGBTQ.

What improvement is there over presenting LATIN masses to audiences if the sermons presented are loaded with ambiguous, obscure, religious lingo or unexplained bible verses ?

Here is one for U…“Washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb”

Try to get a preacher to explain the contemporary , practical meaning & application of that phrase/verse.

Something to always celebrate. Thank you.

One additional step, beyond just good intentions. Is to tackle the prevalence of prescription and street drug use, youth rap music with its lyrics creates a separate mindfulness or lower moral and homelessness due to inadequate education or mental health issues. These issues in themselves create deep “cultural variances.” Words won’t make any difference at all.

“As the most ethnically-diverse Christian denomination in the U.S., the Seventh-day Adventist Church proudly defends the rights of all men, women and children …”

Really? How about the unborn children? Are they entitled to breathe free" as well? How about the thousands who were deprived of life inside our Adventist hospitals since 1970 when our leaders allowed elective abortions to be offered in our medical institutions?

“Shocking History of Abortion in Seventh-day Adventist Church”
Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6tY4yC0Xlc

3 Likes

Hey Nic. Here is an annual service done in churches all across the US. It’s called Abortion Awareness Sunday. Question, do you think you will ever see an Abortion Awareness Sabbath? Please respond in Lounge if possible,

2 Likes

When the Adventist Church, most recently in Australia, has fought tooth and nail to prevent same sex marriage, denying tax paying LGBT citizens the huge financial, estate, and tax advantages enjoyed by their straight cousins and siblings who are legally married, where is this boasted “equality for all” ??

5 Likes

Coming, as it is, from the North American Division (NAD), this statement immediately appears incongruous with itself. The NAD spans territories pertaining to over half a dozen countries, and yet this statement allegedly promoting “equal rights” in our “ethnically-diverse Christian denomination” shows extreme favoritism toward just one of those: the United States of America. So much for equality. Perhaps the most surprising omission is that of Canada, for it is the home of the NAD president, Dan Jackson. It would seem that Canada deserves at least an honorable mention–or are U.S. citizens really considered the most important members within the NAD?

2 Likes

I find this article so hypocritical and divisive and deceptive on at least 2 accounts…

As the most ethnically-diverse Christian denomination in the U.S., the Seventh-day Adventist Church proudly defends the rights of all men, women and children, no matter their country of origin — the equal rights afforded in the United States Constitution and fair treatment as immigrants and refugees in our beloved country.

  1. No one that I know in America is trying to take anyone’s rights away from those who are here legally. Those who are not here legally, don’t have a RIGHT to be here…so they need to leave, and if they want to come back, they can come back in the FRONT DOOR, LEGALLY.

  2. The way they word this is deceptive. They are really sticking up for ILLEGALS & DACA but they don’t come right out and say that.

  3. Strange to me how the church has no problem finding their voice and using it to support LAW BREAKING ILLEGALS, but they can’t say a PEEP in favor of the stopping the murder of innocent babies in SDA hospitals. Hypocrisy at its height.

2 Likes

It seems the statement from the NAD was referring to immigration in th US and the absurd vulgar statements made by Mr. Trump concerning individuals immigrating from disadvantaged countries, especially people of color. This was a very thinly veiled rebuke of Mr. Trump. It had nothing to do with Canada or other countries in the NAD. It did tout the “virtue” of the US SDA church which is not inclusive by any means. Not only does the church refuse to accept LGBTQs but it also rejects individuals who do not dress as they do, who are poorer than they, who are not as well educated as they, etc.

2 Likes

Seems curious that the NAD statement concerning “equal rights” uses the Statue of Liberty as a supporting image.

The NAD statement isn’t as much about liberty as it is about rights. The inmates at the local maximum security facility have plenty of rights, but precious few liberties. Liberty is about freedom. Rights seem more about entitlement.

Rights are more or less “inalienable” and cannot be taken away. They may be violated, yet they do not cease to exist. Whereas liberties are granted by a power greater than the “liberated” one.

So, what was the NAD trying to say? Seems uncertain. Yet is is not a bad start if they are dipping a toe in the turbid waters of human relations. Not a bad start at all.

I give the NAD a “high-five” for opening a window into the discussion of rights and liberties (if that is what they are up to). In a world of shackled liberty and battered rights on so many fronts, Christians have the corner on ministry to those who have been sanctioned and violated. By “these” I mean all who have known the painful sting of abuse in all it’s forms (as well as those who have inflicted those very stings).

Why the corner on ministry? Because we are in love with the One who lost (gave up) His liberty to live and His right to speak His heart to mankind (but for a short while). He has shown us so well how love and grace form the foundation of liberty and human rights. And He chose His believers to show others tell just how it really works.

Take a look in your closet of failed foibles and consider. As I look in my closet I see false starts and failed attempts. The NAD folks are no different than the rest of us. They need guidance as they navigate the swamp of human experience. Each one of us (wounded, weary or not) could take the liberty to rightfully say, “Just how may I be of help”?