Seventh-day Adventist Church Responds to Equality Act


(Spectrumbot) #1

Editor’s Note: On Friday, May 17, 2019, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the North American Division issued a joint statement in response to the Equality Act, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 17 and is currently awaiting consideration by the U.S. Senate.

The statement follows in full below:

On Friday, May 17, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act (H.R. 5). The bill, if it were to become law, would extend protection to gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals across a broad spectrum of U.S. civil rights laws. This would include employment, housing, public accommodation, and social services.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is concerned that this legislation would further erode the religious liberty of faith communities and their members. This bill makes no allowance for communities or individuals of faith who hold traditional views of marriage and gender.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes that every human being, regardless of their beliefs or choices, is created in the image of God and thus deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We recognize LGBT individuals often suffer unjust discrimination and are in need of legal protection.

Unfortunately, in attempting to provide protection for some, the Equality Act unnecessarily infringes upon the rights of others.

The way forward means addressing the concerns of both the LGBT and religious communities. We believe there is a better approach, one that builds upon the civil rights protections offered in the Equality Act by also reaffirming the First Amendment religious freedom rights of people of faith.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church reaffirms its biblical interpretation of marriage, gender, and our long-held commitment to the separation of church and state. The Seventh-day Adventist Church calls on Congress to pass legislation that guards the civil rights of all Americans, while unequivocally protecting the right of faith communities to live, worship, and witness according to their convictions.

This statement originally appeared on the North American Division website and the Adventist News Network.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9628

(Elias Rowlandson) #2

consider, imagining if the world kept the commandments, it would be equal. if you loved your neighbour you wouldn’t kill them, have an affair with their spouse, the church wouldn’t be wanting to exclude people, after all god loves the church, is his invention. if you are not in it, the thinking goes, you will drift away from god, what he values, don’t have a saving relationship as independent atoms.
or
the temple the temple, thinking of buildings, organisations, committees, is different from whoever loves God is the temple of God


(jeremy) #3

i don’t think the equality act will get through the senate, much less be signed by trump, without explicit protections for religious communities, many of which are part of trump’s base…the house knows this, but they’re eyeing 2020…

everything we’re seeing in washington is so counterintuitive now, we actually find ourselves looking to an all but indicted criminal who will certainly be impeached to protect our religious freedoms…


(Matt) #4

I think the more important question is what do commandment-keeping believers do when others choose not to keep all the commandments or worship in the same way. If we use the example of Israel under the direct command of Yahweh, I think we have to wonder if those who believe differently should be killed or oppressed by force. That’s certainly how Israel operated as a theocracy, and I have to say… it is not a good look. I always have trouble with this when Adventist theology is so intertwined with barbaric Old Testament values. How, exactly, do we support religious (or personal) liberty, when Bible-believing Christians think their perfectly moral god commanded stuff like this:

Leviticus 24: 10-16
Now an Israelite woman’s son, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the people of Israel. And the Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel fought in the camp, 11 and the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name, and cursed. Then they brought him to Moses. His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. 12 And they put him in custody, till the will of the Lord should be clear to them.

13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 14 “Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. 15 And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. 16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.


(Elias Rowlandson) #5

the struggle is real. humanly it’s like you shall not kill, has too many exceptions when you see how the theocracy ran. it was using buzz words you sometimes hear from the pulpits, do the cop out and go about it was a different world then, and yes it’s barbaric for our sensibilities who hear about wars but they’re thousands of km/miles away, therefore having a sheltered existence. here in Aus, I think of capital punishment as barbaric though people my parents age can be fine with it.
it’s easier to say whoever is or isn’t living right in our lifetime isn’t our responsibility to play god to an extent. and the line usually is what the state regards as being in the parameters of a modern civilised society.


(Jeremy S.) #6

I don’t think this bill will survive the Senate. However does anyone really think the NAD/GC objection to this bill is really about religious liberties? Or is it really about federal funding for our schools? The GC and NAD were very slow to condemn the “Kill the Gays” bill when it appeared in Uganda. But threaten a source of revenue and they release a statement the same day. I find that curious.


(Patrick Travis) #7

You just wont give up will you Jeremy. What are you going to do when the Barr investigator & IG exposes all the falsIties of the last 36 mos pushed on the American people?


(Patrick Travis) #8

Actually a well balanced statement.


(shshsh) #9

The presidential harrassment Trump has been victim to is enormous. Let’s continue to pray for him and count the blessings he has blessed our country with. God has blessed America in spite of the failing leadership from the House of Representatives. Imagine, we would never have been made aware of the coup attempt if a demoncrat would have won the seat. Soon the source of the coup attempts will be made puplic and we will see some justice


(Floyd Poenitz) #12

The misinformation in this statement is unbelievable. It makes me sad that my church would stoop so low as to issue this. The lack of caring and compassion is not the church that I grew up in. You can’t tell someone that you love them and care about them, and then kick them to the curb in the same breath. The statement is very one sided and gives no positive or viable solution for those who are LGBTQ Adventists, either attending and participating in church, or those who are employed by the denomination. This statement makes me realize that the church, as an institution, really doesn’t care about this demographic of its membership, and is only looking to cover what it feels is its good image.

Fortunately many pastors, leaders and church members do not agree with this sentiment. This explains why there is such a large exodus from the church. It is losing its viability to its members and doesn’t represent Christ on earth anymore.


(ROBIN VANDERMOLEN) #14

I am deeply ashamed, embarrassed and yes angry that Adventism has again showed bigotry, discrimination and hate towards a marginalized minority — their gay and lesbian members.

Five per cent of all Americans are gay/ lesbian — about one in twenty.

So every extended family of twenty members has at least one sibling,/ cousin / child / niece /nephew who is LGBT.

Blatant discrimination against any of these family members should
impact every other family member when love is the bond that holds them together.

The modern medical community emphatically declares that gay / lesbian individuals have zero input / choice / selection in determining their sexual orientation.

Yet through no fault of their own, they can be denied employment / housing and other benefits without any recourse or legal remedy.

True religious liberty means that no church or group of believers should impose their brand of belief on members of other faiths, or even people who have no faith. .

To use Adventist influence to deprive fellow taxpayers of what should be inalienable opportunities for jobs and housing is a travesty.

But then this is nothing new…

I am so proud and pleased that my religious affiliation is now elsewhere, so I do not feel sullied and soiled by this toxic travesty.


(Steve Mga) #15

Remember the incident at Andrews quite some time back. When a few students
wanted to sell cupcakes at their Village Market as a fund raiser for a housing
activity for GL’s in the Berrien area.
The Andrew’s Administration created a huge uproar over the few $$'s that would
be raised and banned the project in a most vocal way.
However the group went on-line and actually raised much more money by
donations.
What is put on paper is not always what is put into practice. [James says,
Show me your Faith by your Works.]
Yes, we need to see more Orthopraxy and LESS Orthodoxy.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #16

In employment and membership there is always a vetting process. The object to to determine best fit. The Boy Scouts are now in deep trouble over its failed vetting process. State universities are now dealing with the fall out of failed vetting of its sports physicians etc. Of course unreasoned bias is to be condemned and suppressed and even punished. The House Bill seems to be a step too far. For example, Certainly the Alabama. Law is beyond the pale. We are living in troubled reactionary times. The recent firing of a school cafeteria employee is an example of reactionary oversight.


(Alice C ) #18

This has been said before and countered. The group asked to sell baked goods in the Student/Campus Center and were denied. Apple Valley was no longer owned by the University, and, as far as I know, the group did not ask to sell anything there. The leader of the group went to the media; the increased publicity helped raise more money than would have been expected. The uproar was on the part of the leader of the group. The University preferred to handle the matter privately and calmly, but that was not the goal of the group or its leader.


#22

If this ‘commitment’ truly was ‘long-held’ by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, this protest-response of theirs might at least appear to be more than the last, regret-filled, puffed-up gasp of that supremely hypocritical man-made institution that has usurped ‘Adventism’ as its face of legitimacy.

There is no magic ‘morning after pill’ for the adultery that the General Conference has committed with ‘State’ Government courts in the past against its own loyal members, even. ‘State’ court actions that should never have escaped the boundaries of the church, alone, but did, and are now officially recorded in Government documents that cannot be ‘aborted’. (The court cases against the ‘congregational’ SDA church in Hawaii, the anti-papal billboard, the sellers of Pathfinder paraphernalia in Orlando . . . .)

The illegitimate ‘baby’ named ‘Hypocrisy’ will haunt every ghostly breath that leaks from the pompous GC windbag until it humbly adopts that unwanted child as its own, and gets real for a change.

Merely addressing their concerns to the government of the ‘State’ that hosts a major portion of the North American Division – instead of to God and to His Christian church, alone – shows that an undue attraction exists between the GC / NAD and that ‘State’ that should never have been conceived, and can only increase the illegitimacy of both.

On the other hand, IF the SDA General Conference and NAD had been leaders – instead of followers – in thinking, speaking and doing the right thing in regard to women and all other ‘minorities’, then none of us would be struggling through all of the consequences of such delayed actions, now.

For instance, if the SDA General Conference had simply read Galatians in their Bibles, and listened to those SDAs who tried to adopt its teachings 130 years ago . . . Merikay McLeod-Silver would have readily been paid ‘head of household’ pay-scale at the Pacific Press nearly 50 years ago, right when she so badly needed it (Or, perhaps she might have taken a side job writing and editing for the Catholic church ?) and no other female or ‘minor’ worker there would have had to struggle to make a living as an employee of ‘God’s House’. There would have been no need for the SDA church to comply with the ‘leadings’ of the Equal Employment Opportunity laws, because they would have already been leaders and exceed-ers of the intent of the ‘State’ law through following God, alone, and not men.

The very same dominant SDA male minority who now chafe under any threat from being forced to endure women and other ‘minorities’ as equals, by ‘state’ law, once had the power to prevent the current legal ‘threat’ to their minority by doing the right thing according to God’s Law of ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ – as equals – but they refused to do so, willingly, under the influence and ‘leadings’ of the Holy Spirit, even.

It is long past the time when any church or ‘people’ claiming to be “God’s” should be eagerly compliant with the more ‘fashionable’ sins of their own clique, while condemning those ‘filthy rags’ of the ‘others’. . . as in the church of the wind-blown Sneetches:


(Steve Mga) #29

LaSierra University Church had a most momentous sermon today on
Isaiah 58 and Early Seventh day Adventists response to it. It is a MUST
listen to as we think about Responding to the Equality Act as individual
Seventh day Adventists, as individual Congregational Seventh day
Adventists in our individual communities, work places, political activities.
We as SDAs have LOST our early Adventist responses to Isaiah 58.
This is WHY WE ARE SO FEARFUL of the Equality Act.
SDAs should be in the Forefront and NOT the Slave to the Equality Act.
It is 5/18/2019.
Catch it on LaSierra church site – is on Vimeo.


(Sam Matthews) #30

Those who teach that LGBTQ peoples are morally inferior because of whom they either by birth or choice enjoy having sexual relationships are doing a very real harm and should face every societal sanction possible. Particularly when they teach children in religious schools and churches. If churches were handing out KKK flyers there would be an uproar, but this is what this press release feels like. My spouse and I wept when we read it. Our church’s commitment to equality doesn’t take into account sexual diversity. It’s hard to fathom how this could still be the case in 2019 so many years after we celebrated the right to marry. Why should the church decide to publicly oppose equality when it comes to genital activity? It seems silly, but that’s what this is. When it comes to LGBTQ, all religiouspeople think of is how people who aren’t them have sex.

Women deserve and fought hard for equality and the NAD had supported this, largely consigning those who oppose ordinations to the most provincial outposts. But where is Dan Jackson on this issue? He’s opposing equality! What if his transgendered relative was denied the ability to participate in sports in the correct category? Would he then care? What about if he were denied housing because of his heterosexuality? He would be angry! But he doesn’t care!

To this, I say “Hooey, Dan Jackson. HOOEY!!!”


(Harry Allen) #31

Thanks, @vandieman.

You said:

In response:

Hear, hear!

HA


(2nd Opinion) #32

Jay0143 you’ve put your finger on the real issue here: federal funding for our schools. Just read H.R.5 and you’ll see that this is the only real threat. All this crowing about “religious liberty” is non-sense. We’ve been accepting federal student aid for years, without even a mention of the separation of church and state. Why? Because we were happy to take Federal monies as long as we could use them to teach and enforce our religious doctrine. As soon as the state puts conditions on that money, which is their right to do, we begin to act as if our religious liberties are being infringed upon. Rather than issue these sort of disingenuous statements, why don’t Adventists just own up to the fact that we are partnering with the Federal government in making private, faith-based education available, and that sooner or later, there will be legitimate compromises to be made in that partnership.


(Lynden Williams) #33

This is about human suffering. This is about fairness, vs. injustice. I find it repugnant to see my church refusing to take a stand for the rights of those who were born with a different sexual orientation. Only an idiot still thinks that a person chooses to be gay or lesbian. They are dying from suicide at a rate 7 to 8 times greater than the general population, not because of who they are but because of how they have been shamed, humiliated and disenfranchised, and yes even hated. It still goes on in the SDA church today. Just recently, I heard a church member in my own Adventist church say that a gay person should not be allowed to enter our sanctuary. The declaration against this bill simply legitimizes the hatred and bigotry that has been boiling in the undercurrent of the church for years.

Though I ‘m not fond of the political rhetoric on this blog, I find that people who think that Judges Kavanagh and Thomas are innocent and who have simply accepted the words of whom they wanted to believe and ignored, once again, not one but several women who have risked their own credibility to tell a very difficult but true story, I, categorically, believe the women. Just like I believe the 21 women who accused President Trump of sexual crimes, that, had they been reported at the time, would most likely have put him in prison, but, unfortunately, we have put him in the White House instead. Even the bible says “if two or more witnesses”. I’m sure you believe that Bill Cosby is guilt, as do I. So Cosby had 50 accusers so he must be guilty, but Trump only has 21 (who were willing to come forward) so that must not be enough? He was having sex with a porn star and a playboy model while his wife was giving birth to their son…what does it take for you people to figure this out? Not to mention, the Access Hollywood tape, where he bragged about what he actually has been accused of. It wouldn’t be so bad except that we are dealing with all of this because, the “Evangelical Christians” want Roe vs. Wade overturned and are willing to install the most unchristian person in the country in its highest office, and are willing to overlook everything that he is.