Seventh-day Adventist Church Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Employment Decision Impacting Religious Liberty

This statement originally appeared on the North American Division website and is reprinted here in full, with permission:

Seventh-day Adventist Church Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Employment Decision Impacting Religious Liberty

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in Bostock v. Clayton, County, Georgia is a landmark decision with far-reaching consequences in the area of civil rights, including religious liberty. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals from sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church supports protections for LGBT individuals in the workplace that include robust religious liberty safeguards. It endorsed the Fairness For All Act (H.R. 5331), which would extend protections to LGBT individuals not only in the workplace but in many other areas of society as well. Unfortunately, today’s decision leaves almost as many questions unresolved as it answers.

The Supreme Court referenced the current religious protections afforded by Title VII, the First Amendment, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Further, the court also noted this decision only directly impacts employment decisions. Issues surrounding public accommodations such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and other private spaces are yet to be addressed.

By interpreting federal law in a way that was never intended, today’s decision unfortunately impacts the legislative process in a way federal courts typically do not. In addition, the ability of faith-based institutions to maintain their hiring and conduct standards is now in question and will be the subject of significant litigation.

For these reasons the Seventh-day Adventist Church remains committed to the Fairness For All Act and calls upon the U.S. Congress to enact it.

—General Conference and North American Division Leadership

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10523

In addition, the ability of faith-based institutions to maintain their hiring and conduct standards is now in question and will be the subject of significant litigation.

The clock has run out on the right of religious institutions to hurt people. This mistreatment has been documented, the harm is real and lasting, and if it takes the government to step in and stop it, so be it. The time and money the church spends on “significant litigation” in the coming years could be spent on educating our church members and supporting our LGBTQ youth and their parents. Let’s pray they come tho their senses.

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Another way of saying, “We support everyone treating LGBT+ people fairly as long as we don’t have to.”

Pharisaism at its best. :rofl::joy:

Honestly, I don’t care at this point which side of that the denomination comes down on. They just need to be honest with themselves and with the world what their real motives are, and it’s most definitely not “Loving the least of these.”

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That’s the first thing I thought when I’ve read the news…

  1. They are not going to like it
  2. They are going to wrap that dislike in language that resembles support, but is concerned about implications.
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The Fairness for All Act, the church supports was anything but that. The church’s doublespeak on the rights of LGBT’s to be protected from discrimination was filled with loopholes. Today’s Supreme court decision is long overdue. That it was a 6-3 majority is all the more compelling. It is not a conservative vs. liberal issue, but a human rights issue. Of course the naysayers will try to argue it as a loss for religious liberty. I can hear the roar of the religious zealouts already.

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i was pleased with this decision, especially justice gorsuch’s contribution…i hope he continues to veer from the evangelical right in the future…i think his reasoning was impeccable: obviously sexual orientation and gender identity should be included in protections in title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act against “sex” discrimination in the workplace…

as for where our church goes from here, obviously we must uphold the bible’s anti-LGBT position as our official position - we have no choice…but i think we should consider seeing this official position as aspirational - like so much of egw’s and even the bible’s lifestyle counsel - and allow individual church members and employees to make individual choices in this area, even if these conflict with our official position…

membership and employment in our church shouldn’t depend on an advanced understanding of or experience in adventism…everyone, in whatever stage they’re in, should be made to feel affirmed and welcome…lifestyle choices, especially those concerning sexual orientation and gender identity, are complex, and often times painfully made…a sledge hammer one-size-fits-all approach is manifestly incorrect…if individuals make decisions that conform to our official position, it should be because they feel personally convicted to do so…there should be no other reason brought to bear…

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Bottom line here as far as “religious liberty” is concerned (aka in this case, the right to continue to discriminate legally on the part of the church), is that Gorsuch would not have sided with the majority, let alone written the majority opinion, if, due to this ruling, there was any danger of religious institutions being required to treat people with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings.

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While exulting in this SCOTUS affirmation of gay rights, the fact that three justices chose to vote in favor of continuing discrimination in the work place is egregious.

This would have been understandable some years ago when the general wisdom was that LGBT individuals chose to be gay / lesbian.

Because of this supposed choice, conversion therapy, changing gay to straight, was advocated —- now banned as detrimental and useless in many states. And COMING OUT ministries a group of allegedly ex gays, paraded around the planet by the GC at tithe payer expense, advocates a subtle masked form of this conversion therapy.

All major western psychology, psychiatric and medical associations have for a long time held to the scientific view that LGBT individuals have zero input nor choice in their sexual preferences, nor can they change them.

They are no more responsible for their status than are red heads, blue eyed blonds or left handed people— born that way.

So homophobic discrimination against people born that way, is just as egregious as racism — hatred to people born with differing skin color.

In this BLACK LIVES MATTER era,
shame on the three justices who wish to continue work place discrimination by hateful homophobic employers ——- LGBT LIVES MATTER !!!

As to the SDA church position, they are merely locked in to our homophobic scriptures — the so called “ clobber texts “ which are virulently anti gay.

Our God has three manifestations — JEHOVAH to the Orthodox Jews ( who are hateful to their LGBT offspring ) ALLAH to the Muslims
( who throw their gays kids off high buildings ) and GOD to fundamentalist Christians, ( who shame and shun their gay children.)

In all His manifestations, God programs His followers to be hateful, hurtful and homophobic to their LGBT children.

God clearly hates gay children —- He has created so much MISERY for them over many millennia.

By contrast all other religions, BUDDHISM, HINDUISM, SHINTOISM and African tribal animist religions,
all have ZERO homophobic content in their scriptures,
doctrines,
beliefs,
practices.

So regrettably Adventism is locked into the hateful homophobic stance dictated by our Scriptures.

Regrettably, our General Conference, programmed by hateful texts in the Bible, can have no other stance than to be miffed by and distance themselves from the new SCOTUS anti discrimination ruling.

Our LGBT young people will continue to have to hide and dissemble their true identities if they wish to seek denominational employment.

Many Adventist gay kids would yearn to have atheistic parents, or Buddhist parents or Hindu parents — they would be so much happier !!

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The Bible is not anti-LGBTQ+. The church is anti-LGBTQ+.

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Parts of the Bible are anti-LGBTetc.; parts are not. Parts of the Bible are sexist and racist; parts are not.

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Indeed it is ironic that the church which claims to be remnant perpetuate such gross misrepresentations of the Bible. One can only imagine how the angels must weep and the heart of the almighty very sad at their obstinate ways.

The church has and would again if asked tell you that they are merely quoting the Bible when saying that LGBT are an “abomination before the Lord” as per Leviticus 18:22. Indeed they would vehemently deny any animus and solemnly say it is written, expecting that to be last word on the matter.

If they claim to live by these laws then:
a) One should be free to sell their daughter into slavery as permitted by Exodus 21:7
b) Because you know someone who insists on working on the Sabbath are they morally obligated then to kill them themselves or should the police be called to handle it. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death.
c) Should we stone a farmer or gardener for planting different types of crops next to each other?
d) Can one burn his mother at a small family gathering because she wears an article of clothing with two different types of fabric?

Should the church repent of it sinfulness and willful disobedience for ignoring these clear and unambiguous thus saith the Lord instructions and proceed to carry them out. Or the church should repent of its misuse of scripture, willful ignorance and hypocrisy.

Any denomination which prides itself on scriptural based obedience to the commands of God but then only picks the ones they want is doomed.

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The problem is less the Old Testament condemnations of homosexuality as it is the text of Romans 1. One can easily dismiss the OT texts as we do other OT texts while pretending that the Bible isn’t self-contradictory. But Romans 1 cannot be disavowed without disavowing St. Paul and the specious doctrine of biblical inerrancy. And once the SDAs disavow inerrancy, then the whole fragile house of cards comes crashing down. So the conservative wing of the church and the ecclesiastical establishment continues to lie to itself and its membership.

This is no surprise, the SDA conservative wing and establishment continues to promote the foolishness of “young earth creationism” and a literal 6-day creation week - a position which cannot be squared with the commandment against bearing false witness. But it’s easier for a religious institution to continue to lie to itself rather than face the uncomfortable truth.

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I am NOT impressed by the statement.
Adventists are known for stating one thing on paper, but acting is a different way in practice. Like, for example, “equality” except women can’t this or that…

Yes, Pharisaism & Hypocrisy as usual. Or, well, prove that it is not!!! With right and honest ACTIONS!
Not going to happen…

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This is a joint statement of the GC and the NAD. Is it common for both entities to issue joint statements? (or the GC and any other division)

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SDAs , to my best knowledge, don’t claim a view of Biblical inerrancy. They claim Bible as infallible, and that concept is different from inerrancy.

Inerrancy claim is that Bible makes no false or misleading statements on any topic whatsoever. The infallibility claim is that Bible makes no false or misleading statements on any matter of faith and practice of faith.

So, generally, in SDA tradition that follows infallibility concept and not strict fundamentlist inerrancy, the idea is that Bible will have certain baked in misconception as concepts and language of the people who wrote. For example, the classification of bat as a bird would be wrong in the way we do it. It wouldn’t be wrong in context of that particular culture.

Good question!
But, again, it is all inconsequential since it’s just a mere statement anyway.
The GC also supports FB #14, does it not? And look what they do in real life in regards to “equality” and the way they treat women in Church affairs. Their words have absolutely no credibility. And their actions tell us all we need to know…

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I don’t really see any difference between “inerrant” (without error) and “infallible” (without fault), but I have never studied the way the two terms are used.

I have no issue with so-called “errors” of classifying a bird as a bat or calling Jonah’s sea creature a “fish”. Well after the Bible was written we defined the concept of “fish” to exclude the whale and we defined the concept of “bird” to exclude the bat.

But if innate homosexuality is OK, I don’t see a way around Romans 1, (just like I don’t see any way to maintain biblical infallibility or inerrancy while allowing women to speak in church).

My solution is to say “Paul got a few things wrong”. I believe that this is so plainly obvious beyond the shadow of a doubt. I’d rather be honest and truthful about scripture than to cling to the erroneous notion that scripture is perfect.

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Thanks for this statement. Now we are going somewhere!

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Compelling evidence that the Bible is purely a product and reflection of man’s stature.

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Travis
You state THE BIBLE IS NOT ANTI LGBT

Tell that to the British ANGLICAN church whose extreme anti gay stance ( thanks to their Scriptures ) has imprinted hateful homophobia in all of East Africa — Uganda Kenya etc. The residues of British colonial rule ( really Anglican anti gay attitudes ) mean that being homosexual in those countries is criminalized. The inherent African animist tribal religions are not anti gay.

Decades after Ghandi threw off colonial rule in India, that country has just recently decriminalized homosexuality, —-a residue of Anglicanism. This despite the fact that their indigenous Hinduism has not a hint of homophobia.

Christianity contaminated ( I use the term advisedly ) those countries, creating misery for their marginalized gays.

God, who is allegedly omniscient, who allegedly “ inspired “ the Bible authors,
surely had to anticipate with His acumen,
that His anti gay texts would permeate all of western Christianity with hateful homophobia.

God is the enabler, and complicit in, two millennia of gay bashing, gay bullying, gay murders and anti gay atrocities, all perpetuated by His hateful Scriptures.

Japan’s Shintoism means that country is not inherently homophobic as are most Christianized western countries, thanks to Biblical influence…

Long ago I discarded the OLD TESTAMENT with its God ordained genocides and other atrocities — most of it not suitable bedtime stories for toddlers. The word “ abomination” is used multiple times, mostly for benign, trivial items such as wearing clothing of two differing fabrics.

However, the New Testament perpetuates the problem, with Paul’s homophobic rants.

God’s “ inspired “ Word has only inspired multiple decades of discrimination against gays and continues to do so, despite tortured hermeneutics that attempt to prove that God, Allah, Jehovah does not have an anti gay agenda.

As a regrettable result, Adventism remains shackled with its own TW dominated, anti gay agenda !

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