Seventh-day Adventist Entities Respond to Charlottesville

In the aftermath of a clash that turned deadly on August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, Seventh-day Adventist individuals and entities from across the United States have responded with a call for love and prayers for the victims, denouncing the violence and hate that led to the tragedy. Below is a round-up of the various statements that have been issued thus far:

On August 13, Daniel Xisto, pastor of the Charlottesville Seventh-day Adventist Church, published an essay entitled, “I’m Not Ok,” in which he listed the many reasons why he was not ok after Charlottesville, as well as the reasons he would be “alright.”

The North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists issued a statement on August 14. In it, President Daniel Jackson and Executive Secretary G. Alexander Bryant stated jointly:

We are deeply disturbed by the violence and hate that descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend. We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Heather Heyer, who was standing up against bigotry and hate when her life was senselessly cut short. We pray for Heather’s family, the community of Charlottesville, and all of those who were injured by the attack on those who rose up in solidarity against evil. As Christians and followers of Jesus we stand with Him against the white supremacist groups that spread racism and violence. We pray for the day when all of God’s children, of all races, treat each other with love and respect rather than bias and hate.

A joint response issued by William T. Cox Sr., President of the Allegheny West Conference, William Miller, President of the Potomac Conference, and Dave Weigley, President of the Columbia Union Conference followed on August 15. It read in part:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Heather Heyer and Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M. M. Bates of the Virginia State Police, who lost their lives on Saturday, August 12, during the violent uprising in Charlottesville, Va. We’re also praying for healing for all who were injured and impacted.

As a church, we abhor evil and stand against individuals and organizations who perpetuate hatred, violence and discrimination. God calls each of us to love, to be compassionate and to show mercy to all people no matter their race or gender. We honor that call and stand in solidarity with those who seek peace and justice. We pledge to do everything in our power to end the scourge of racism, sexism and discrimination whenever and wherever we see it.

The presidents of both Oakwood University and Andrews University also issued statements on August 15 and 17, respectively.

The Presidential Statement from Dr. Leslie Pollard read:

Like many Americans, the Oakwood University family is grieved by the events that transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend. Our deepest sympathies go out to the victims of the mindless violence perpetrated by the agents of hatred as well as the peace officers who lost their lives last weekend. As a community of servant learners, who have been on the receiving end of history's wicked racism, intolerance and brutality, we stand with the millions of citizens who condemn racial supremacy, bigotry, Nazi hate groups and their racial prejudice.

Our nation is built on respect, tolerance, and the acceptance of all who embrace our national values. The Oakwood community commits itself to working for a society which embraces peace, understanding, and generosity of spirit. May God bless all who renew their commitment to such a beloved community.

President Andrea Luxton, in an email communication to faculty, staff, and students, stated in part:

Only a few days ago, white supremacists, Neo-Nazis and members of the KKK decided to use another campus in Charlottsville, Virginia, as the base for despicable words and acts of bigotry, racism and hatred. I stand with the many others throughout this nation to condemn without reservations both the philosophy and actions of these alt-right groups that seek to demean, diminish and even eradicate those whose skin color and in some cases religion are different to theirs. Such actions and words are completely counter to the values of this campus and the gospel which we live.

Michael T. Nixon, who filled the newly-created position of vice president of Diversity & Inclusion at Andrews University, wrote a blog post in response to the events in Charlottesville, in which he called on “those in leadership in our church: Pastors, Local Conferences, Unions, Divisions, the General Conference, our sister higher education institutions, and medical facilities, to take—and continue to take—affirmative steps to denounce the violent hatred and bigotry that was embodied over the weekend in Charlottesville by the alt-right, KKK, neo-Nazis, and other like-minded domestic terrorist groups.”

Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference, issued a statement via video on August 17 entitled, “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” In the 4.5 minute video, Graham spoke out strongly against racism and intolerance:

Growing up in 1960s Detroit, racial unrest is far from foreign to me. But never could I have imagined that 50 years later not only would our racial wounds have not healed, but they have further deteriorated in many ways. As a Christian leader, I now call first on all who name the name of Christ, but who have been nurturing the spirit of division, to repent. If you are indulging the spirit of racial division, the spirit of anti-Semitism, you must repent. There simply is no place for hatred among followers of Christ. No place for racism or intolerance.

He ended his statement with a call for Seventh-day Adventists to meditate on Jesus’s words in the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are those who mourn, For they will be comforted. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:4, 9, NIV).

Alisa Williams is managing editor for SpectrumMagazine.org.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8173

I have no sympathy with Nazis or the KKK. However, I do support their right to express their views in a nonviolent manner. Left leaning fascists such as Antifa have the same right. Both groups were armed. So who was the more guilty here?

If the presidents of the universities or Spectrum posters feel free speech must be denied to some folk, who decides and how? SCOTUS has already spoken on the issue and did allow Nazis to march in Skokie in IL, a Jewish neighborhood at the time. There was no violence.

The issue here is not the repugnant views of the KKK or Neo-Nazis. They have always been free to express their repulsive opinions just like each of us. They, however, are not allowed to be violent, and the Antifa have no such right either. You could even argue this was a police management issue where they should have kept the two sides separate. It would have made the whole episode a local nonproblem. Not a thing dividing the nation.

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Good points, Allen. Both sides engaged in violence. Both are culpable on that point. The police appear to have botched security.

The one thing that I would add is that the idea of drawing moral equivalency (which I’m not saying you did) between the Neo Nazis and KKK with groups that resist them is that there is none. None! The resisters would never have been there if it weren’t for the catalyst of hate, bigotry, and calls for ethnic cleansing by these alt right groups. They are the cause. We fought a world war to ensure that the world would be safe from such moral poison. It must be resisted firmly and bravely, albeit peacefully, whenever it rears its ugly head in our society. As a Christian, I believe it is doing justly, part of the prophetic call of the gospel.

Thanks…

Frank

@mtskeels9496

Did you not see were I wrote that resistance must be firm and brave, albeit peaceful? How do you miss that agreement between us?

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I notice you call them “resistors”. So where do these resistors of yours come from? Some library some where? A ladies book club or 2? Man up and admit what the pictures and videos proved. That the counter protesters were ANTIFA, the group who has rioted destroyed property, set building and cars on fire and are such scum that they wear black and hide their faces. This is far more terroristic demeanor and actions than the sorely mistaken skinheads have exhibited in recent years. One loon drove a car and the simple minded individuals try to tie Trump and everything else they dont care for to it. Where were they and their superior sense of morality when Antifa protests were happening and antifa sniper shot and killed cops?

The stank of rank hypocrisy surrounds all such one sided myopic thought.

Even Robert Reich disagrees with you.
Robert ReichLike Page
19 hrs ·
The way to fight violence is not with more violence. The way to fight hate is not with more hate. The so-called “antifa” is wrong.

The most effective way to fight the violent right-wing supremacists Trump has unleshed is with peaceful moral indignation: Millions of us peacefully demonstrating against bigotry. Tens of millions of us using words, not weapons, to condemn racism.

Trump would like nothing more than a new civil war.

Remember history. The civil rights movement didn’t change the minds of bigoted fools. But it did unite much of the rest of America against them, because it showed them using violence against peaceful Americans seeking social justice.

It is the same now. It’s crucial that America stands up against the hate and violence of neo-Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists with peaceful resistance.

What do you think?

‘Antifa’ Grows as Left-Wing Faction Set to, Literally, Fight the Far Right
Recent events in Charlottesville, Va., where white nationalists clashed with counterprotesters, have brought new attention to a coalition of radicals…

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As President Trump has said, maybe not strongly enough.
Both sides were in the wrong. But there were good people among them.
Certain groups wanted to take the law into their own hands by damaging monuments.
Other groups were there to protest the damaging. The Anti-damaging monument group had a permit.
The Police stood by and did nothing at the request of the Mayor of the city.
Mention on the radio was a Craig’s List advertisement for protesters. Were ALL of these
monument protesters from Charlottesville, or were they outsiders???

I heard an interview played on the radio today of a black woman. She said even George Washington
and Thomas Jefferson HAD TO GO because they owned slaves. Anyone who owned a slave, even
though a patriot, NEEDED TO GO if there was a Memorial to them.
JUST HOW FAR is this MONUMENT destruction of famous people in the United States going to go???
And WHEN will these people be happy???
REMEMBER it was the Democrats who were the KKK, the lynch mobs, the mutilators of black men.
In one town of Alabama in the middle 50’s, one very successful black business man who had a wife and
several children was gunned down on a road, left there for the wild animals to eat. One theological student from Boston was shot in front of a store by the owner in that town. The man went to the sheriff office turned himself in. Was declared NOT GUILTY by the jury. Last year, at 91 yrs old. He was interviewed. He stated he "would do it again, if the opportunity was there."
It was the Democrats that resisted Integration and forced Segregation for so long.
Even one Southern Senator, re-elected many times was a member of the KKK. And that was OK.

Some months ago I heard persons saying that Stone Mountain, GA had to go.
The White House had slave labor building it, if I recall correctly. Does IT NEED TO BE Burnt down, or Blown up?? We have a lot of pre-civil war famous houses here in Macon, GA. Do THEY need to be burned to the ground?
Once these Monuments to famous people start going, there will be NO STOPPING their destruction.
What has happened in Charlottesville is ONLY the Tip of the Iceberg!

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There is no excuse for violence and murder by anyone for any reason at any time representing any cause. The “both sides are wrong” argument/excuse doesn’t work or pass the “smell test”.
A person who suggests that one act of serious wrongdoing does not differ from a minor offence commits the fallacy of moral equivalence. A different kind of Equivalence Fallacy is used when, for example, a leader argues: “Yes, I used illegal means to govern … but so did my predecesor!”. This type of moral equivalence fallacy is called the “tu quo” argument (“But you’re one too!”). At some level, this is a pathology of self-criticism, it is all our fault, and if we were better, then we could fix everything. Meanwhile, while we demand the highest standards of ourselves, we treat the terrorists as morally challenged, who can’t even understand the questions of intention and cannot be expected to self-criticize. We become incapable of making the distinction between victims and perpetrators, and end up blaming the victims. “Heather (the victim run over by a Nazi in a car) should not have gone to the demonstration to peacefully protest. She put herself in danger” some have actually said that after the tragedy at Charlottesville. How can any person be claiming that the “other side” has made mistakes as well or that relatively harmless activities are comparable to major crimes?

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It is time to invoke the legacy of Martin Luther King, who would never have supported the tactics of the counterprotestors against the radical white supremicists.
He used peaceful means to overcome racism and discrimination, not the kind of confrontation tactics of groups like black lives matter who even disrupted the rally of Berney Sanders, an ally, in Seattle.

The racists who gathered for the protest wanted to provoke a violent response, and got just what they were itching for. Condemn these neo-Nazi, KKK, and assorted other racist haters for what they stand for, and then quickly move on toward being a peacemaker to bring reconciliation between all races. I especially applaud Pacific Union Conference President Ricardo Graham for his words about peacemakers. We can sit here in a stewpot for weeks, or even months, and churn with all kinds of continuing statements, and demand that other do likewise, and the pot of unrest will just keep roiling.

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Robert Reich is a flaming liberal, but he’s right about ANTIFA, one of the few on the left with the guts to admit the truth about it… The principles espoused by MLK seem to have gotten lost in all the hype and hysteria surrounding this issue.

As much of a loose cannon as Trump is, I don’t think he really wants a new civil war. The radical left wants to paint him that way, but he’s an enigma wrapped in a mystery, and defining him is nearly impossible.

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I’d like to comment on the quote in the article from the three conference presidents. They say, ‘God calls us to love, to be compassionate and to show mercy to all people no matter their race or gender.’

Yes we should be saddened and concerned about what happened in Charlottesville.
Yes, we should pray for all those whose lives were impacted - particularly those injured and especially the families of Heather Heyer and the two police officers who died.

But should we not also pray for the people who have become involved in hate groups and thus feel they can be fulfilled in some way by resorting to violence? Don’t they need our prayers as much, if not more, than anyone else? If we believe that God’s love is stronger than human hate, we should earnestly seek it for all people. I am reminded of a lyric by Marvin Gaye: ‘…for only love can conquer hate’.

‘But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.’ (Matt 5:44-48)
Interesting how Christ’s definition of perfect differs so much from ours.

I don’t condone nor am I trying to make excuses for what happened but it got me thinking about an article from an economist I read several months ago. Its description of the true unemployment situation among white males in the US reminded me of the conditions in Germany between the world wars:

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We need Peacemakers
Dont get involved dont go to these rallys and waste precious police resourses
Things are said and done and it gets out of hand
DONT GO

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There is a fallacy in the argument of moral equivalency between the two factions in the Charlottesville disturbance. To try and make this argument would be equivalent to suggesting that when the Allied Forces hit the beaches at Normandy, that both sides were wrong. There is a moral imperative that far, far supersedes the simple tit-for-tat thinking of the simple minded among us. After all, the Allied Forces were the aggressor as they attacked land held by the Nazi forces for several years. Yet, there was little descent among the free world for this aggressive movement, because it was morally right.

If Charlottesville were simply a movement for freedom of expression, or even the saving of civil war statues, I might see some validity in equivalency. It absolutely was not. The Alt-Right, White- supremists and KKK made it perfectly clear what their intensions were, which was to start physical confrontation. They spoke of the violence they intended to perpetrate prior to the confrontation. They spent 24 hours prior to the violent clash, marching around with tiki torches chanting vulgar anti-Jewish statements, while others among them were throwing out extremely derogatory slurs including numerous shout-outs of the “N” word, while carrying their AK47’s their clubs and pistols strapped to their hip, and in almost the same breath, shouting praises for President Trump.

A police captain, after the deadly confrontation, pointed out that the Alt-Right group agreed to come in from the North end of the park while the Anti-demonstrators were to be kept at the south end of the park. The Alt-Right protestors simply did not follow the directive that they agreed to and instead came around to the south end of the park, wading right into the counter demonstrators, where any rational human would have expected the violence that followed.

At some point, politically conservative Adventists are going to have make a decision. There is no moral Adventist equivalency available to you. Your either “right” with Jesus or your “wrong” with the devil.

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Even before Martin Luther King, jr was tragically shot in Memphis, there were a number of Black Leaders who did NOT like the way Martin led. They advocated a very militant stance. Once Martin was put out of the way, they had full rein in their working on Black minds.
And, just like George Washington Carver warned back in his day, there are Black leaders who are making LOTS of money by continually stirring up, and making up, devisive issues among Blacks.
these all keep them in power.

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i don’t think donald trump is such a mystery…his long history of racial bias shows his a racist trying to navigate through a world where accidentally revealing that fact presents practical obstacles:










i also think it’s too late for trump to change…the best that can be done is to keep him from acting on his natural impulses as much as possible…

but i think it is clear that the trump presidency, with its blank moral slate, is drawing us inexorably into adventist eschatology…his remarkable call for tomorrow, sunday, sept 3, to be a national day of prayer for the people of houston in the wake of harvey connects sunday with a natural weather disaster and the political clout of evangelicals, not to mention the catholicism of melania trump…as i see it, this is the mix of time of trouble ingredients we’ve been raised and educated to expect, but on a harmless, germanative level for now…

How can people blithely accept the labels that people such as “white supremacists/neo Nazis” give themselves. Did not MANY American troops from North and South of the country, black and white, give up their lives and limbs in a fight to the death against the REAL NAZIS, the REAL WHITE SUPREMACISTS who would have murdered the entire nation of petty white American wannabees, if HITLER had listened to his physicists and developed the atomic bomb ? Also Hitler berlieved the white race should be divided into three firstly the Nordic northern Europeans , and two other inferior categories typified by mousy-brown or black hair and round heads . these others were to serve their natural masters the blonde long-headed Nordics or be enslaved and/or wiped out or be used in medical experiments. The REAL Nazis even captured blond women from Poland and if their eyes were not blue enough they experimented by injecting blue dyes into their irises. All of them went blind and died in extreme pain and agony. I would not wish such treatment even on avowed racists and white supremacists , and my ancestry is black. Fighting in selfdefence to the death is one thing, this is the human way, but unthinkable brutality, is the worst of the human instinct for violence. WW3 is upon us. lets see how God is gonna work out things here on earth

Back in the 1980’s we heard.

"It is clear that the Reagan presidency, with its blank moral slate, is drawing us inexorably into Adventist eschatology…his remarkable call for Thursday, May 1, 1986, as National Day of Prayer, His affiliation with the political clout of evangelical (moral majority), not to mention his appointing an ambassador to the Pope, AND, let us not forget his fatal wound was healed… and his first, middle and last name all have six letters…as I see it, this is the mix of time of trouble ingredients we’ve been raised and educated to expect, but on a harmless, germinative level for now…

Turns out he was another mere mortal with dementia… and we are still here. looking for the boogey man to usher in the second coming…

… but I digress… Trumping your long list of articles (sorry, could not resist the pun) is this sobering assessment.

I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any-day. To the leaders of thr Adventist Church:
Show me by actions that you stand against racism. Show me by opening and desegregating the conferences. Show me by supporting the at risk churches and not politically alienating them because they are poor. Show me by having open conversations about what is needed within the church to support inclusion by all. Tear down the walls. Show me by equally financially supporting Black and White Adventist colleges. Show me True diversity intended to treat all of Gods children equal. Otherwise Lucy Byard(1943) and Other brave Adventists who died fighting racism died in vein and your sermons are simply flowery words used to ease the pain but not intended to end racism.