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Church Relations

steve chavez2

Most Adventists grew up listening to sinister prophecies about people coming to take our Bibles. Hence the need to learn our memory verses, so we could defend our faith despite the absence of Bibles. We also heard rumors about Roman Catholics and apostate Protestants who would beat, imprison, and even kill those who insisted on worshiping on the seventh day of the week, God's true Sabbath.
My, how things have changed! Now it's not Bibles that are being banned; it's any book that fundamentalist Christians find objectionable, typically books about racial, gender, and ethnic diversity. State legislators in a frightening number of states are intentionally pushing legislation that would punish school teachers for teaching tolerance about gender orientation with fines and termination of employment.
Things in Africa are even more alarming. Several governments—with the support of Christian leaders (even Adventists)—support laws that seek to prohibit homosexual behavior with imprisonment, corporal punishment, and even death. A time of trouble indeed.
We have to be active and proactive. If we thought we lived in a tolerant, live-and-let-live society, we can think it no longer. People in power are seeking to marginalize those without power. We can't allow them to get away with it.
After World War II German pastor Martin Niemoeller reflected on the complacency that took place during the rise of Nazism: "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."
Jesus spoke about protecting "the least of these" (Matt. 25:40). Everyone should have a voice; and we should use ours to make sure they do.

— Stephen Chavez, Director of Church Relations

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