June 16, 2009

1517 Web Letters

Jeremiah Wright and End Times
It seems to me that in his column, “Religious Liberty and Jeremiah Wright” (May 21, 2009), Fredrick Russell misses the point of the objection to Jeremiah Wright’s statements.
While Wright’s statements are objectionable to me and most Americans, it is not his right to say these objectionable statements from the pulpit. I don’t believe Wright’s comments were out of context of his philosophy of America or his preaching.
The problem is that a presidential candidate attended Wright’s church for 20 years, then claims that he (the candidate) didn’t know what believed or even what he preached. I’m sorry, but you can’t attend church, even irregularly, and not know the direction and beliefs of the pastor/preacher/church.
There’s no question that the right to say things that are objectionable, even the right to your own beliefs, is in jeopardy. Changes in what is offensive--what someone says about an action, philosophy, religion, belief is “hate speech.” Good will be called evil, and evil will be called good.
In the United States the right to free speech is in jeopardy. Australia, Canada, England, and other European countries have laws that can punish you for what you say about your beliefs. Australia, Canada, and, I believe Sweden, have prosecuted pastors for preaching what the Bible says about homosexuality or other religions, i.e. Muslims.
There’s no question that our Seventh-day Adventist beliefs may be seen radical statements and that persecution is coming soon.
I am concerned that the president, who sat in Wright’s church, will sign into law a “hate speech” law that will make “perceived offensive speech” illegal. This law is specifically for those who may hear a sermon in an Adventist church that says homosexuality is a sin and can have the pastor prosecuted for a felony. What will they take away next, our Bibles. Oh, the military just did that in Afghanistan.

Christ is Coming!
Kennon J. Martin
Paradise, California  

I agree with Fredrick Russell that the scenario he created is likely. But I hope and pray that the video clips the media uses are of a preacher “teaching” this truth and not “preaching” it! What’s the difference? Teaching is clearly and calmly stating the facts in an intelligent dialog. Preaching is what Jeremiah did: screaming his opinion, working his audience up into a frenzy.
As Jesus was a rabbi (a teacher); so we should be also, teaching the love of God and His prophecies as they apply to our time.
Cam Litvin
Hillsboro Oregon

Awake and Aware
Regarding Bill Knott’s editorial, “A Good Word About Politics” (May 14, 2009): Ellen G. White’s involvement in movements to combat systemic injustice remains our church’s underreported story. Indeed, most Adventist pioneers were not afraid to challenge society’s ills, even at the risk of being “politically incorrect.”
Though many Adventists continue to carry on this legacy of intrepid social activism, I wonder if our collective voice has been muted regarding the caste system of India, female genital mutilation in Africa, state lotteries in the United States, child sexual trafficking in Asia, etc.
For Adventists in the United States, our political involvement has sometimes been limited to promoting politicians who are opposed to abortion and supportive of tax cuts for those who have the most in society, biblical injunctions to care for the poor and the marginalized notwithstanding.
Maybe Knott’s article should have been titled, “We’re Really Confused about Politics!”
Cindy Tutsch
Silver Spring, Maryland

The Gospel of Green?
I am responding to the editorial, “Good and Green” (Apr. 9, 2009), and the subsequent letters about environmental responsibility (May 21, 2009).
In his original editorial, Bill Knott made the argument that the environmental movement is a “righteousness by works” issue, and implied that environmental responsibility is at odds with more weighty religious issues. I originally ignored the editorial, but had to respond when some letters showed that others actually agree with this.
As a disclaimer, let me say I own neither a hybrid nor a Hummer. In the editorial, Knott makes light of things like “picking up roadside trash” and “driving tiny hybrids”. He implies that spending money on environmental issues is wrong when there are greater social and moral issues to spend money on.
However, it seems that it is possible to be environmentally responsible and to also be serious about other important issues. Most of us could stand to consume fewer resources. For instance, many Americans (including me) could stand to eat a little less. Then we might actually fit into a “tiny hybrid”. Knott even admits in his editorial that his “carbon footprint” is bigger than it should be. Maybe as we consume a little less, there will be more to spend on other important issues.
This is not an issue of righteousness by works; it’s just the right thing to do. Driving a “gas guzzling Hummer or SUV” is not going to “reach those who are no longer fellowshipping with us.” It is absolutely possible to consume less as we share Jesus with those around us. Being environmentally responsible is not at odds with the cross.
Mark Reeves
Grand Terrace, California

The Bible says God will destroy those who destroy the earth. What have we accomplished if we convert people who don’t protect Gods earth? They will be destroyed along with those of us who also don’t protect God’s earth.
We are told that flowers, trees, and mountains reflect God’s glory.
William D. Sandborn

The Stories Go On
What a lovely surprise to see photos of my grandparents, Eric and Agnes Hare, in a recent Review (Page 7, Apr. 9, 2009).
Last month I met descendants of the “Jungle Heroes” when I traveled with my husband, Herbert, to Cheng Mai, Thailand on one of his ADRA trips. Esther Irvine and Cho Cho Thel are ADRA workers whose grandfathers were among my grandpa’s closest friends. Esther knew “Silver” well and saw the scarred finger where “the snake bit it, the knife cut it, the fire burned it, and the water cooked it.” Esther’s mother and aunt, “Little Little” and “Sweet Sweet” in Grandpa’s books, are in their late 80’s and still active, exuberant Christians. The band instruments Grandpa taught them to play are still being used in those remote villages. It is thrilling to know that Grandpa’s work lives on in them and that they are committed Christians against all odds.
Debbie Eisele
Takoma Park, Maryland