Sunday, November 02, 2008

Jesus Would Vote No on Proposition 8

Have you heard about the Seventh-Day Adventists who support gay marriage in California? Honest to God. There's a Christian organization called "Adventists Against Proposition 8." They're hundreds strong and they’ve got a public service announcement (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90ANZiOK0o0).

I’m a Vodou-loving-Rumi-reading-aspiring-Neopagan-Buddhist these days but, believe it or not, I grew up Seventh-Day Adventist. In fact, I went to the largest Haitian-American Seventh-Day Adventist church in the Boston area. I got baptized at age 10 and, from then through high school, I was a devout, Bible-studying Christian ― specifically proud to represent the Seventh-Day Adventist activist legacy.

The church’s founder was a woman named Ellen G. White. She wrote about 5,000 articles and 40 books on religion, education, nutrition and more. Seventh-Day Adventists believe Ellen G. White was God’s prophet. In one of her alleged 2,000 divine visions, she saw a halo of light surrounding the Fourth Commandment (the one about remembering the Sabbath day and keeping it holy). So SDAs, like Jews, are not allowed to work from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. And because they keep a Saturday Sabbath, they consider themselves to be a minority group. They’re activists too! Historically, they’ve had to fight employers and governments to keep their jobs and preserve religious freedom.

This last important bit about religious freedom is why Adventists Against Proposition 8 exists. The website devoted to their cause boldly declares, “We believe that this Proposition, which would amend the California State Constitution to define marriage as only 'between a man and a woman,' breaches the spirit of religious liberty, separation of church and state, and non-establishment of religion that Adventists have long cherished. By supporting this Proposition to define marriage from a religious perspective, many, including the Church State Council, are in danger of imposing their particular religious, theological convictions upon the general public.”

Can I get an Amen?

As religion professor David Larson cheerfully points out in the video, “Jesus was concerned that all people be treated with dignity and respect and equality.” Although I won't be rejoining the SDA community anytime soon, I'm surprised, inspired and touched by their faith-based work for social justice. I hope more Christians will be encouraged to “Vote No on 8 for Jesus’s Sake.”

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