Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reviewing the Adventist Review

December 23, 2010

Vol. 187, No. 41


This issue is standard Christmas devotional fare. Click on the above address to discover author, title, and a short summary. Click on the following addresses to get the latest church news. I have a comment, but this time it’s about two letters to the editor.


Myklebust Named Interim Head at Newbold College
Jane Sabes resigns after two years in role.

Antillean Adventist Hospital Resumes After Flood Damage
Hurricane Tomas closes AAH for a month.

Ministry Editor Satelmajer Completes 40 Years of Service
Former pastor, administrator leaves a legacy of accomplishments.

WWU Students, Church Members Set "The Longest Table"
Fellowship, outreach topped the menu.


Robert Paulsen and Marlilee McNeilus wrote to complain about including THE SHERROD AFFAIR, and editorial by Fredrick A. Russell, in the October 14 Review. Paulsen complained that putting “an article of this nature in our church paper just two weeks before a very important election is not right. This article is pure politics and has no place in our church paper. To berate the tea party in over half of the article seems a little strange…I don’t think we should feature political subjects; but if we do, we need to hear both sides of the issue”.

McNeilus wrote, “I am very disappointed that the Adventist Review would publish such a critical article about racism and politics…The Adventist Review should not be anyone’s platform for this personal and political opinion.”

What was it that was said that upset these readers? In what way were Russell’s words “political”? Are these readers so disconnected from television news that they didn’t see the hateful and disgusting racist placards carried by “the fringe elements of the Tea Party movement”? Shouldn’t our Church and every Seventh-day Adventist Christian applaud Fredrick Russell’s sentiments? Did McNeilus interpret this editorial as a Democratic fundraiser? Shouldn’t these tactics also outrage Republicans?

I’m concerned that the Review editors decided to publish two such critiques. Was the critical response so intense that two letters were required? Are the editors pandering to what they perceive to be a Republican audience?

In the online issue of this Review, only one contribution to WORLD NEWS AND PERSPECTIVES was omitted from the online edition. It was coverage of Michelle Obama’s Anti-Obesity Initiative. In the December 2010 edition of the Pacific Union Recorder, the headline of the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty page was RELIGIOUS LIBERTY DEPARTMENT CALLED TOO LIBERAL. Alan J. Reinach, Esq., felt the need to explain, “The Adventist Church is not partisan, politically.”

In conclusion, I’ve quoted liberally from Fredrick A. Russell’s editorial. Let me know what’s partisan and/or political.

“During the past year many Americans have watched with growing concern as some of the fringe elements in the Tea Party movement crossed the line from basic political dissent, which is every American’s right, to actions that looked, well, racist, while hiding under political cover. Some of the signs at Tea Party rallies were, frankly, offensive to many Americans, as they brazenly advanced racial stereotypes.

“As my family and I watched some of the Tea Party rallies on television—observing both the signs and some of the rhetoric—we were shocked by what we saw. The overwhelming majority of people participating in these rallies were only expressing disagreement and dissent, and there was nothing remotely racist in what they said or did. But that wasn’t the case for all.

“Add to that the racially tinged conversations emanating from some radio talk show hosts, coupled with the nightly cable television talkfest, and you see a “neo-populism” emerging that says it’s OK to subtly project racist views: just don’t call me out on it. Pointing out the racism evokes an explosion of vitriol.

“Despite what’s clearly seen and heard, it is made to seem that the opposite is occurring. How does the saying go: “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

“I ask, then, where is the Christian church in all this?

“Martin Luther King, Jr., in his profound letters written from the Birmingham Jail to the White clergy of that city back in the 1960s, lamented that the clergy were standing silent in the face of overt racism and violence against their Black brothers and sisters, while at the same time vehemently criticizing King for agitating on behalf of justice. The clergy of Birmingham framed it that King and the demonstrators were the problem—not the police and city power structure intent on perpetuating injustice.

“The church in that era did not collectively raise its prophetic voice to oppose injustice, but facilitated it by its silence.

“Given the intense political environment in which we live in America, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to call out wrong because of the swift retribution and obfuscation that often follow.

“Notwithstanding the risk, the church must have a strong, moral voice in responding to any kind of wrong, refusing to be co-opted by a culture that insists on silence.”

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