Seventh-day Adventist Church denies allegations of discrimination

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Seventh-day Adventist Church, South Leeward Conference

 

The opening of the new school year and the Seventh-day Adventist policies on deportment have ignited a firestorm of debate across the island and the Caribbean. The incident at New Bethel Academy that resulted in a child not being allowed to continue school because of lack of compliance with the dress code and appearance has, thankfully, been amicably resolved and both parent and school are reasonably satisfied with the outcome. The New Bethel Academy, like all our schools, sees every child as one who is loved by God and as such, desires the best for that person. We do so with the understanding that parents are aware that the institution is a Seventh-day Adventist Christian school and is governed by Christian values as articulated in its student handbook.

 

This incident has led to various pronouncements from various sectors of society inclusive of the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Rastafarian Community. These pronouncements are laced with charges of discrimination and even the threat of legislation, to force private institutions to comply with the wishes of public policy. I posit that the charge of discrimination is most unfortunate and ill conceived. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has long been an advocate of religious liberty. I dare say that there has not been a stronger advocate and there is unarguably no other religious denomination within the Christian faith that advocates more profoundly for religious freedom than the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We are at the forefront of the International Religious Liberty Association. In fact, the International Religious Liberty Association, a non-sectarian and non-political organization promoting religious freedom, was formed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church back in 1893, to promote religious freedom for all. We have a proven track record of fighting to defend the rights of religious minorities and even established Christian organizations that face opposition for their religious views. It is therefore regrettable that there is the suggestion in these pronouncements that our agenda is to discriminate against the Rastafarian Community.

 

What is most concerning is the suggestion of legislation on the part of government to govern the polices and standards of private Christian institutions. As a faith-based community, we believe in giving honour and recognition to the government. We are a law-abiding people. We however strongly disagree that Government should seek to dictate our standards. We therefore strongly condemn the various statements and view such as an attempt for secular authority to control or unduly influence the Christian Community on its values and principles. The lines between church and state should forever remain clear and while we have utmost respect for government, we remain a Christian institution.

 

We are aware that there are many who have varying opinions regarding disallowing certain hair styles in school. Permit me to say that hairstyle is not and never has been a matter of right or wrong, sin or salvation. It is a matter of discipline. It is for this very reason why there is an age of consent with respect to sexual relations. Children do not have the right to do everything that

 

 

 

 

 

 

adults do, and uniforms and standards in school are designed to assist with the process of development of discipline. It is for this reason why our handbook addresses matters of discipline in several areas and not just hairstyles. It should not be strange to think that a private institution has standards involving hairstyles that are contrary to another religious group. The reality is, the Seventh-day Adventist school is not the only institution that enforces such a rule. Further, there are public institutions, such as the police department, that have strict guidelines and policies regarding deportment and hairstyles.

 

Moreover, what is being requested of us to do is what we would never request of another religious organization to do for us. The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates the largest network of academic institutions in protestant Christianity. We have over 7,500 schools in nearly 150 countries worldwide. We take seriously the business of molding young minds for this life and the life hereafter. We are a Christian institution and while we advocate for freedom of religion, it is important to understand that freedom is never without limits. It would be unthinkable for one religious body to attend another religious institution and demand that they change their standards to accommodate them. Yet, this is what is being promoted by the various pronouncements. Religious freedom must be reciprocated equally. We support the Rastafarians and any other group in their quest for religious freedom and equity but not at the risk of giving up our own.

 

Respecting one’s religious rights does not mean accepting it. As Seventh-day Adventists, we maintain that our policies are justifiable and biblically sound. We continue to believe that there is a place in our society for discipline and warn that if the nation continues on the path of changing or lowering its standards to accommodate the popular, we will soon have grave effects on our society. I strongly recommend that we have conversations and tolerance rather than accusations and indifference towards those who hold views that are different to ours.

 

 

Carson L. Greene, DMin

President

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37 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the vain rants and ramblings however the point still remains that you

    1. Failed to demonstrate the true love of Christ

    2. Blantantly discriminated against a beautiful 5 year old who now because of your sick ideals denied an infant the right to be educated in what you claimed to be an upstanding organization. HOW DARE YOU!

    3. Demonstrated narrowmindness

    You are the same Sadventist people where the ladies LIVE in broaches and watches on hand chains tangling on their wrists as a way of disguising the desire to wear carnal jewllery.

    You are the same Sadventist who constantly struggle with doctrinal wars among the members.

    Your scholarly response with the use of highfalutin words attempting to justify what you have done is most unimpressive. You did something WRONG!!!!! If you have a problem with locks in like manner should you have a problem with permed hair! Let the sisters walk around looking like “how Jesus made them”

    Rather than going to an online news room to HIDE go public and respond! Man up to what you have done.!!!!

    Shame on you all!!!

    • All you need to do to become a rastafarian is to stop combing your hair and you’re a part of a whole religious group 🤔🤔

  2. So, nobody couldn’t advise President Carson L. Greene, DMin that he was shooting himself in the foot with this hifalutin and totally besides the point “response” to the subject of a child’s right to an education irrespective of how she/she wears their hair?
    The entire institution would’ve been better off letting the subject die a natural death.

  3. I no persons who go to seven day adventist Church who hv locks as a hair style so do see y dat same church person can’t sent there child wit locks it’s natural jus hv to be groom properly

  4. It is evident that the spokesperson for the Adventist Church has not addressed the troubling issue in his verbose response. It is a simple matter: did the Adventist school refuse admission and send a child back home because of her Rastafarian hairstyle, yes or no?
    No one cares how many academic institutions you have established across the globe. If you exercised bad judgement in this one instance, admit it, apologize, and move on. Your rant about your goodness and good intentions leave us all with a bad taste in our mouths. That’s not the humble way of Christ.

  5. Why was the “age of consent” needed to prove a point on matters of discipline and deportment? How distasteful…..

  6. Carson, when the government was reviewing the Public Holiday Act, ya r*ss min feel good for sit down in Parliament and “consult” with the same people you now don’t want talking about the c*lt you are a part of. Why you didn’t talk about the separation of church and state then? I also find it funny that you took so long to respond and your major gripe seems to be protecting your right to discriminate while you declare it as just having “standards.” I liken your kind to those who were upset when schools in the US were desegregated. There is no god among the likes of you. Like a typical Adventist, you put religious practice over people under the guise of practicing discipline. I hope the Adventist church here continues to fall apart like its members’ marriages and people in the church nuh tap fornicate and commit adultery until the church collapses and exposes you all for the evil lovers of religion and haters of people you are.

  7. Some of the teachers in the same Bethel school flop dry rusty wigs on their bald heads and no word is mentioned. Others perm their crusty hairs and no mention is made of that, others wear braids in their smelly heads until the braids fall out and no one complains. Yet a little pretty well kept girl is treated poorly. You are the reason why people dont go to you all corrupt money seeking church. You have not love and certainly are not christlike. Jesus loves no matter what…

  8. Gaston Gaston!! Make the law to prevent this bull from happening!!!

    Make it fast see if them lock down the school from hinder children with locks attend. Dont be sad about the law be sad how you all treat people with your damn nonsense!

  9. “We support the Rastafarians and any other group in their quest for religious freedom and equity but not at the risk of giving up our own.
    Respecting one’s religious rights does not mean accepting it.” These are the words in this letter that say it all. They are going to discriminate against anyone who does not hold the same religious beliefs as them when it comes to their school. However, the point to be made here is that discrimination on the ground of religion is unconstitutional. The child’s parents need to take the free legal services already offered to them and go to court to set the legal precedent that nobody has the right to discriminate on the basis of religion. 7th Day Adventists need to learn that they too are subject to the law like everyone else. You also note that the letter states that the church and the parents have come to a satisfactory resolution? That means the child has gone away to another school. I will bet you the child’s parents do not agree that this was a resolution. More like a religious persecution.

  10. The question is this : “What would Jesus do”- would Jesus look at the hair or the heart.

    Is there evidence to suggest that those who wear locks are more prone to indiscipline than those who don’t?

    Why would he prejudge the behaviour of this little angel.

    This letter is deeply injurious to the Seventh-Day Adventist Church

  11. The child is NOT rastafarian by RELIGION. It’s just her HAIRSTYLE. “Hairstyle” is not a protected class. Protected class includes:

    Gender
    Religion
    Sexual Orientation
    Disability
    Etc

    Watch out SASS. You are next Gaston Browne will soon “DICTATE” to you that your skirts are too short and “DICTATE” the skirt length.

    Just like the government (according to a recent ruling) has no right to “DICTATE” against buggery in PRIVATE BEDROOMS. It has no right to “DICTATE” discipline and GROOMING POLICY in PRIVATE SCHOOLS!!!!

    The child gets attend another school where her hairstyle is compliant with that school’s policy.

    The PRIVATE SCHOOL gets to uphold their policy governing their institution.

  12. “Bring ye the little children to me” that is what Jesus said.
    The crux of the matter is this:
    The words and deeds of Jesus or the dictates of a religion organised by humans.
    As for me, I will side with Jesus!

  13. Jesus did not say qualify it by saying: if you have locks, cut off the locks or stay home.
    He beckoned ALL.
    It is a pity the the ADVENTIST are going against the teaching of Christ

  14. I just heard that gentle man from the SDA respond on ABS and i am total disagreement with most that he had to say.

    He claim that Government should not get involve in church.
    This situation have nothing to do with church. All about school.

    We are not telling you how to run your schools world wide, but i believe you should run your Antigua school under Antiguan rules and regulation. All schools in A & B should have the same rules.

    Different countries have differing beliefs, customs, cultures and ethnic behavior. We should and must honor those.

    So, I can go to your church with my locks, but I cannot go to your school. Hypocritical.

    That point about Immigration and Police having their dress code is very muted. The Government of Antigua and the Min’ of Education have their policy and the SDA want to disregard that.

    Several years ago Fed Ex workers here, wanted to join Labour Union. Fed Ex said no, that is against our policy. But Antigua’s policy came first, they had to close and had someone be their agent.

  15. I think we all need to settle down and act level headed. None of the Christisn schools allows locs in their schools. Let’s take the police force for example or the army . Should our police force allow locs . I think if the government is going to pass a law on the schools. It should be right across the board. Police women can perm their hair but cannot carry locs hair style.

  16. Say so much bullshit in your rant and diatribe. Explain where in your narcissistic views that this child wasn’t discriminated against.

    You intelligent idiots think using your intellectual ability to string a few sweet sounding words or paragraphs together separate the dunceness that emits from your brain and mouth.

    I see people like you sir as nothing but a total jackass.

    While both sides of the political devide will jump on this because it’s a election year I hope they both boycott attending any or all Adventist church leading up to the election.

    One last thing I wish to say.

    Leaders like you in the Adventist church is considered nothing but hypocrits and should be called out for the blatant hypocrisy and comes out your mouths like the shit that flushes down the toilet.

    I will sign my full name to this because I stand by my comments without absolutely no FEAR.

  17. Honestly, I think people are getting worked up over the racial aspect of things after the BLM movement etc. in recent times. They view locs as a black style and thus assume that any objection to locs is discrimination and they feel hurt by that apparent rejection. They also view Rastafarianism as a black religion that is being rejected by more traditional Christianity which they view as the “white man’s religion”. The Bible actually says that the woman of God should adorn herself with good works not with broided hair etc. So, I can understand the Adventists’ point that it is a discipline issue. I guess they teach the children simplicity of appearance and character being more important than adornment. Whether adults in their church wear locs or not is irrelevant. Their job is to teach the children what they deem to be correct. The children can choose how far to go in either direction once they are adults. I also agree with them that it is a dangerous precedent for government to get caught up in the emotional racial reaction of the crowd and make laws targeting one religion over the next. Calm down people. No one hates your locks. It’s not racial discrimination.

    • @Honeybee No, because the Bible does not encourage punishing children for the sins of their parents. Christianity is also about repentance “Go and sin no more”. Wrong behaviour is often tolerated but not to be actively encouraged.
      Everyone should try reading the entire Bible whilst praying for discernment. Lots of persons try to tell “Christians” what they are supposed to be doing based on cherry-picked verses popular in the media. Important to read the whole book for better understanding.

      • You think a 5- year- old girl had much say in how her hair is styled? And even if she did, do you think it’s right she be denied entry to the school her mom already paid the fee for or go through the possibly traumatizing experience of cutting off her hair?

  18. Would it be discrimination if the child attempted to attend the Antigua Grammar School and was told no? Isn’t she entitled to an education? Wouldn’t that be discrimination by gender and age to say no? We “discriminate” all the time in society when we create clubs, groups, institutions that cater to certain people or specialize in certain things or apply certain rules to participate. The child can easily get an education at any other school or choose to comply with the rules of that institution. She was not denied entry based on who she is. She was asked to comply with their rules. The rules should be made clear in advance. If the rules are non-sensical then the family can discuss with the school, church officials etc. However, it is not the place of the rest of society to demand that a religious organisation be made to change its long-standing rules without an understanding of why the rules are in place.

  19. Private schools tend to outperform public schools academically. In Antigua that’s largely because of the rules and standards that they apply because most don’t actually have any extra facilities etc. here. It’s the school system that produces the results. While I don’t personally have an issue with locs, I do believe that uniforms and following rules regarding appearance and deportment help to increase self-discipline in children. Having self-control, focusing on what is most important in a situation (e.g. learning vs style) does help students to succeed more.

    • I hope your archaic type dies out soon. The child has to have their hair styled any which way you put it. If she was coming to school with her hair just out in an uncombed afro everyday, people like you would still be mad. At 5- years- old, she is probably still being bathed and clothed by her parents. Her grooming is her parents’ focus… not hers. You are so small- minded to think that it’s a dichotomy between “learning and style.” However, it’s a good thing to teach children they don’t have to be one thing. They can study their work AND carry themselves well. You can be stylish AND educated. You can care for your body AND work hard at your job. This either-or thinking is ill-discipline to me where you cannot balance different interests. You must lose your mind when you see a beautiful, stylish, AND intelligent woman. The idiotic mentality you have is probably why many Antiguans lack in the creative department though because there is limited room for expression. When you look at the US, people have rights cyar done and they believe in individuality. Now you can begin to rant about how many ills there are in the US but we still love what comes from America- the movies, television shows, the technology, the innovative medicine. Creativity cannot be nurtured under an oppression system. You mentioned such a silly means of explaining why private school students do better than public without mentioning ACADEMIC streaming where your child is given a test before they enter but you relegate the issue to a matter of style.

  20. What would Jesus do? Who knows? The school’s job is to educate children while also following the tenets of their faith. Children are different than adults. They are supposed to respect elders, follow rules etc., be taught right from wrong and accept discipline patiently while young. Adults are trusted to do their own thing based on their unique circumstances up to a point. If they cross certain lines then there are related consequences. Some things in the Bible are helpful suggestions, things people “should” do to have the best spiritual life. Others are strict commands, things people “must” do to avoid damnation. Nothing wrong with teaching kids both. There are no perfect Christians. Everyone is on a journey, hopefully getting better and better each day whilst trusting in Christ for salvation. But, children should always be directed towards what is best for them even though it is not expected that they will always live up to it perfectly. “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

  21. Not an Adventist but I believe in Freedom of Religion (within reasonable limits of course). People should be careful about encouraging governments to make all sorts of laws telling Religions what they can and cannot do at their institutions. Once you start encouraging governments to involve themselves in every little thing, there could be negative consequences for everyone. This situation could be resolved by respectful discussion instead of rushing to judgement.

  22. Son of Mami_Wata and Papa_Elegba, CHRISTened #Jumbee_Picknee(Spirit Child) at the #CrossRoad(☦️❌🏴‍☠️✝️☠️🤞🏾🙅🏾🙅🏾‍♂️⚔️of life known as SWASTIKA & SQUARE,says…

    I…Re-legion is structured like the Mob which uses FEAR like dope to control its followers.

    II…just like Politics, her sister/brother, RE-LEGION is like a #prostitute standing on the street corner and will screw all for power.

    III…RE-Legion is the biggest #CON_GAME played on HUEmans, as they use again, #fear to keep you in debt, as you travel towards DEATH to pay other DEBTS for what they, religion designed to control your spirit!

    Jumbee_Picknee(Spirit_Child)!

    • @Ras – you’re right, there’s a huge difference between love of Christ and “religion”. I abandoned “religion” years ago.

      • @Scott..⁉️😄😅I don’t wanna be “right.” I’m just an observer chill-axing under a need🌳 waving a branch!🕊

        You know mofo’s like me gets snuffed by the #Opus_Crew to #gorillas! But, hey! Fuck #fear to shine the light on truths and fallacies!

        U dun kno! A Jumbee barn, grow and enlightened me!

  23. That school is a private institution and has it’s policies and procedures, if the parents do not want to follow the policies of the institution then send their child/ren elsewhere. Why should the school change it’s policies to accommodate the few?

    • @Alex…what constitutes “private institution?”
      Are you implying it’s a business, separate and apart from the Non-Profit, non tax paying, everything FREE business entity called a church?
      If, it’s a private institution/business attached to the church, then are they paying taxes etc.?
      It’s time to get into the financial books of these “soul laundering” businesses called churches! They charge you, to wash your soul.
      They’re like the mob! Instead of laundering fifty lucre, they launder #Filthy_Souls!

      Hey, a gad tell me so!

  24. @ Roy Fuller Jnr. It’s funny how you can call a man all sorts of names and because you give your name, believe that your are it. You can simply agree to disagree, but, I don’t think I know any Fuller with locks. Seventh Day Adventist is the most organized and disciplined denomination of your Christian religion. You telling black people to boycott black people’s business adds a new dimension, coming from you. And I don’t care if yuh ah Antiguan or Nat.

  25. “God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.”
    ONE THOUGHT or TWO
    STEM. …STEM….STEM!!! Pre-K to tertiary! Our education system MUST PRIORITIZE STEM and business curriculum powered by our OECS and Caricom creative Arts (consciousness) in EVERY PUBLIC SCHOOL and INSTITUTION year-round – in school, after school activities and summer.
    Our economic growth and social development REQUIRE that transformation from the colonial education for elite management and unskilled labor.

    BTW, look at the picture of Ms Orna David, Antiguan, black, educated, beautiful, gorgeous young woman with African-Caribbean hairstyle! ANR article, 9/6/2022: Antiguan in the United States on the Prestigious U.S. Fulbright Scholarship Program.
    Would her hairstyle be approved of and accepted in our schools?

    Respect!

  26. the government needs to tell the FREEMASON LODGE near public works to STOP DISCRIMINATING AGAINST ATHEISTS!!!

    The white man DISCRIMINATE against the nuff and edge up BLACK people, so they call themselves “PRINCE HALL FREEMASONS”

    The white man don’t even want dem in them Hiram Abiff SATANIC house

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