In 1993 Adventist Today joined Spectrum as welcome components of my church reading and study material.  These publications fill an important role in keeping Adventists like myself informed of things that the Adventist Review either cannot or will not cover.

So it is with a great sadness that I must write now in response to recent trends in Adventist Today within the context of the 2016 US Presidential Election.  For the first time in my memory, we had an Adventist on the stage in the Primary Debates.  As I seem to recall AT covered Dr. Carson fairly, being very careful not to take sides either for or against him.  I applaud you for that.

The mission of AT according to the website is: “Adventist Today (AT) is an independent journalism ministry serving the global Adventist community and readers interested in a reliable source of information about the Adventist faith and institutions.”  You have exercised admirable editorial restraint over the last few months.

  • Just prior to the Democratic Convention, evidence came out that the Primary Race for the Democrats had not been run fairly by the DNC. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had to resign as the Chairperson; but I don’t recall any coverage of this from AT.  There was no article or news release about “Honesty”, “Justice”, or “Integrity” even though it was pretty obvious that Bernie Sanders had never been given a fair chance.  You were perfectly silent, as you should have been.
  • In July when Bill Clinton had his famous “secret meeting” with Attorney General Lynch in the airplane, I didn’t see anything in AT about the obvious impropriety of this. Nor did I notice any FB posts from any of the principles involved in the publication.  You were perfectly silent as you should have been.
  • The same can be said of the FBI Directors famous July announcement just a few days later. In spite of the fact that in his announcement and subsequent testimony to congress he confirmed that Hillary Clinton had lied repeatedly, and that “there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”  I don’t believe there was any coverage of this in AT.  And that is fine because your readers do not expect you to cover it – it is not the purpose of the publication.  You were perfectly silent as you should have been.
  • You have been silent on the Clinton Foundation that the FBI is still investigating. You didn’t get into the book “Clinton Cash” or “Hillary’s America” because that would have obviously been too political. So you, as well as 95% of the main stream media have kept a pretty low profile on all of that.  Although if John Podesta had been able to show that even one sentence of his emails, released by Wikileaks, was inaccurate we all know that would have been front page news everywhere!  Same with the two books.  But It is hard to refute what Peter Schweizer and Dinesh D’Souza have laid out regarding the Clinton corruption and the history of the Democratic Party so most on the left have just chosen to ignore it.  And again, You were perfectly silent as you should have been.

So why, with such a perfect record, did you choose to insert yourself into the election just days before America voted? 

My first sense of trouble came in a comment by AT Executive Editor Dr. Loren Seibold in an otherwise good report where he labeled Donald Trump with a very negative term.  I called the AT office and registered my concern ….  My point to him would have been, “Pastor, you can have any opinion that you want on the election and Donald Trump privately; but when you as an Editor of AT or as a Pastor of a church make that known you alienate a portion of the people that are either in your readership and/or in your congregation.  And this is so unnecessary because this is off target to both your goal as a Pastor and the mission of AT.”

Then came the Oct 23 AT posting of Carolyn Nelson’s: “Why Were We Silent?”  You used a picture of Trump and introduced it with the words:  “Donald Trump’s boorish behavior has raised an important question: Why do women who are sexually harassed and abused remain silent?”  In my view this article, appearing just two weeks before the election was a terrible call on your part.  You had been appropriately “silent” regarding all of the issues with the candidate on the Left – why did you choose to break your silence at this time and in this obviously partisan way?

One of the greatest examples of Christ’s teaching on showing love and respect for the “other side” came for me from Laura Bush back in 6/9/2008.  Reuters reporting:   First Lady Laura Bush. In an interview with ABC News, Bush said that Obama’s February remark that she was proud of the United States ‘for the first time in my adult life’ was misconstrued. “I think she probably meant ‘I’m more proud.’ That’s what she really meant,” Bush said from Afghanistan. What an example of putting the teachings of Christ and the Golden Rule into practice!  I would hope that a Christian Publication like AT would at least do as much.

Only God and the principles involved know the truth about what did or did not happen.  What we do know is that Trump was recorded 10+ years ago saying things that no practicing follower of Christ would say.  And he has confessed and asked forgiveness for that.  So you are faced with something that someone has said that is awful for which he has apologized vs. all kinds of things that his opponent has DONE that are beyond the pale.  As a lifetime Conservative faced with a binary choice like that, I chose to go with the Republican Platform and look past the very flawed candidates.  But that really isn’t my point and doesn’t matter.  My point is “Why Didn’t Adventist Today Remain Silent?” rather than going off target and getting into politics?

When I read things on the Huffington Post or Breitbart News, I realize that one comes from the Left and the other from the Right.  I take that into account and expect them to each have their positions and spin.  But not Adventist Today!  I care too much about this publication and its role in our church to just ignore the problem!  So I ask you again:  “Why Didn’t Adventist Today Remain Silent?” rather than going off target and getting into politics?

Jere Webb

Eagle, Idaho