Stories from the Philippines, Malawi, India, Dallas-Fort Worth and Nigeria

Newly-elected President Rodriguez Duterte of the Philippines told journalists he might convert to the Adventist faith because his Catholic Church condemned him during the recent election campaign, reports PickJuan, an online newspaper. “I believe in God,” he stated. “I have a deep and abiding faith [but] Catholicism is all about pageantry. The Church does not have moral authority.” Duterte was accused of corrupt activities as mayor of the City of Davao for 22 years, including thousands of “ghost employees” on the municipal payroll and extrajudicial killings. He ran as a “strong man” and the Catholic bishops urged voters not to elect him president because of the corruption and violence associated with him. Reuters has reported vulgar comments he has made calling the bishops “hypocritical.”

Michael Usi, deputy director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Malawi, has again criticized the administration of the nation’s President Peter Mutharika in comments on the Daybreak Malawi radio news program, reported the Nyasa Times on Monday. Usi is widely known in the African country for his prior career as a comedian known as Manganya. He said that Mutharika is “sleepwalking Malawi into … economic turmoil [and] failure,” as well as referring to “many loopholes” for corruption in the government and a “cobweb of confusion.”

A High Court Judge in Bengaluru (India) has denied the appeal of the Adventist denomination seeking to keep secondary school exams from being scheduled on the Sabbath. The court ruled on Wednesday (June 15) after a hearing on Monday of the petition of the denomination’s South Central India Union Conference asking to reschedule exams scheduled for July 2 and 9 by Karnataka State Department of Pre-University Education as well as requesting a directive to the department not to schedule future exams on Saturdays. The appeal was based on “the freedom to profess, practice and propagate … religion as enshrined in Article 25 of the Constitution of India,” reported the Deccan Herald newspaper on June 10. The judge refused the petition “stating that in the Bible the Sabbath day is not mentioned as Saturday,” announced Dr. G. Nageshwar Rao, director of communication for the denomination’s South Asia Division, in an Email passed on to Adventist Today. Justice Aravind Kumar also stated in his ruling that the Bible does not say “that a student cannot study on that day,” referring to the Sabbath, reported The Times of India. The union conference stated yesterday that it will appeal the ruling, reported the Adventist Review.

Six young women graduating from local high schools were given college scholarships by Metroplex Adventist Hospital on Sunday to help them pursue college education toward medical school, reported The Killeen Daily Herald. Located in a city south of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, the hospital had 27 students from several schools apply for the scholarships. Among the six scholarship winners was Bich Nguyen, valedictorian at Shoemaker High School who earned enough advanced placement credits that she will begin her college education as a nutrition major at the University of Texas next fall as a junior and qualify to take her Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) a year from now.

The Hon. Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia State in Nigeria, was the speaker for graduation ceremonies last week at Babcock University. “I want to commend the Seventh-day Adventist Church for the vision to establish this institution that has produced people who are making Nigeria proud,” he said according to The Eagle. “The future of Nigeria is in your hands,” he told the graduates. The nation “is looking to you … for the solution to our economic problems … solutions to the killing of Fulani herdsmen … the insurgency orchestrated by Boko Haram [and] the avengers in the Niger Delta.” Ikpeazu is an elected official and a member of the Adventist Church.