by Andy Hanson

This publication is insidiously homophobic and anti-Catholic. (At other times I would question the theological implications of THE FEAR OF GOD by Vanessa Sanders and comment on Cliff Goldstein’s defense of the substitutionary atonement theory in his essay, MISTAKING A PART FOR THE WHOLE.) But this issue promotes pernicious fundamentalist screeds that are terrifyingly out of touch with Christian charity and transparent reality.

Gina Wahlen begins the assault on sensibility with her essay, SPEECH IS NOT FREE. 

“Bob” is someone I’ve known for a long time. He’s kind, intelligent, dependable. He’s also gay. As much as I care about Bob and accept him as the wonderful person that he is, the Bible still clearly condemns Bob’s lifestyle. Just as there is “scientific evidence” for evolution, and “scholarly evidence” for a heavily redacted, neutered Bible, some claim science to support “alternative sexual lifestyles”—even within the church. The basic issue is: Who or what is our authority? Upon what basis do we decide what is truth? Science? Cultural norms? So-called experts? The Bible—sola scriptura—has always been the gold standard of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The fact that Wayne Blakely has been given a chance IN CHRIST to advertise his “pray away the gay” Coming out Ministry is stupefying. These so-called “ministries” have been discredited by every authoritative medical journal, and their destructive effects on the children and adults subjected to them have been chronicled ad nauseum.

It has been almost 40 years since the American Psychological Association concluded that homosexuality is not a disorder…[It has] the potential to do harm to young people who may be enduring bullying and harassment for being gay.

And then Andy Nash takes the stage to support Wayne Blakely and champion “sexual purity” in his essay THE MISSING STORY IN “SEVENTH-GAY ADVENTISTS”

Blakely’s isn’t the only voice of purity—not by a long shot. His Web site links to other “redeemed” Adventist men and women who have put their eternal destinies ahead of short-term tendencies. A beautiful new memoir, Out of a Far Country, by a gay man, Christopher Yuan, and his mother, Angela, also shouts purity from the shelves of mainline bookstores. These stories are the truly heroic ones.

If this wasn’t enough to make me cough up my breakfast of 4-grain cereal with strawberries and blackberries, there was Shane Anderson’s anti-Catholic TO BEAST OR NOT TO BEAST, illustrated with both the traditional beastly pictures and an updated color rendition that included a reptilian monster!

When preparing people for the end of time, Adventists must present Jesus clearly. That is the heart of our mission. And many, many people won’t see Jesus clearly or be ready for His soon return unless the truth about counterfeit forms of salvation and other real issues of the end-time are presented in detail—including, when necessary, details about Catholicism.

We do live in a post-September 11 world that is more tenuous than ever. But that also means that Jesus is more relevant than ever. “To beast or not to beast?” should thus no longer be a question we approach with irritation or distrust. Instead, let us be tactful, let us be kind, let us be loving—and let us faithfully present Christ with all the prophetic clarity we can muster.

What disturbs me most about these proclamations of official Adventism is that these were the Truths I was brought up on in the bad old days when I prayed (fervently, bare knees on our hardwood floor) that God would overlook the fact that my working mother watched a fifteen minute news program after cleaning the house and preparing supper on Friday evening.

Fortunately, I was blessed by the friendship and intellectual thoughtfulness of Schultz, an effeminate Adventist who worked for my father. Fortunately when I began taking trumpet lessons, my teacher was Catholic. His name was Mathew Prosper. His saintly influence didn’t keep the beastly nightmares away—Catholics machine-gunning my father on Third Terrace behind Adventist Union Academy—but he and my effeminate friend provided the foundation for a religious sanity that I consider priceless.

When the Son of Man comes as King and all the angels with him, he will sit on his royal throne, and the people of all the nations will be gathered before him. Then he will divide them into two groups, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the righteous people at his right and the others at his left. Then the King will say to the people on his right,

Come, you that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world. I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me. Mathew 25: 31-36

No mention here of homosexuals or Catholics.