Wednesday, October 11, 2017
JAMAICA'S largest denomination, the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church, yesterday distanced itself from a member of the church who is scheduled to speak at a two-day international conference titled “Intimate Conviction” to discuss the church and anti-buggery laws in the Commonwealth.
SDA Communication, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Director Nigel Coke said Dr Keisha McKenzie may be a member, but “she does not speak on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church globally or locally, and any statement or utterance by her concerning the conference's theme should not be taken as an official statement or position of the church”.
Dr McKenzie, who is listed among the “distinguished speakers” at the event taking place at the regional headquarters of The University of the West Indies (UWI) starting tomorrow, is said to be a member of a group within the SDA Church calling themselves “Seventh-gay Adventists”.
But the church made it clear in a press statement that it would not be taking action against McKenzie, stressing that it was not against individuals exercising their freedom of conscience and expressions, “which are God-given rights never to be taken from anyone”.
A newspaper advertisement announcing the conference said the keynote speaker is Most Rev Dr John Holder, Anglican archbishop of the West Indies, at the top of a list of other distinguished speakers from the Adventist, Anglican, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Evangelical, and United Churches.
Coke said the leadership of the Adventist Church had received an invitation to the conference, but had politely turned it down and reiterated its opposition to homosexuality and buggery specifically. Adventists are on record as being opposed to proposals to repeal the country's buggery law.
“We believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman,” Coke said in the statement. “This was the design established by God at creation. Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is affirmed.
“The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships. For these reasons, Seventh-day Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships. Our outreach to mankind is non-discriminatory. We have in the pas(t)s and will continue to offer compassion and care to anyone, including persons who are in need of God's love and desires us to guide them into a saving relationship with Him.”