Some Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have written to their church’s president and administrators seeking their support against the government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which comes into effect today.
Under the mandate, a large cross section of government workers must take a COVID-19 jab or lose their jobs.
The letter, which was circulated by Google Docs, had garnered over 164 signatures when iWitness News was able to access it on Wednesday.
The letter is titled, “An Appeal to the President and the Administrators of the SVG Mission of Seventh-day Adventists”
It said that President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Mission of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Dermoth Baptiste, has declared in at least two letters to the church that the issue of vaccine mandates in SVG has nothing to do with religious liberty because”the subject of vaccination and whether one should take it or not, is not part of the philosophy or doctrinal beliefs of the SDA Church”.
“We respectfully disagree. Any issue that touches and concerns how we treat our bodies which are the temples of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19) is a matter of religious liberty,” the letter states.
“To deny this, the church must also deny that the decision of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to not partake of the ‘portion of the king’s meat, nor…the wine which he drank’ had anything to do with religious liberty.”
The letter said that the SDA Church has always believed and taught “that how we treat our bodies and what we put into our bodies are important to God, and that this will ultimately affect our decision making powers as children of God.
“Daniel and his friends have always been lauded by pastors, preachers and teachers of the SDA Church as noble examples for our youth, and as shining examples of temperance and the health message. How is it that our Church now claims that a decision about what goes into our bodies is not a religious liberty issue?”
The signatories said that as faithful members of the SDA Church, “we understand that any decision regarding what we put into our bodies is a religious issue. We are disappointed that the government of SVG has issued a mandate that certain categories of workers must be vaccinated or lose their jobs, and even more disheartened and appalled that our church, which we love, has failed and/or refused to ardently and unequivocally defend our right to freedom of conscience in this matter.”
The signatories requested that Baptiste and the Administrators of the SVG Mission, unequivocally state and affirm that:
- while the subject of vaccination and whether one should take it or not, is not part of the philosophy or doctrinal beliefs of the SDA Church, you support the right of our members to freedom of conscience in this matter;
- you strongly disagree with the Government’s decision to take punitive action against people who choose to exercise their free conscience in this matter;
- you fully embrace the Working Policy of the General Conference for Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (Departmental Policies), Section FL 05 Philosophy, which states, among other things, that: “The use of force and coercion is inimical to life, to dignity, and to authentic religion”.
“We plead with Pastor Baptiste and the Administrators of the Mission to stand with us as members of the SDA Church in SVG in defence of our God-given right to freedom of conscience in this matter, and to support us with your prayers and encouragement.”
The letter said that the SDA Church has had a long and illustrious history of defending liberty of conscience as a God-given right and one which should never be tampered with.
“The term ‘freedom of conscience’ or ‘liberty of conscience’ appears no less than 300 times in the writings of Mrs. E. G. White, messenger to the church in these last days.”
It further states that the concept of freedom of conscience or liberty of conscience “is the very bedrock of the biblical narrative, and is often cited prominently as the primary issue in the biblical accounts of Queen Esther and the Jewish people before Haman and King Xerxes; Daniel and his friends before the kings of Babylon and the Media and Persia; Peter and the Apostles before the Roman authorities in Acts 5, and the Mark of the Beast crisis in Revelation 13.”
The letter, as of Wednesday, has been signed by 165 “Members of the SDA Church who are threatened with termination of our employment or whose family members are threatened with termination of employment due to the government’s vaccine mandate”.
The mandate comes into effect amidst low vaccine uptake in the country.
As of Thursday, 51,288 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in the SVG, even as the government had hoped to have put 50,000 jabs into arms by April 2021.
Of the vaccines administered, 29,249 were second doses, and 21,500 were first doses.
As of Thursday, SVG had 1,243 active cases of COVID-19 and since March, 2020, SVG has recorded 5,359 cases of COVID-19 and 73 people have died of the illness.
As a seventh Day Adventist, I am very much in support with those who are behind this letter.I highly commend their stand and courage.I called upon all members of the church in St.vincent vaccinated or unvaccinated to not be afraid and let your conscience speak in your actions.Support the right of all human beings to exercise the unique God given right of freedom of conscience.The leadership of the church in St.vincent has been compromised sadly to say the least.How can they not see that our God given right is been disrespected and trampled upon here?The unique right of freedom of conscience is what sets us apart and above all other creatures.It is part of the image of God in man.To trample upon such is to disrespect our humanity and reduce us to automatons.In the issue concerning eternal salvation,which is of atmost importance,the God who made us has allowed the right to choose.How then do they want to deny us the right to exercise the same right to choose in this a lesser issue.There are many qualified medical experts against the taking of this vaccine as are supporting it.Many people are not aware of this fact because, they either not doing their due diligence to read and research on the issue, as leaders are to be doing to be well informed on the matter or they have been compromised and are afraid to take a stand.When leaders fail to act and stand in defense of basic fundamental human rights of their people,it is a betrayal of their trust! Such a betrayal warrants a VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN SUCH LEADERS AND THEIR LEADERSHIP.IF LEADERS ARE AFRAID TO STAND UP FOR THEIR PEOPLE WHEN THEY ARE MOST NEEDED,SUCH LEADERS SHOULD STEP DOWN FROM THEIR POSITIONS! STEP DOWN! STEP DOWN!
I am in support with the stance taken by Pr. Dermot Baptiste, President of the SVG Mission of SDA.
This is the action of many of our SDA leaders, but I want the world membership to know that we need to keep our eyes on JESUS. They do not care about God’s children, but Our Heavenly FATHER cares.
Shame shame Shame, they are dumb dogs that will not bark , God is so disappointed in these kind of leaders
Here we see that the church—the Lord’s sanctuary—was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God’s power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus “Peace and safety” is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children all perish together. – 5T 211.2 We have too many lasse fir leaders in our church. But God will judge, let them do their do.
Defiling the body: the temple of the Holy Spirit. I get that. What I don’t get is these persons who are using this argument conveniently only as it relates to the Covid-19 vaccine. I guess they are not injecting and consuming other chemicals in their “temple of the Holy Spirit”. They are probably not taking insulin injection (synthetic concoction), antibiotics for their inflammations, and analgesics for their pains.
The vaccine mandate has nothing to do with worshipping God. It has nothing to do with one’s relationship with the Almighty. There is no doctrinal grounds to support the claim about violation of religious liberty. There is a rule of law: take the vaccine or don’t take the vaccine, with conditions applied to each option. One has a choice as to which option to take. With certain choices in life there is the responsibility to undertake consequences. Simple facts.
Once again, what we are seeing is the misinterpreting and misrepresentation of scriptures through half-truths embedded in human ideology in regards to this issue. Indeed, God conveyed the idea that our bodies are the shrine, or the sacred place, in which the Spirit not only lives, but is worshiped, revered, and honored. Therefore, how we behave, think and speak, and what we let into the temple through our eyes and ears becomes critically important as well, for every thought, word and deed is in His view. Even though He will never leave us, it is entirely possible to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4: 30). Instructing the Ephesians to not grieve the Spirit, Paul told them to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). When we live by the Spirit, we will no longer gratify the desires of the sinful nature (Galatians 5:16). Clearly, the message here is for us not engage in behavior by words or sinful actions that will grieve the Holy Spirit that dwell within us. The reference to Daniel and the others is totally different matter and has no relevance to this issue. The problem with this organization is that there is so much contradiction in their doctrines and teachings that even confuses their own.
Instructing the Christians in Corinth to flee from sexual immorality, [note what Paul exhortation is about, “SEXUAL IMMORALITY”]the apostle Paul exhorted, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
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