How should I handle sacred funds such as my tithes and offerings? For six decades my duty was clear: Send them through the official channels of the church. Then I learned that my church was profiting from the killing of the unborn—and I am not talking about the so called “therapeutic abortions,” but rather about elective or abortions on demand.
My Moral Dilemma
I asked myself: Should I continue sending my financial contributions to a church that is guilty of violating God’s Decalogue and the church own “Guidelines on Abortion”? This suddenly became my personal moral dilemma. If I continued my regular financial routine, wouldn’t I become an accomplice in the deaths of innocent human beings? A couple of decades ago, I described my moral dilemma through an allegory you can read.
What I learned in Graduate School
Perhaps you are among the many Adventists who still believe that we are truly pro-life. That is what I thought all along, until I decided to perform an investigation, which eventually became the topic of my doctoral dissertation. After several years of research into the Adventist literature, I learned that we are definitely pro-choice on this issue.
Theoretically, we still teach that we do not approve abortions on demand, but we have allowed some of our own hospitals to violate this moral tenet with impunity. In this we have followed the well-known saying: “Do what I say, but not what I do!” This is reminiscent of the behavior exhibited by Pilate, who publicly declared that Jesus was innocent, but condemned him to a cruel death.
A Serious Moral Detour
Maybe you are still unconvinced! If this is your case, let me cite what a former president of the North American Division declared regarding the sudden abandonment of the long-established pro-life leaning of the church defended by the Adventist pioneers:
“Though we walk the fence, Adventists lean toward abortion rather than against it. Because we realize we are confronted by big problems of hunger and overpopulation, we do not oppose family planning and appropriate endeavors to control population.”
Can you imagine the president of the NAD of the church arguing that child killing before birth was justified because there was hunger and there were too many people in the world? And do not forget that he said this in the richest country in the world, the one that provided financial remuneration to farmers as a disincentive to the excessive production of food.
This is hard to understand, but the following might help a little. He said this in the midst of the Cold War, when the hands of the symbolic Atomic Clock had been moved to three minutes before Midnight and the fear of the uncontrolled population explosion in the Communist country of China was feared more than an atomic conflagration between the Soviet Union and the United States.
The Corroborated Testimony of Witnesses
I want to add the testimony of a witness of another statement made by the same Adventist leader as he attempted to justify the church’s deviation from moral duty. This assertion was corroborated by another Adventist member who confirmed to me the veracity of said public declaration::
”We were at Southern Missionary College (called Southern College, today), and it was a Sabbath afternoon, 1981. We were told that the General Conference President – Neal Wilson, was going to be speaking in the afternoon at the College Church, and holding a Question & Answer forum afterwards. We had never heard him speak, so we decided to attend.
After he spoke, someone from the audience raised [his] hand and asked the question, “Why do our Seventh Day Adventist hospitals perform abortions?” Al and I looked at each other in shock and disbelief, we thought, “Surely, OUR church does not perform abortions!” But….Neal Wilson confirmed that the Church hospitals do perform abortions and went on to give the reason why…. He said that if the Church hospitals did not perform abortions, the women would just go to some other hospitals and get them.”
We couldn’t believe our ears. That was in 1981. It has been 30 years since that time, and our hospitals are still performing abortions. But, as we talk to members of the Church, we are finding out that most members do not know this. The Church has successfully pushed this under the rug, and the members are in the dark.”
Pro-life Adventist Leaders Abandon Ship
Am I the only one bothered by this dilemma? The answer is “No.” When the controversy over this issue was raging on among Adventists, several rather vocal pro-life leaders among us fought as hard as they could in defense of the unborn’s right to life, but the liberal Adventist leaders prevailed, and many of these pro-life leaders left the church; some of them started independent ministries of their own, and some even went back to Rome because of its strong position on the right to life of every human being.
My Realistic Options
What were my options? A. Continue sending my money through the regular channels of the church; B. Send them with a note attached identifying them as pro-life funds; C. Send them to Adventist independent ministries that were sympathetic to the pro-life cause; or D. send them to non-Adventist pro-life organizations.
I eliminated the first option because it would create a guilty conscience for me. I tried the second option on several occasions, and in each instance my monetary contributions were returned with the following message: “The Adventist Church does not have a pro-life program.”
I tried the third option for several years without identifying the funds as pro-life funds, and of course, the contributions were gladly accepted. This worked, but left me rather uneasy because my strong desire was that the funds be used for the benefit of the unborn. This left me with the option of sending my money to non-Adventist pro-life organizations.
We Need Better Alternatives
Is this the best I can do? Perhaps yes, but I wish I had the option of sending my pro-life contributions to an Adventist pro-life organization—something that at present does not exist. I wish some Adventists would start a ministry similar to the “Save the Stork” entity started not a long time ago. A couple of young individuals designed a very attractive and properly equipped van which they park near abortion clinics, and they offer free sonograms to the women that come for an abortion.
They discovered that instead of angry refusals, their friendly approach works wonders. In one day, they can secure up to fifteen women willing to accept the free sonograms. Those women interested in continuing with the pregnancy are referred to the nearest pregnancy center, which is also free. Many of these women decide to keep their babies until delivery.
A Noble Prospective Ministry
Well, perhaps I am dreaming. If I were younger, I would probably attempt such a project. A van like that costs approximately $ 140,000 dollars, and money is needed to pay for those actually doing the pro-life work. At the present moment, these young men have two vans, and their work is sponsored by pro-life contributions. Why can’t we Adventist do something like this instead of profiting from the death of unborn children? Any young volunteers for such a noble mission?
1. “A Stigmata Case in Loma Linda?” https://adventlife.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/a-stigmata-case-in-loma-linda-by-nic-samojluk-4/
2. “From Pro-life to Pro Choice,” http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?type=&keyWords=nic+samojluk&sitesearch=lulu.com&q=&x=12&y=13.
3. George Gainer, “The Wisdom of Solomon?” Spectrum 19/4 (May 1989): 38-46.