APF Statement Against Terrorist Attack in New Zealand (March 2019)

The Adventist Peace Fellowship denounces the hatred and terrorism unleashed this week on Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand. We stand against all violence and bloodshed, and all the more so when the victims are targeted because of their immigrant status and religious convictions. We stand against white supremacy and violent nationalism. We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters, wishing to express our concern and solidarity.

In a dark hour such as this, what can one say? And more importantly, what can one do?

We—Adventist Christians who believe every human is created in the image of God—wish to speak a clear message opposing violence against people of other faiths, against anyone, to be sure. However, concrete responses are also needed. Such actions can be seen in New Zealand itself, for example when Prime Minister Ardern visited family members of victims, promising financial support and changes to gun laws. Although we recognize the hazards of advocating for change in foreign, sovereign countries, we can only hope that Adventists in New Zealand will support such efforts—these are the things we can do.

For those living outside of New Zealand, what can be done in our own countries and communities? What are we doing to reduce hate and increase respect? What kinds of sensible gun laws are we willing to support? How welcoming of immigrants are we? To what degree are we building relationships across religious boundaries?

In this time of great loss in New Zealand, may we be reminded to pursue peace and support freedom of religion in our own context. May the Creator God of the universe be near these grieving families, and may Adventists be near them in solidarity as well.

Adventists in Côte d’Ivoire Host Peace Summit Following Terrorist Attack

Five days after a jihadist attack at the seaside resort of Grand-Bassam, the National Forum of the Religious Confessions of Côte d’Ivoire hosted a peace summit on March 18, “calling for a unified response to violence carried out by Islamic extremists.” Representatives from many different faith backgrounds attended the summit, which was held at the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s West-Central African headquarters in the capital city of Abidjan.

The vice president of the National Islamic Council, Imam Mahamadou Dosso, read out a prepared statement that included:

No religion should lead somebody to kill his or her fellow beings. May God help us to overcome this evil.

Read the full story on the Adventist News Network.

University Campaign to Counter Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

It has been brought to our attention that the editors of Sojourners have posted a signature campaign for students -- College Students of Faith Say 'No' to Falwell's Anti-Muslim Rhetoric. The post begins:

An alarming wave of Islamophobia is sweeping our nation, and we are troubled by the participation of Christians. Just last week, the president of Liberty University called for Christian students to carry guns to "end those Muslims before they walked in" and "teach them a lesson."

The campaign asks students to pledge the following:

We pledge to challenge Islamophobia whenever and wherever it occurs, including on our own campuses — to foster relationships with Muslims based on friendship and not fear, and to serve the common good by maintaining a firm commitment to racial and religious diversity.
To read the complete campaign description, click here. Adventist students are invited to sign the pledge if they support the campaign.

Johnsson Addresses Interfaith Dialogue at ASRS

The theme of this year's Adventist Society for Religious Studies (ASRS) annual conference was "Adventism in the Public Square." William Johnsson, who was the first president of ASRS, gave the following sermon entitled, "Leaving the Comfort Zone: From John the Baptist to Jesus."

Dr. William Johnson's Sermon "Leaving the Comfort Zone: From John the Baptist to Jesus" at the Adventist Society for Religious Study 2015 Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA on Sabbath morning, November 21, 2015. Dr Johnson was the first President of the ASRS in 1979.