LSU’s public relations man calls Educate Truth ‘attack website’

Larry Becker, LSU’s public relations man, calls Educate Truth an “attack website” with questionable practices. He sites Educate Truth’s recent publication of Larry Blackmer’s remarks at a Lake Union education summit as being taken out of context. This is not the case.

What Becker apparently doesn’t know is that Educate Truth simply posted a transcript of Blackmer’s response to a question about the controversy surrounding La Sierra. There was no commentary by Educate Truth. Educate Truth had removed a section of Blackmer’s response, because in private conversation Blackmer had retracted statements made in regard to Educate Truth, saying he didn’t mean to say what he did. In this light, Educate Truth thought to work with Blackmer privately to shield him from the repercussions of his own words. He requested the transcript be taken off the website, as it was bringing him trouble from LSU lawyers and jeopardizing his ministry. The only reason Educate Truth removed this transcript was to alleviate Blackmer’s predicament. However, since this information has now been made public and has been twisted, Educate Truth felt it necessary to make the issue clear.

Blackmer’s remarks were posted verbatim, and to demonstrate this, we are re-publishing his entire response to the question posed to him at the Lake Union education summit, including the single section which was removed because of Blackmer’s retraction (this single section will be in bold).

Academic freedom seems to be a code word for I can do anything I want to do. We are doing our best, trying to find a way to say to all of our universities and I think that Dr. Paulsen’s letter a number of months ago said it pretty clearly. We will not accept Adventist teachers teaching things in our schools that are not biblical or Adventist. I think he said it very clearly.

Now WASC at La Sierra has contacted La Sierra and said, “We believe in academic freedom as an accreditation agency. And if the church is going to meddle in what goes on in the classroom, then we will pull your accreditation.”

By the way, it’s an ex-Adventist that is chairing that [committee], and understands who we are very very clearly. And so my office is beginning to play hardball with the accrediting agency. [Please read Larry Blackmer’s comment regarding WASC and LSU accreditation]

We have the right to teach what we want in our schools. We have the right to teach Adventist values in Adventist schools, period, that’s reality. And we’re going to do that whether they like it or not and we will fight that with every breathe of our body that an accrediting agency is not going to tell us what we can teach in our classes.

You know my friends, what happened at La Sierra was not right, but how we’ve dealt with it as a church is absolutely wrong.

To go viral and not deal with the individuals on a face to face basis and try to solve the issue. If it didn’t work then at least you would have tried. I think it says somewhere in the Bible about how to deal with difficulties. Now, how La Sierra has dealt with it hasn’t been right either … In the last reading we just had talked about the infighting within the church and how the people on the outside say, “They’re not Christians.” Somehow we need to have the Holy Spirit to be able to deal with conflict in the church. And we need to deal with it in a way that doesn’t tear our system a part.

Now that means we have to be as administrators and as institutions that we have to have high moral ground and we must standup for what’s right and call sin by its real name. But that means as members we have to support our leaders as well. And we must find a way to be supportive and to work for change and not work to destroy. Now there is only a few people doing that, but the problem is those few people have become so … some of these websites have been so un-Christian.

I wrote an article for one of those websites saying, you guys are throwing stones at La Sierra and you don’t like what is going on. Here is a way to help on a positive way. The North American Division is trying to develop a faith based, Seventh-day Adventist, creation based science program for elementary. You know that right?

We’re doing this and so if you out there in this viral world don’t like what’s going on at La Sierra here’s a way to be positive about it and help us develop it, finance it. I never got a penny. And you ought to read the responses I got from this group.

And they also took that article, it was called By Design … It was in the Adventist Review as an editorial. They took that article and put “By Design / La Sierra teaches evolution as truth” and sent that to everyone one of their 3,000 members with my name on it. As if I was saying, “By design La Sierra is teaching evolution as truth.”

Somehow we have to be above, and I’m talking about one person, find a way to deal with controversy in the church and not kill each other in the process. What’s happening is not right, but we have to find a way to deal with those issues. Next question.

Q: If you stand up against the accreditation agency, what are the repercussions?

They don’t have a leg to stand on. I would write an article for the Los Angeles Times and say, “Here’s what’s going on, here’s what their doing to La Sierra.” And they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. If we shone the light on that, they’ll still have to accredit us.

Q: Without accreditation, what would happen?

No federal financial aid to any of the students. None of the credits from La Sierra would transfer to any other university. They would not be accepted into the university of california system for graduate programs. Just minor things like that (the audience laughs).

Q: Will there be discussion in the General Conference Session regarding this issue?

I can guarantee you there will be discussion in the General Conference about this issue, but it will probably be in the hallways more than it will be up front. I doubt there will be a lot of discussion up front about this issue. It’s not a world church issue. It’s a North American Division issue and I think the leaders would like to keep it that way. Not to sweep it under the rug, but there is no sense in having… When I was in Africa talking about these issues. And they said, “What’s your problem just fire the teachers and have it over with? That’s what we would do.” And that’s what would happen. We’re a different system and we work differently. And there’s no sense in polluting the pure minds of the rest of the church with what’s happening.

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29 thoughts on “LSU’s public relations man calls Educate Truth ‘attack website’

  1. God bless our brethren from Africa. Perhaps they understand what our foolish sophistication prevents us from understanding in this part of the world. Firing those teaching falsehood is exactly the thing to do. And unless North American Adventists take charge of this situation and remove these betrayers of the faith from denominational service, our brethren in the Third World may well take the situation in hand and do for us what we lack the courage to do for ourselves.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  2. He requested the transcript be taken off the website, as it was bringing him trouble from LSU lawyers and jeopardizing his ministry.

    Sean, is Attorney Kent Hansen actively aiding LSU in all of this? He has written for some of our publications, and I would hate to think that he is mixed up in all of this somehow.

    But his name was at the bottom of the letter which was sent regarding the first domain name that was used, and he is one of LSU’s attorneys. That is why I ask.

    No Adventist attorney should be caught defending the teaching of evolution as fact in a Seventh-day Adventist institution.




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  3. Barking Up the Wrong Tree

    From: Sean Pitman, Arthur Chadwick, Earl Aagaard, and Warren Ashworth
    Sent: Sunday, March 14, 2010 10:39 PM

    Dear Elder Blackmer,

    I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. You say that you support La Sierra University and argue that there are many God-fearing men and women there who are helping students find God – that LSU is not a “hotbed of liberal anti-Biblical philosophy”.

    While it is true that LSU is doing many good things, to include mission projects and much community service, it is not true that LSU is remotely supportive of all of the “fundamental” SDA doctrines nor does it strive to develop faith in students regarding certain particular SDA ideals. It is a well-known fact, at least now, that the significant majority of the professors in the science department are decidedly against the notion of a literal creation week and go out of their way to explain to their students why this idea is clearly false if not downright ludicrous. The same thing is true of the religion department at LSU. Most of even the theology professors at LSU are decidedly “liberal” and teach against the reality or at least the importance or need for the SDA doctrine of a literal creation week. If you think otherwise, you simply are not well informed about what is really taking place at LSU.

    So, while faith is indeed promoted at LSU, it isn’t a faith in certain key fundamental SDA pillars of faith – that’s for sure.

    You point out that our SDA universities must teach students about the theory of evolution, but bring them back home at the end of the day, to quote Jan Paulsen. And, I agree. The problem is that one cannot possibly hope to get professors who do not believe in the SDA fundamental doctrine on a literal creation week to be supportive of such. The new freshman class that LSU set up to introduce science students to faith in science is actually being used by the theistic evolutionist professors at LSU to promote theistic evolutionary ideas, and discount the literal SDA interpretation of Genesis, even further. There is no one speaking in support of the SDA stand on origins in this introductory class or in any of the other upper division science classes at LSU – – and not even in the religion departments either.

    This wouldn’t be so bad if it was actually being made clear to parents, students, and the church membership at large that LSU has decided to pretty much exclusively promote theistic evolution as the true story of origins. However, as it currently stands, LSU is trying to cover up this fact with slick advertisements that gloss over this theistic evolutionary emphasis and suggest full support of SDA ideals. This is false advertising and essential robbery of parents, students, and the SDA Church at large and should not be tolerated. This has been going on for decades at LSU and should not have to be tolerated any longer.

    You call this a “throwing of grenades” and a “cannibalizing” of our own. This isn’t remotely correct. What we are doing is simply calling for transparency regarding a very long standing issue that many have tired to deal with privately over the course of decades – literally. Nothing has changed except that the active promotion of theistic evolution at LSU has continued to increase and the professors to become ever bolder in their defiance and dismissal of the stated fundamental positions of the SDA Church while still thinking to carry the title of “SDA”. LSU is also putting extreme pressure on students who want to stand up for the stated SDA fundamentals within the classroom – bringing them up before committees who threaten them with permanent negative comments on their transcripts for trying to make public what is being done and said behind closed classroom doors. For some reason, the professors at LSU don’t want what they are teaching to be made generally known to the SDA Church membership – despite the fact that this is our school. And so they threaten students with censure, expulsion, permanent negative comments on their transcripts, and lack of letters of recommendation upon graduation – – simply because they strove for transparency in the classroom?

    You invoke Mrs. White to suggest that we are doing wrong in presenting this problem publicly for general evaluation. Don’t think for a minute, however, that if Mrs. White were alive today that she would tolerate what is happening at LSU in silence. You know as well as I do that she would call for immediate action to correct this serious problem at an institution that thinks to carry the name SDA while boldly undermining at least one of its most cherished and fundamental of all of the pillars of the SDA faith. You evidently forget that it was James White and John Loughborough who first suggest and started issuing “cards of commendation” only to those paid representatives who accurately reflected the ideals and goals of the early SDA Church. Many didn’t like this governmental control and discipline and fought very hard against the early Church because of this. However, according to White and Loughborough, such internal government control was vital to avoid fracturing and ultimate chaos within the church.

    After much effort behind closed doors over many years, enough is enough. It is time for the leadership to stand up and draw a line in the sand and re-establish some sort of actual government within the SDA Church – on one side or the other. Where does the SDA Church really stand on what it claims are its “fundamental” pillars of faith? Many feel like I do within the Church – and we deserve to know, at the very least, the truth as to what is really going on in our schools and to see more transparency within our schools and churches.

    It is time to take a clear and decided stand one way or the other. Which side are you on?

    Sincerely,

    Sean Pitman, M.D.
    Arthur Chadwick, Ph.D. (SWAU)
    Earl Aagaard, Ph.D. (SAU – retired)
    Warren Ashworth, Ph.D., M.Div. (PUC – retired)

    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  4. I have decided to respond to one issue. I will not bother trying to correct the other misinformation.

    I want to respond to the issues involving WASC accreditation. I was given information that, after investigation was not totally accurate. As I stated at the meeting, WASC as an accrediting agency holds schools accountable to their own mission and standards, as well as the agencies standards. My comments about “playing hard ball” with WASC was ill-advised and I apologize for them. LSU has received no threats from WASC, actually WASC had already, unknown to me, evaluated the school before my comments, and given the school a good report. The person I referred to in my comments has no direct connection to LSU accreditation, and the person who does have direct contact has made no statements in this nature at all. NAD and LSU have, and will continue to have, positive relationships with WASC. WASC has well established policies and procedures that are followed to ensure a consistent and fair evaluations of any institution. I am hoping that this will end any insinuations, even though they were begun from my own comments, about any, any, any threats toward LSU from WASC.




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  5. A number of comments have surfaced regarding accreditation and there seemed to be a number of accreditation options available. We have seen evidence that a number of Christian schools were already approved by WASC so that Adventist managment of our own LSU according to the dictates of our own denomination’s value and beliefs, did not appear to be a likely sticking point for the WASC.

    However the principle of the discussion was valid. And that is that our schools never started out with the opening goal of “being accredited” – the initial goals for diverting funds and resources to educational instituions were much higher than that. So with or without WASC approval – having an LSU teaching institution would still be a good idea.

    The bigger issue here is the managment of LSU itself and the concept of “the buck stops here” when it comes to making the needed changes.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  6. Larry Blackmer says:
    April 5, 2010

    I have decided to respond to one issue. I will not bother trying to correct the other misinformation.

    I want to respond to the issues involving WASC accreditation.

    WASC accreditation was never really the issue with your public comments. Rather, it is your various public and private mischaracterizations of the efforts of Educate Truth and other individuals striving for increased transparency within our schools that is the problem (despite indications on your part that you would correct certain mischaracterizations and misstatements on your part regarding how Educate Truth has handled your statements). Also, the continued proselytizing on your watch for theistic evolution at LSU (a problem that has been ongoing for decades) should be very problematic for someone in your position.

    As one responsible for the quality of SDA education in our schools, I’ve very surprised that you do not find the current state of affairs at LSU extremely concerning and have not done deeper investigation into the reality of what Educate Truth is bringing forward regarding the long-standing active and continued promotion of theistic evolution at LSU by the significant majority of its science professors…

    Will you not be held accountable for your silence and tacit support of what is taking place on your watch? – before God?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  7. @Larry Blackmer:

    It is certainly good to hear that accreditation is not actually being held over LaSierra in an effort to force the school to continue to teach evolution as truth. I didn’t believe this was the case, but the apologists for what is happening at LSU continually argue that upholding SDA doctrines puts accreditation at risk. It is nice to hear from an authoritative source that this is just what I thought it was: nonsense.




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  8. “In this light, Educate Truth thought to work with Blackmer privately to shield him from the repercussions of his own words. He requested the transcript be taken off the website, as it was bringing him trouble from LSU lawyers and jeopardizing his ministry. The only reason Educate Truth removed this transcript was to alleviate Blackmer’s predicament.”

    Did I read that correctly? Let me see if I have this straight. Larry Blackmer is the Vice President for Education of the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And he got a threatening letter from an attorney purporting to represent LaSierra University?????

    I think it is time to cut LaSierra loose, and sue it to force it to make clear in all of its promotion and advertising that it has no affiliation whatsoever with the Adventist Church.




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  9. Better yet – let the people know that the Pacific Union leadership has chosen to hire lawyers to go after GC administrators who might dare to criticise LSU — if that is what is actually going on!!

    This thing cannot be turned on it’s head – if the facts are allowed to come out into the light of day.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  10. opening article:
    He requested the transcript be taken off the website, as it was bringing him trouble from LSU lawyers and jeopardizing his ministry. The only reason Educate Truth removed this transcript was to alleviate Blackmer’s predicament.

    If LSU lawyers are the real problem – there is a direct way to fix it.

    But if the real issue is that we have people in Administrative positions who are reluctant to take a stand against evolution or who are willing to oppose and expose poor decisions on the part of other denominational employees for the sake of political correctness or misplaced loyalty – then that is a different problem altogether.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  11. Larry Blackmer is the Vice President for Education of the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And he got a threatening letter from an attorney purporting to represent LaSierra University?????

    To the best of my knowledge he did not receive a threatening letter. This all happened over the weekend so there was no way for letters to be sent. I do not know the nature of the type of trouble he was given. Anything other then what I mentioned in the article is speculation. I was merely relating what he told me.




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  12. I have followed this issue at LSU for a long time now and one thing bothers me and that is :

    Why don’t we get the position DIRECTLY from the Professors of Biology at LSU to state their position.

    We get comments from everybody else EXCEPT the principals involved. Once we get their position documented in a straight forward manner, then we can see whether their actions and their words agree. From that, we can come to our own conclusions.

    Respectfully,

    Chris. Chan.




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  13. The biggest part of the problem, Chris, is that there is NO WAY we will EVER get a “straight forward” statement–or a “straight forward” anything from LSU or anybody who is involved in this this present situation. That’s just not the way evil works! Satan’s tactics are always shrouded in mystery and double talk–and those who are being led by him use the same methods. Sorry about that– but that’s just the way it is.




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  14. There is another part of the Blackmer transcript that I find disturbing. The notion that the General Conference session will not likely have open discussions regarding this issue. I find this sad on a three fronts.

    First, if we did take this to the GC in session the rest of the world would quickly be willing to do what is not being done here.

    Second, this is a world issue. The name of SDAs as people of the Book is being tarnished worldwide by this situation.

    Third, the GC in session could take a big step toward resolution that would not be difficult or even specific regarding LSU. A fabulous first step toward helping the North American Division deal with this would be for the General Conference in session to rewrite Fundamental Belief #6. While everyone would know why this was necessary, it wouldn’t even have to mention LSU specifically. (It is no coincidence that two former LSU presidents were instrumental in the original writing of FB6.)

    While the current wording of the belief sounds good to those who accept Adventist fundamentals, this is because of the assumptions that we bring with us. For most SDAs it goes without saying that the six days of Creation are literal. However, what we have done is give La Sierra (and others, as well) a road just wide enough to drive their truck through. It is true that we will not get straight answers from the folks at LSU. At the present time they can say they support the fundamental beliefs of the Church because they find room for “interpretation” in the wording of FB6.

    For this reason I would love to see the GC in session vote on a new wording of the fundamental belief. A careful new wording might force teachers in question to admit that they are not in harmony with what Seventh-day Adventists stand for. This could in turn finally bring the necessary pressure to bear to actually do something about it. I have no ego invested in the wording I propose below. It is merely a suggestion. I have highlighted the additions with ***.

    Current wording:
    6. Creation:
    God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3.)

    Proposed wording:
    6. God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six ***literal, 24 hour*** days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. ***Death is the result of sin, and played no role in the development of life on this earth.***(Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; ***Matt. 22:32; Rom 5:12*** Heb. 11:3.)

    George Hilton




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  15. George:

    The last line probably needs to read, ” . . . played no role in the development of life on this earth prior to Adam’s sin.”

    Some additional scriptural references: Genesis 5:1-2; Exodus 31:17; Deuteronomy 4:32; 2 Kings 19:15; 2 Chronicles 2:12; Nehemiah 9:6; Job 9:6-9; Psalms 8:3-6; 90:2; 100:3; 102:25; 115:15; 124:8; 136:5-9; 146:5-6; Proverbs 8:27-29; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Isaiah 37:16; 40:26-28; 42:5; 45:12, 18; 66:1-2; Jeremiah 10:12; 27:5; 32:17; 51:15; Amos 5:8; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6; Acts 14:15; 17:24-28; I Timothy 2:13; Heb. 2:7; 2 Peter 3:5-6; Revelation 10:6; 14:7.




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  16. @Lydian Belknap:

    Lydian may be right in that we may not get a straight answer from the Profs but if they are at least given a chance to respond and they either refuse the offer or the answer in not direct, then I am sure we each can see through the answer for what it is. Even a refusal to clarify the situation is itself an answer. I would just like to give these folks who are being attacked, a chance to state their position in the forum that is attacking them.




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  17. David,

    Good point. Things have been downhill since sin, but of course that is a form of development. In answer to Lydian, the teachers in question are of course free to post here anytime. There’s no doubt they know the site exists. Gary Bradley certainly made his position known in the press already. Further, it is not in their best interest to post. LSU has a pretty effective PR machine to represent them. I wish I could share your optimism that these folks would even want to respond. The bottom line is this. The university is taking an incredible amount of heat. Any honest words from the folks involved would only make it hotter, and increase their probability of future unemployment.

    George Hilton




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  18. I am hoping that this will end any insinuations, even though they were begun from my own comments, about any, any, any threats toward LSU from WASC.  

    Larry, your comments are quite helpful.

    I would like to add that from what I recall, a pastor told me at camp meeting in June 2009 that they were told that an obstacle to dealing with the evolution crisis at LSU was losing accreditation over terminating tenured professors.

    Whether that comment came from Charles Scriven, who was a speaker at that camp meeting, or from administration, I do not know. But it does indicate that the very idea you are saying is false was floating around for a long time before you made your comments. It would be interesting to try to track down where that false rumor started, and how widely it has circulated.




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  19. It also means that a key argument used by evolutionists to protect the efforts to evangelize for evolutionism at LSU has fallen by the wayside.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  20. @Chris CHAN:

    I have followed this issue at LSU for a long time now and one thing bothers me and that is :

    Why don’t we get the position DIRECTLY from the Professors of Biology at LSU to state their position.

    We get comments from everybody else EXCEPT the principals involved. Once we get their position documented in a straight forward manner, then we can see whether their actions and their words agree. From that, we can come to our own conclusions.

    On the contrary – Greer is on public video denouncing the divinity of Christ.

    Bradley has gone to the press delcaring his — I teach that the Bible is wrong – message.

    And we have posted their own course work here.

    AND we have guest speakers within their evolution-promoting-biology courses like Erv Taylor, making comments on this site explicitly stating his promotion and beliefs in evolution.

    What more did you want as “evidence” coming straight from the sources themselves?

    That part of the problem is not the difficult segment. It is “what to do about it” that is the challenge for SDA administrators and informed church members.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  21. Educate Truth Blocks Posts in Support of LSU?

    On April 8th, 2010 Nathan Schilt says (at Adventist Today):
    http://www.atoday.com/content/educate-truth-perhaps-elaborate-spoof-turned-ugly

    The LSU response to the Review article, which I just read, provides enlightening perspective, particularly on the degree of editorial control exercised over at educatetruth. In view of the fact that they apparently do carefully control the content of posts on their website, I think the editors have no choice but to accept reponsibility for the inflammatory vitriol which Erv has pointed out. The extremist goals of educatetruth have been evident for a long time. However, I have not been particularly impressed, until now, that there is a serious character and integrity problem with those behind the agenda. Since educatetruth censors what it finds offensive, the fact that it publishes vile rhetoric in furtherance of its mission should make its organizers and sponsors crimson with shame. As is often the case with extremists, the odious nature of their agenda is being exposed by the rhetoric they find acceptable to advance it.

    You take the statements of LSU’s PR guy, Larry Becker, at face value. The truth is, as far as I’m aware at least, that there is very little editing of the comments of posters to Educate Truth aside from those automated edits for language (swear words and the like), length, spam, etc. Contrary to Becker’s assertions, EdTruth does not edit comments just because they are supportive of LSU. In fact, EdTruth welcomes such comments and there have been many such comments posted – to include those of Erv Taylor and Becker himself on many occasions.

    In short, I have no idea where Becker got his ideas from regarding the editing of EdTruth, because he is way off base – to the point of deliberate slander for political purposes.

    Also, neither Shane or I support many of the comments posted on EdTruth by various commenters. In fact, I personally find many of them quite appalling – on both sides of this issue. Yet, as with the postings on the Adventist Today website, we feel it important to allow freedom of expression for those with wide-ranging opinions on the issues at hand to be expressed in the comment sections of EdTruth.

    What is somewhat ironic here is that, so far, I have been blocked from responding to the latest Erv Taylor tabloid-style article by the Adventist Today moderators on the Atoday website (listed above).

    LSU expresses disappointment that the article did not contain more infomation from LSU’s perspective. I suspect educate truth wishes the same thing for its side.

    This also isn’t true. Shane and I are very happy with the response of the Adventist Review and think they did a very fine job reporting this issue in a very even-handed and succinct manner. I personally think it very courageous of the AR to publish such an article. I was very surprised when I read it for the first time – shocked actually. David Asscherick told me that he felt the same way when he read the article for the first time. I might even have to start subscribing to the AR if they are going to start publishing relevant articles like this instead of the usual milk-toast stuff. 😉

    Considering the quotidian drone of advocacy news reporting from most of the mainstream print media, I thought the Review showed remarkable restraint in not overtly siding with those who seek to have Church doctrine vindicated in our science classrooms.

    I think you miss the point of the AR article…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  22. This is Larry Blackmer’s comment from March 14, 2010. -Educate Truth Staff

    Response to EducateTruth Website article of March 13, 2010

    My comments to the Michigan educators and published on the EducateTruth web site have been taken seriously out of context. The webmaster of EducateTruth emailed me within 48 hours of my comments upset about things he had heard that I said at the meeting that he felt were directed at him. I spent considerable time explaining to him the context of my remarks. Yet he has decided to take selected comments and publish them as part of an ongoing campaign to denigrate La Sierra University. Let me share the same comments I shared with him.

    La Sierra University was just one of many issues discussed with the Michigan educators. I prefaced my comments by saying that while there have been things that have happened at La Sierra that I am not happy with, a much more serious issue is how some church members have related to the issue. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe strongly that we need to support each other and lift each other up, not cannibalize each other.

    As Ellen G. White wrote so powerfully, “But how often do professed Christians, by their lack of self-control, open the door to the adversary of souls! Divisions, and even bitter dissensions which would disgrace any worldly community, are common in the churches, because there is so little effort to control wrong feelings, and to repress every word that Satan can take advantage of. As soon as an alienation of feeling arises, the matter is spread before Satan for his inspection, and the opportunity given for him to use his serpent-like wisdom and skill in dividing and destroying the church. There is great loss in every dissension. Personal friends of both parties take sides with their respective favorites, and thus the breach is widened. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Criminations and recriminations are engendered and multiplied. Satan and his angels are actively at work to secure a harvest from seed thus sown. Worldlings look on, and jeeringly exclaim, ‘Behold how these Christians hate one another! If this is religion, we do not want it.’”
    The Church’s Great Need, By Mrs. E. G. White, RH, March 22, 1887

    I feel betrayed by this website. I have explained the context of my remarks, yet you have taken my remarks and used them in a way that demonstrates exactly what I was speaking against.

    I spoke of academic freedom, a vitally important core value on university campuses. I deeply believe that our Adventist universities are the place to discuss controversial topics, including evolution. Our institutions of higher learning MUST teach the concepts of evolution in our science classes. But I believe it should be done in the context of a Biblical, Adventist worldview. I believe our professors should explain the concepts that are held by the world, but also point our students back to the Bible and spiritual values.
    There are those that will say that the Bible is not a science book and should not be treated as such. The point is, What do you see as the basis of truth–the Bible or science? I commented that too many times we take academic freedom to mean that “I can say anything I want and no one has the right to question that.” Let me be clear: I believe that in our schools. our parents and students deserve a broad discussion of the issues, including evolution. But we should also bring our students back to the core values of the church.

    Regarding WASC accreditation- there was a behind-the-scenes conversation with an official of WASC in which he expressed concern over the church exerting control over La Sierra, particularly in the area of creation/evolution. That conversation was the basis for my comments.

    Now let me again be very clear: La Sierra had its WASC visit March 1-3 of this year and it was very successful! WASC evaluates a school on educational effectiveness based on the school’s mission and goals. I answered a question about what would happen if WASC did withdraw accreditation. It was a hypothetical question, and the answer would apply to ANY university or college. My answer was not in any way intended to suggest that WASC was considering a withdrawl of accreditation. Through the questions that were asked of me, the discussion went down a road that was not intended.

    Let me say it so there is no misunderstanding: I support La Sierra University. There are things that happen on that campus, as on EVERY campus, that I might wish were different. No school is perfect. But to engage in an on-going attempt to publicly destroy the reputation of the school and the individuals trying to work their way through the issues is only playing into the hands of the one trying to destroy us all. There are many, many, many loyal, faithful, God-fearing men and women on the campus of La Sierra University. Students are finding God there and gaining an education that they will use in building up God’s kingdom. Painting the entire school as a hotbed of liberal, anti-Biblical philosophy is wrong and hurtful. La Sierra is working to address the issues that have been raised. In the campaign of attack against La Sierra, too many people have adopted the current standards of the world, showing an incivility and lack of love that is the opposite of what our Lord desires. We cannot in God’s name destroy each other, no matter how important we believe our cause to be. I ask you to examine your hearts and words and to take seriously this question: What part of this website follows Philippians 4:8?

    Let me come back to my original point. We are sons and daughters of God, His children, brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to find ways to support each other and to build up the body of Christ. Followers of the Carpenter of Nazareth with the nail-scarred hands do not use their own hands to throw grenades at each other.

    Let us pray together for humility, for gentleness of spirit, and for the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to be seen in our lives and words each day.

    Larry Blackmer,
    NAD Vice President for Education




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  23. Shane Hilde says:
    April 10, 2010

    @Sean Pitman, M.D.: I concur with your comments. I would also add that Blackmer’s LONG comment was removed because of all the private drama he was throwing in which we had previously worked through privately.

    Indeed. What is also ironic is that the LSU website would never post commentary of their articles from the likes of you or me. I dare say that Educate Truth is far far more open to publishing opposing opinions than is LSU…

    Really, we are all about transparency here at EdTruth. We simply don’t need to sequester information from the opposition. The more of it the better actually. We are grateful for the significant opposition we’ve received to date because without it this issue would never have gone as far as it has. Erv Taylor and Larry Becker have contributed more than most to the success of the main goals of EdTruth – to the significant transparency on these issues that has been generated over this past year at LSU. For that we are most appreciative 🙂

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  24. Larry Blackmer: Adventist World Oct 2009 Article material
    Those of us in the NAD Office of Education believe we should not ask parents to pay tuition at an Adventist school and then provide that school with anti-theistic, evolutionary-based, secular textbooks for children to study. Although we can produce teacher materials that will “teach around evolution,” the students and parents are still receiving the textbooks and are reading the material as factual. We will include in the new Adventist series a thorough discussion of the theory of evolution, yet the lessons will bring students back to the Bible as the ultimate authority.

    Apparently 2009 was a good year for Adventist leadership to come out with some public statements on what is and is not supposed to be happening in our schools – by being very specific about the topic of evolution.

    Larry Blackmer – March 14 2010
    @Larry Blackmer:

    Let me say it so there is no misunderstanding: I support La Sierra University. There are things that happen on that campus, as on EVERY campus, that I might wish were different. No school is perfect. But to engage in an on-going attempt to publicly destroy the reputation of the school and the individuals trying to work their way through the issues is only playing into the hands of the one trying to destroy us all. There are many, many, many loyal, faithful, God-fearing men and women on the campus of La Sierra University. Students are finding God there and gaining an education that they will use in building up God’s kingdom. Painting the entire school as a hotbed of liberal, anti-Biblical philosophy is wrong and hurtful. La Sierra is working to address the issues that have been raised.

    Blackmere appears to argue that if we expose the fact that LSU biology and religion departments are evangelizing SDA students into the camp of evolutionism – then we are accusing them of promtoing “liberal, anti-Biblical philosophy ” and that we should be careful not to paint the entire school for that problem that is being addressed by the LSU board in the case of a couple of key LSU departments. Surely we can all agree not to accuse the Bible believing staff and faculty at LSU of promoting evolutionism if in fact what they are doing – is everything they possibly can to expose the problem, to get leadership to address, to warn students and parents about it … etc.

    But at this very web site we have seen a few of those from LSU who claim that they are Bible believing creationists arguing that the evolutionist agenda at LSU is really not that bad, and nothing should change because academic freedom is more important that the sin of promoting what Ellen White calls the “Worst form of infidelity” from within Adventists Schools.

    The objective unbiased reader engaged in the process of critical thinking – immediately notices a few glaring facts about Larry Blackmer’s participation in this process.

    1. He is strongly critical of Educate Truth’s efforts to bring awareness to the general SDA public, regarding the degree to which evolutionism is being promoted under Larry Blackmer’s watch – “as the right answer for the doctrine on origins” in both LSU biology and religion departments.

    2. He avoids entirely – the question of how this problem has been able to go on unnaddressed for so many years under his watch.

    3. He avoids entirely – the question of just what is being done at LSU to stop the ongoing work to promote evolutionism on that campus as can be seen by the staff, material, coursework still available today – under his watch.

    4. He avoids entirely the seriousness of teaching what Ellen White calls “the worst kind of infidelity” from within our own school, and done so under his watch.

    5. His views have now been coopted/hijacked (or rightly used by?) AToday to defend the policy of evolution at LSU – but that fact appears to be fine as compared to the complaints made here by Larry Blackmer for EducateTruth simply printing what Larry actually said.

    6. He makes an accusation about his comments taken out of context – but then never shows just how that was done – comparing what was printed here – to the text of his actually comments so as to actually give the weight of evidence to his accusations against Educate Truth. Surely Blackmer is very eager to have critical thinking skills taught in our schools – so surely he would not want the reader simply to swallow “Accusation after accusation” as a kind of “proof” that the accusation was true. If such methods were adopted – non-Adventist critics could simply declare success over the existing mountain of “accusations” they make about Adventist doctrines and history.

    7. This site contains testimony from other parents and students who in past years made their complaints known – and they were simply dismissed by the powers that be at LSU. Does Larry Blackmer expect the reader to “believe” that the LSU board efforts to even discuss this problem at this late stage is due to “something else” besides the pressure from fully documented evidence resulting in public awareness of the problem that has been facilitated by this very web site?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  25. Blackmer, as well as Schneider and Graham are THE real problems in our NAD. Do nothing, know nothing, stand for nothing pseudoleaders. How in the world did these characters get into “Church leadership?!”




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  26. Bob, Avoidance is the principal guiding principle of politicians like Blackmer, Schneider, and Graham. They cannot deny, since the truth is too obvious.




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