Comment on Pacific Union College Encouraging Homosexual Marriage? by Sean Pitman.
Dr. Bryan Ness just wrote (in the comment section of the Spectrum website) a response to the article I wrote here, as follows:
This saddens me more than anything. When someone who knows nothing about how or what I teach in my classes assumes they know. It seems that the assumption is that I am indoctrinating students into a belief about LGBTQ+ individuals that runs counter to SDA teachings, when I am doing no such thing. I say very little about same-sex marriage to my students, but rather take the approach recommended by the NAD in it’s very fine booklet “Guiding Families” and approach the LGBTQ+ students I come in contact with in the fashion described here (which is from the booklet):
“While it is tempting to focus on causation, I want to resolve this question up front: the origins of sexual orientation and gender identity are highly complex, multi-factorial, and likely rooted in both nature and nurture. For any one person, it can be impossible to know the exact cause. For this reason, we propose that we shift our focus from causation to compassion .”
I also encourage non-LGBTQ+ students to relate to LGBTQ+ students in this fashion. I also encourage abstinence in the LGBTQ+ students I know just as much as I encourage it among non-LGBTQ+ students. I encourage a compassionate and loving attitude and open acceptance of all individuals regardless their sexual or gender orientation.
I do not go out of my way to encourage same-sex marriage nor do I promote on our campus and so it baffles me that the headline of the article cited here says PUC is “encouraging Homosexual marriage,” whatever homosexual marriage is. Neither do I keep it a secret that I think same-sex marriage should be affirmed, which as far as I am aware is not a punishable offense in any setting. I know numerous pastors who believe the same way, some of whom will not say so openly because they fear the kind of judgmental and hateful backlash that an article like mine engenders in some people.
What seems to get repeatedly lost in these kinds of discussions and attacks is that people’s lives are at stake. Suicide among LGBTQ+ individuals runs several times higher than in the general population, and those that experience religious persecution around their sexual or gender orientation are especially seriously affected. If for no other reason than to show true compassion for such individuals, this kind of judgemental and angry discussion and attack should never happen. I think, as I repeat often, that we must take seriously Jesus’ words from Hosea, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” I fear that those who speak out so forcefully against our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters are more willing to sacrifice these people than to try and understand and truly love them.
You just published a very public article expressing your position on this topic – a position that is in direct conflict with that of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (Link). Have you not, therefore, as a paid representative of the SDA Church, taken a very public position that is in fact in conflict with the position of your employer? That’s a real problem as I see it. How do you see yourself around the conclusion that you are in fact actively undermining the clearly stated goals and ideals of your employer? How is this not an ethical problem for you? How do you not see it as a form of theft from your employer?
Beyond this, how is it being “loving” to our LGBTQ+ friends and family to say that the Bible says something that it just doesn’t say? I personally think the most loving thing to do, as a Christian, is to be honest about what the Bible has to say on this topic… even if I personally might not entirely understand exactly why the Bible says what it says.
Sean Pitman Also Commented
Pacific Union College Encouraging Homosexual Marriage?
“Essentially all the administrators, staff and faculty on our campus, including the pastors on our campus already know where I stand. I have never kept any secrets. I have to laugh when I see you say that I am upset because you ‘blew my cover.’ There was no cover to blow.” – Bryan Ness
You’re not the main problem here. I’d have no problem with you personally and what you personally believe at all except that you are a professor in an Adventist school – Pacific Union College.
It’s this school who presents itself as being in line with the primary goals and ideals of the Adventist Church, when it really isn’t. I have friends of mine who have gone to PUC and talked to the leadership about sending their children to PUC. They’ve specifically asked about the situation at La Sierra University and asked the PUC leadership and heads of departments what their position is on teaching the theory of evolution as “the truth” – and if the teachers at PUC support the SDA position on origins and other issues? They were told that PUC does not condone what happened at LSU and that the professors at PUC are fully in line with the SDA position on origins and all of the other fundamental positions of the church.
Of course, you know and I know that this just isn’t true. You, for one, publically speak and teach against the church’s position on origins as well as human sexuality. This reality is not being presented by the leadership of PUC to the parents of potential PUC students. This reality simply isn’t being advertised to the general church membership at all. What PUC should be advertizing to parents and the church membership at large is,
“Yes, we do maintain professors who teach our students that the church’s position on various fundamental doctrinal issues is in fact wrong and should be changed to reflect the more popular secular position on these topics.”
That’s what it should be telling everyone, but this just isn’t what is being done.
I am attacking no one… Since when is a difference of views an attack on the church?
Since it was placed as one of the church’s “fundamental beliefs” by the church (Link). When you publically publish an article stating that the Church’s position is clearly mistaken and should be changed, that’s an attack on the church’s position.
And of all the issues facing the church, same-sex marriage hardly rises to the level of a “primary goal and ideal.”
The SDA Church has chosen to describe the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman as one of the “fundamental” messages to spread to the world – as one of the fundamental reasons for its very existence…
Now, you call what you’re doing, not an “attack”, but a “plea for compassion”. However, your plea for compassion is presented as a clear statement that the church’s position is absolutely mistaken – that the church’s position is not at all “compassionate” or even biblical. Now, you may be very honest and sincere in your views here, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not attacking the church’s position in a very real and fundamental way. The fact is that you are making a very clear attack on the church’s position while accepting money from the church as a representative who is supposed to be supporting the church as a paid employee.
Why do you want to cause such people so much pain?
That’s not my goal. However, if a person wants to know what the Bible has to say about what they are doing, I’m not going to pretend that the Bible has nothing to say when the Bible does in fact have something to say. If what the Bible says “causes pain” to a person living in what the Bible says is a “sinful” lifestyle, that’s between them and God. The very same thing is true of me and my own sinful tendencies. If what the Bible says about what I’m doing causes me pain, I can either respond to that by ignoring what the Bible has to say, or I can ask God for help in changing my ways.
Jesus himself said that He did not come to bring peace to those who are living in rebellion against God’s ideals for humanity, but a “sword” (Matthew 10:34). The denial of self and what we naturally want to do given our fallen condition, in order to follow God and what He calls us to do, is often quite painful indeed. That doesn’t mean it’s not the best path to follow. There simply can be no peace between God and those who wish to hang onto what God has said to give up. God does not condemn the sinner for being born broken, but He does warn those who refuse to accept His offer of help to escape their broken condition that, eventually, such refusals of help will not end well for those who are determined to follow their own way.
Pacific Union College Encouraging Homosexual Marriage?
Response from Bryan Ness:
Yet, these professors get very upset when their actions are made public – when they can no longer hide what they are doing from the church at large. – Sean Pitman
Uh, I have never hidden my support and affirmation for LGBTQ+ individuals, and any parent who wanted to know my views on the subject could easily look up what I’ve written, or they could just plain ask me. I openly acknowledge where I stand on these issues on social media too. Essentially all the administrators, staff and faculty on our campus, including the pastors on our campus already know where I stand. I have never kept any secrets. I have to laugh when I see you say that I am upset because you “blew my cover.” There was no cover to blow.
You have not simply let people know what I advocate, you have attacked me personally and impugned my motives and personal spiritual path. You are causing pain not just to me, but to the very people I am trying to comfort and encourage. Your words are not just being seen by the legalistic and judgmental people like yourself, but by parents of LGBTQ+ children and those LGBTQ+ individuals themselves, many of whom are likely already heavily weighed down with self revulsion and depression. And you are doing this for who’s good?
And you wonder why I might be angry and upset? As hard as it is for me to do, I have daily decided to pray for you and those like you that God would soften your heart and show you the grave wounds you are inflicting on God’s beloved. I pray God will help you find compassion and clearer spiritual insight.
Do you really think it’s a “little thing” when our own professors are attacking the primary goals and ideals of the church from the inside? – Sean Pitman
I am attacking no one. You act as if you have not even read my article. I did suggest in there that I think it is time for the church to change and affirm same-sex marriage, but that is not an attack, that is a plea for compassion, a plea that the church return and study this topic again, and I laid out the reasons I think it is fully warranted that we do so. Since when is a difference of views an attack on the church? And of all the issues facing the church, same-sex marriage hardly rises to the level of a “primary goal and ideal.” You are inflating the importance of this topic. the only place where same-sex marriage really rises to a high level of importance is when you are an LGBTQ+ person contemplating marriage, or are the parent, relative or friend of an LGBTQ+ person. Why do you want to cause such people so much pain?
Pacific Union College Encouraging Homosexual Marriage?
Posted by ArkDrey:
The purpose of the H.E. is not to wall people off by modifying curriculum of every subject to fit dogma. The dogma itself has to be enhanced with broader understanding of how to relate various perspectives to these fields of human enterprise.
Certainly, Adventist schools should by no means isolate students from popular ideas that are prevalent within secular culture. If anything, students educated in our schools should have a much better understanding of ideas like neoDarwinism or homosexuality than students educated in secular institutions. However, the education of students within Adventist schools shouldn’t stop here. Adventist education should also give students a reasonable explanation as to why the Adventist perspective on these ideas is actually supported by the Church – by professors who actually personally hold to the Church’s positions on these topics (like the topics of origins or homosexuality, etc).
Again, it is simply counterproductive to have a church school if professors in that school teach that the church’s position is not only wrong, but downright ludicrous, outdated, and completely opposed to the overwhelming weight of “scientific evidence”. Such teaching, by professors that are respected by the students, will strongly influence most students to be naturally opposed to the church’s position on these topics. Clearly then, this would not be in the church’s best interest. It would be far better, from the church’s perspective, not to form church schools at all than to have professors within their own schools attack the church organization from the inside.
But there is world of difference between presenting it as fact that the teacher believes, and a theory with problems. – @ajshep (Allen Shepherd)
I’m in total agreement here. Again, it is one thing to teach about a particular concept that opposes the teachings of the church. It is a far far different thing to then support this particular concept as “true” as compared to showing the students why you, as their teacher, don’t find it convincing.
That is why a teacher, employed by the church, is actually stealing from the church when they attack the church’s position on a given topic from within their own classroom or via a public forum. Such activity simply goes against what a teacher is being paid to do by his/her employer.
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Review of “The Naked Emperor” by Pastor Conrad Vine
I fail to see where you have convincingly supported your claim that the GC leadership contributed to the harm of anyone’s personal religious liberties? – given that the GC leadership does not and could not override personal religious liberties in this country, nor substantively change the outcome of those who lost their jobs over various vaccine mandates. That’s just not how it works here in this country. Religious liberties are personally derived. Again, they simply are not based on a corporate or church position, but rely solely upon individual convictions – regardless of what the church may or may not say or do.
Yet, you say, “Who cares if it is written into law”? You should care. Everyone should care. It’s a very important law in this country. The idea that the organized church could have changed vaccine mandates simply isn’t true – particularly given the nature of certain types of jobs dealing with the most vulnerable in society (such as health care workers for example).
Beyond this, the GC Leadership did, in fact, write in support of personal religious convictions on this topic – and there are GC lawyers who have and continue to write personal letters in support of personal religious convictions (even if these personal convictions are at odds with the position of the church on a given topic). Just because the GC leadership also supports the advances of modern medicine doesn’t mean that the GC leadership cannot support individual convictions at the same time. Both are possible. This is not an inconsistency.
Review of “The Naked Emperor” by Pastor Conrad Vine
Thank you for this update. I really appreciate it and the courage it took to post this…
Dr. John Campbell: mRNA Vaccines Cause Lethal Encephalitis?
Dr. Roger Seheult does make some money from his YouTube Videos, but not nearly what Campbell makes. The fact of the matter is, Campbell started making much more money once he switched from presenting mainstream medical science to promoting conspiracy theories. Promoting conspiracy theories is far more profitable it seems… unfortunately.
As far as your posts, I haven’t blocked any of them thus far. I do find it interesting, however, that you don’t address any of the counterarguments forwarded by Dr. Seheult. Why do you choose to believe a retired nurse, like Campbell, over a practicing pulmonologist who was fighting on the front lines during the height of COVID-19, like Seheult?
Dr. John Campbell: mRNA Vaccines Cause Lethal Encephalitis?
Two brains, locked in on the official narrative. Please look outside of the box. Jesus walked and talked and cared for people outside the box. Follow your leader who warned about deceptions by big pharma and big business as the beast the harlot church rides — Revelation 18:23
“… all nations were deceived by your sorcery (pharmakeia)!
You do realize that Ellen White herself promoted various medications and medical therapies of her day that she considered to be helpful in various situations? – to include the use of what was generally regarded as a “poison”, quinine, to prevent malarial infections for missionaries who worked in malaria-infested regions of the world? She wrote, “If quinine will save a life, use quinine.” (Link) She also supported the vaccination of her son William, both as a child and as an adult (despite William having had an adverse reaction to vaccination as a child) (Link). She supported blood transfusion when necessary, despite their risks (Link). And, she even supported using radiation therapy when appropriate, despite its risks (Link). Beyond this, she recognized the advantages of anesthesia during surgery and the use of medicines to relieve the intense pain and suffering of the injured or sick (Link).
Regarding Revelation 18:23, in particular, the term “pharmakeia” is best translated as “sorcery” here. There is no intended advice at all against modern medicine in this passage. What, are you suggesting that medications like antibiotics to treat bacterial infections or insulin to treat diabetes are evil “sorceries”? Again, such arguments only make the Christians who say such things look sensational and irrational – which puts the Gospel Message itself into a bad light for those who are considering following Christ. (Link, Link)
Jesus reached out asking to “let us reason together.”
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out” (Matthew 12:20).
There is a spirit in the SDA Church that is breaking reeds and putting out wicks.
Not an example of who we say is our leader.
Again, the delegates simply were not so uninformed as you and Pastor Vine are claiming here. They had already heard enough reasons and arguments regarding vaccines to make an intelligent informed decision on this particular topic…
Wilson/ADCOM/Hart disowns members who dare want to “let us reason together” about the Vaccine Statement. Attorney Zirkle’s request stomped by Wilsons command to delegates to vote NO, and by a mal-functioning electronic voting system that would not even register the seconds to Zirkle’s motion. Request to check the electronic voting system was rejected by GC. Not something Jesus would reject.
As already discussed, this isn’t true. Elder Wilson simply doesn’t have the power to command the delegates to do anything. And Zirkle’s motion did in fact receive “seconds” since the internet connection issue was fixed. The electronic voting system simply wasn’t an issue at this GC session as it had been back at the 2015 GC session. You’re simply repeating claims here that aren’t true.
You say without compassion:
Really? Why then haven’t the sudden death rates for adults or young healthy athletes increased since the mRNA vaccines became available?
Why are you accusing me of having no compassion when I simply point out the fact that the actual sudden death rate for adults and young healthy athletes has not increased since the mRNA vaccines became available? – that the rate of these tragic events has not changed? – that, despite these events being true tragedies that are horrible indeed, they are are not being cause by the mRNA vaccines?
You say the vaccine is a risk-benefit decision. I say that each “risk” dying or harmed is a human person, not a throw-away statistic. Where is the informed consent, and information on vaccine adverse affects within the vaccine medicine box? Do you have a copy of what information about the vaccine is provided to patients and doctors?
Everything you do is a risk/reward decision. Even drinking pure clean water can kill you, since water can be toxic if taken into the body beyond its level of toxicity. And, the risks of the mRNA vaccines are well known and have been well-publicized. It’s just that, for most people, the risks of getting infected by the COVID-19 virus was much much greater than getting vaccinated ahead of time.
Athlete deaths are 1700% higher since Covid 19 vaccine began.
Study finds Athlete Deaths are 1700% higher than expected since Covid-19 Vaccination began
Book: Sudden Deaths in 2020-2021
Children’s Defense Fund, Edward Dowd, Robert Kennedy
Names of athletes who died after vaccine began:
Tucker Carlson interview:
This is all based on false or misleading information, some of which has been completely fabricated (Link). You’re taking lies for truth and truth for lies here. I’m really sorry that you’ve been do deceived, but that’s the reality of the situation. The voices that you’ve chosen to listen to are, in fact, not telling you the actual truth. And, just a little bit of even-hand investigation would demonstrate this to the candid observer. The claim that young healthy athletes have started dying at much higher rates since the mRNA vaccines became available just isn’t true. This conspiracy theory is flat out wrong, without any basis in actual generally-available empirical data. Here’s a little history behind this particular conspiracy theory:
Ben Swann, who has spread misinformation about the pandemic since 2020, posted on Facebook on Jan. 3 an old video promoting the unsupported theory that there’s a recent surge in athlete deaths. The same day, conservative commentator Liz Wheeler and Dr. Simone Gold — who has peddled dubious cures for COVID-19, anti-vaccination messages and politicized medical misinformation — posted similar claims… Both Wheeler and Gold cited a letter to the editor published in the Scandinavian Journal of Immunology that was co-authored by Dr. Peter McCullough, another prominent purveyor of COVID-19 misinformation. Although its publication may give the letter a veneer of legitimacy, the letter did not include any original research, as suggested by Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson. Rather, it relied upon an arbitrary list of athlete deaths maintained on an anonymous website that we wrote about shortly after it appeared online in late 2021.
As we explained before, the list includes students, professionals, amateurs, coaches and retirees. It includes people who died by suicide, car crash and drug overdose. The list does not — in nearly all cases — include the vaccination status of the deceased, let alone prove any causal relationship between vaccines and the deaths. In fact, as we’ve previously reported, some of the deaths initially listed happened before the vaccines had even become available to the age category for the person listed.
Wheeler and Gold, though, each shared an image that highlighted a portion of the letter comparing the number of deaths listed on the anonymous website with the number of sudden cardiac deaths among athletes that had appeared in academic literature over a 38-year period as compiled in a 2006 paper. The two figures reflect different criteria. One number is very broad and includes anyone with a passing relationship to sports who died for any reason since 2021, while the other is conspicuously narrow and includes only the deaths of athletes that were analyzed in English-language academic research papers.
Although the comparison they make is meaningless, Wheeler and Gold leave the false impression that there’s been a surge in deaths and further the baseless narrative that there’s been an increase in athlete injuries and deaths since the COVID-19 vaccines became available.
But the surge is fiction. It doesn’t exist.
“There is no uptick in sudden cardiac arrest or death in athletes due to COVID-19 or from COVID vaccinations. This is total misinformation,” Dr. Jonathan Drezner told us in an emailed statement. Drezner is the director of the UW Medicine Center for Sports Cardiology at the University of Washington, editor in chief of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and a team physician for the Seattle Seahawks, the OL Reign soccer team and the University of Washington Huskies.
More than 2,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. die from sudden cardiac arrest every year, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and two-thirds of the deaths “occur during exercise or activity.” Among young athletes, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death, according to CHOP.
Drezner said his center monitors “all cases and all causes” of sudden cardiac arrest or death in athletes by working with the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “[T]here is no change,” he said.
The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research catalogs injuries for high school and college athletes, and its most recent report covers the 2020-21 school year. It shows that 21 athletes died while playing their sport that year.
COVID-19 vaccines were available to everyone 16 and over in the U.S. by April 2021, so the overlap between the period covered by the report and the period in which vaccines were widely available to young people was relatively small. We reached out to the center to find out if the data collected for the 2021-2022 school year has indicated any increase in deaths.
The center’s director, Dr. Kristen Kucera, told us that so far, “the numbers are the same and it’s actually fewer than we captured in 2018-19.”
For context, the center reported 19 deaths in 2019-20, 25 deaths in 2018-19 and 21 deaths in 2017-18.
Similarly, Dr. Robert Cantu, the center’s medical director, told us in an emailed statement that he’s seen no increase in athlete deaths and called the claims “misinformation.”
“The statistics don’t bear out that there’s been an increase in events among athletes,” Dr. Curt Daniels, professor of cardiovascular medicine and director of the sports cardiology program at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, told us in a phone interview.
The field of sports cardiologists who oversee the health of athletes is relatively small, Daniels said. “We talk and communicate all the time,” he said, and none of his colleagues has flagged a rise in sudden cardiac arrest.
“There’s been no increase,” he said.
Also, Daniels noted, there’s a high vaccination rate among athletes in part because many organizations require vaccination to participate. He noted that a rare side effect of the mRNA vaccines is heart inflammation, or myocarditis, which has primarily affected young men between 12 and 24 years old after a second dose, as we’ve explained before. The risk is highest for males ages 16 to 17, at 106 cases per million doses after the second dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Those cases have appeared to resolve faster and have better clinical outcomes when compared with the more common cases of myocarditis caused by viral infection, including from the virus that causes COVID-19. Despite that, anti-vaccine campaigners have distorted the rare vaccine side effect as being more common than it is, using that misrepresentation in claims about increases in athlete deaths.
For those who develop myocarditis, stressing the heart with intense physical activity could create an arrhythmia resulting in a cardiac event, Daniels said.
“And, in fact,” Daniels said, “we have not seen an increase in events.”
So, he said, if the vaccines were causing an increase in sudden deaths, “we would be seeing it here and we’re not.” (Link)
Yet, you don’t accept any data that is contrary to your position. Why not? Upon what basis do you believe the claims of known conspiracy theorists over the observation of the vast majority of experts in this particular field of study? I mean, how credible are those that you’re referencing here?
Tucker Carlson, in particular, admits that he lies on his program for entertainment purposes (Link, Link). Robert Kennedy consistently makes completely false and outrageous claims and promotes innumerable conspiracy theories – most of which are completely ludicrous. Drs. Peter McCullough and Robert Malone aren’t much better, spouting off endless tin-hat just-so conspiracy theories and misinformation about COVID-19 and the mRNA viruses. Yet, these are the types of people that you are citing to support your positions here? Can’t you do any better than this?
I know you will say that all the above are non-worthy opinions compared to the experts’ opinions in the above article. Every opinion that differs is immediately discarded.
It’s not that these differing opinions haven’t been very carefully and thouroughly considered. It’s just that they’ve all turned out to be wrong. The actual data that is currently in hand very clearly falsifies the claims that you’ve been forwarding – all of them. How then, do you explain away what seems to be the very strong weight evidence that I’ve provided to you that appears to effectively falsify your positions here?
Dealing with narcissists who think they are empathic:
Again, you accuse me of narcissism and lack of empathy with great confidence – without actually knowing me or my true heart or motivations. What makes you so confident that I care not about reducing serious injuries or saving lives? How could you possibly think yourself clear to make such God-like accusations? Are such moral judgments and accusations really Christlike? I mean, even though I think that what you’re promoting is actually hurting people and putting their very lives at risk, I don’t accuse you of evil motives. I think that you honestly and sincerely believe what you believe – that you are honestly trying to help people. Why can’t you offer me the same benefit of the doubt here? – at least with regard to my own motivations and personal morality?
Review of “The Naked Emperor” by Pastor Conrad Vine
Again, it wasn’t Ted Wilson nor the members of ADCOM who voted down Zirkle’s motion – nor did they force or unduly coerce the vote of the delegates in Session. Also, it isn’t true that the vaccine issue hadn’t been adequately discussed for the benefit of the delegates – or that the delegates didn’t have already enough information to make an informed decision. I’d say that they were much more informed on this topic than Pastor Vine gives them credit for.
Now, I’ve very sorry you feel like you do and I can understand your honest confusion since what you’re hearing from anti-vax conspiracy theorists is truly scary stuff. However, the voices that you’re referencing truly are misleading you – telling you things that simply aren’t true. Your latest example of this, from Dr. James L. Marcum, is no better than Dr. Peter McCullough. He makes many claims that are simply false or misleading. Now, Dr. Marcum certainly comes across as very caring and kind, and I’m sure that he is. The only problem here is that he’s wrong – flat out wrong in what he’s telling you. And, this has resulted, no doubt, in a great many long-term injuries and deaths that could have been avoided. Kindness and sincerity isn’t enough here. True kindness will take the time to carefully investigate the actual weight of currently available scientific evidence and present it in an honest even-handed manner. That’s not what Drs. McCullough and Marcum have been doing – not at all.
In short, when your health and life are on the line, would you rather have a doctor with a wonderful bedside manner who isn’t giving you the best available information, or a doctor who may not be as smooth or delicate with his/her words, but who is actually giving you the best available information?
You see, I’m not trying to be mean or harsh here. I’m just truly trying to save lives and prevent long-term injuries. That’s what I’m trying to do. And, I’m sure you’re trying to do the same thing, and I appreciate that. It’s just that you don’t have good scientific evidence to back up your position…