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Author Topic: Sabbath Caucus & Voting  (Read 2348 times)

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Gregory

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Sabbath Caucus & Voting
« on: February 18, 2012, 07:30:32 AM »

The following news item, reported by the news staff of Adventist Today is an interesting one.  It clearly places Adventists in the public eye as to belief and practice.

It is of interest in that it suggests that the Church has never taken an official position against voting on public issues on the Sabbath.

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The process by which the Republican Party is selecting a candidate to run for President of the United States is a major news story these days. One piece of the story is directly related to Seventh-day Adventists. The Nevada caucuses were held on Saturday, February 4, and the party leaders organized a special caucus after sundown for Jewish and Adventist Sabbath-keepers.
 
 This caucus, at the Adelson public school in the suburbs west of Los Vegas, has become a cause of considerable criticism over the last week.
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“The announcement of the caucus for Sabbath-keepers did spark some conversation,” one Adventist member in the state told Adventist Today. “People wanted to know why we could not vote on the Sabbath.” In fact, it is not clear that the denomination has ever officially taken a position against members voting on Sabbath, although most would prefer not to since the Sabbath experience involves a general break from secular activities.
 
 It is also unclear if any Adventists actually took advantage of the special, after-Sabbath Republican caucus in west Los Vegas. Public records do not include information about voters’ religious affiliation.

It is probably little known by Adventists that the question of voting on the Sabbath first surfaced in June of 1881.

NOTE: Documentation for what I say here can be found in:  1) White Estate Document File 274, entitled “The Des Moines, Iowa, Temperance experience.”  2) Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White, Vol. 3, The Lonely Years, 1876 – 1891, pages 159 & 160.  3) Review & Herald, July 5, 1881, which reported on a formal action taken related to the issue which resulted in the advice of Ellen White.  My discussion of this issue is taken from the A.L. White book cited above.

In this early experience, prohibition was up for a vote in an election that was to be held on the Sabbath.  In response the question as to whether or not Adventists should vote on the Sabbath, Ellen White said:

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”Shall we vote for prohibition?” she asked.  “Yes, to a man, everywhere,” she replied, “and perhaps I shall shock some of you if I say, If necessary, vote on the Sabbath day for prohibition if you cannot at any other time.”

Adventists, who are aware of that advice, generally understand it to mean that voting on moral issues on the Sabbath is acceptable according to what EGW Said.  Some would not follow that advice in their personal lives.  The any right of conscience is extended to individuals regardless of any official position of a denomination.  On this basis, I commend the Republican Party in Nevada for holding a special caucus to protect the ability of “Sabbath-keepers” to participate under conditions that did not violate their principles.

But, I will note that there will likely be Adventists who were willing to participate in the scheduled Sabbath caucus.  In view of the advice given by EGW, their principles should also be respected.

I expect that I may be asked what I would personally do.  In the case of this Republican selection of a candidate for the office of the President of the U.S.A, if I could only participate during the hours of the Sabbath, I would not participate.  Just my personal position.  But, I would not want to judge someone else who made a different decision.
 

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Johann

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Re: Sabbath Caucus & Voting
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 08:55:33 AM »

"Jewish and Adventist," Do we have the same rules for Sabbath keeping?

Jews have a maximum length they can travel on land on the Sabbath. For this reason some Jews have a bottle of water under the seat in their cars so they can say they are traveling "on water" and do not need to restrict the distance they can drive on that day.
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Gregory

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Re: Sabbath Caucus & Voting
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 03:47:45 PM »

Jewish people arenot in agreement on the rules.  the various segments of Judiasm hvae differing rules.  The rules that most people cite are followed by the Orthodox.  Other groups likely do not have the same rules.

NOTE: I sometimes am in an Orthodox Jewish community in Denver, on Sabbath afternoon.  In this community, I find Orthodox children, wearing the symbols of the Orthodox community, playing basketball on Sabbath afternoon.

I was so surprised by this that I contacted an Orthocox Rabbi whom I know and asked him to explain it to me.  He explained the conditions under whhich playing basketball on Sabbath would not be considered wrong and the  conditions under which it would be considered a violation of the Sabbath.  The Jewish childern were playing in a manner that the SAbbath was not violated as they understood it.

People often do not really understand Jewish law as it is applied ot Jewish life.

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