Lookout Ben Carson, there’s another Adventist politician in town...for now...
On January 23, it was reported that Sheila Jackson Lee, an Adventist congresswoman in Texas, was stepping down from two committee chair positions she held - Chair of a House subcommittee and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. An allegation from a former staffer at the latter claims that Jackson Lee fired her in retribution when the unnamed staffer made it known that she was planning to file a lawsuit over a sexual assault she suffered from a supervisor at the nonprofit.
If you be trippin’ we be dippin’
Although her office denies the unlawful retaliation allegations, it’s not great optics for Jackson Lee, who was given an ultimatum by the board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to step down or be forced out. As would be expected, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence is also distancing itself from Jackson Lee...who ironically was a lead sponsor of the reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act.
But, like, does she call it haystacks or taco salad?
It’s not clear exactly how close Sheila Jackson Lee’s ties are to the SDA church, but several years ago, amid another PR mishap for the congresswoman involving a House Ethics Committee investigation, Spectrum Magazine reported that Jackson Lee’s relationship with the church was apparently “strained.”
Word on the street is
Many Adventists did not even know of Jackson Lee’s connection to the Adventist church, but plenty who do are not particularly thrilled with the her representation as an Adventist in government. Some have pointed out that Jackson Lee’s multiple awards from congressional employees as “Meanest Congress Member” and her kerfuffle over a first-class United Airlines seat would be better not serving as a model for any aspiring Adventist congress people.
Putting the “diss” in discrimination
In Australia, amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 have been proposed that would “remove the capacity of bodies established for religious purposes that provide education to directly discriminate against students on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.” The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia (AUC) has some issues with this. Adventist Schools Australia has partnered with Christian Schools Australia to submit their concerns to these amendments saying “let’s rethink this a little.” AUC says removing discrimination against students fits within Adventist beliefs, but could still have a negative impact both inside and outside of Adventist classrooms. AUC general secretary Pastor Michael Worker says that the amendment should respect the rights of faith-based organizations while removing unfair discrimination.
Last week, we incorrectly reported that Shawn Morelli is a Seventh-day Adventist athlete. Although she works with an Adventist university’s team (Loma Linda), there is no indication in any of the articles we scoured to corroborate that she, herself, is an SDA. Don’t let that take away from Morelli’s amazing determination and accomplishment!