Pathfinders go public

Pathfinders go public

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8/30/2019


Jamaica considers starting Pathfinder clubs in public schools

Pathfinders go public

In November of 2018, Jamaica’s Ministry of Education announced a plan to set up Pathfinder clubs in the island’s public elementary and high schools. According to the Jamaica Gleaner, assistant superintendent of police, Coleridge Minto, announced the venture at an inauguration service for over 1,000 young people becoming Pathfinders. Minto attributed the success of the Education Ministry’s Safe Schools program, in part, to partnerships with organizations like the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As a result, he invited Pathfinder clubs to organize in the country’s schools. Minto’s plan was to have five-to-ten clubs set up in schools across the island by the end of 2018. This new partnership was also announced through several Adventist media outlets, including Inter-American Division News and Adventist News Network.

Wait, you’re the group that sells Thin Mints...right?

Nearly nine months later, the planned introduction of Pathfinder Clubs to the schools of Jamaica appears to have hit a roadblock. The Jamaica Gleaner now reports that club organization has been delayed, with the Jamaica Teachers' Association expressing concern that a religious group like Pathfinders might include religious indoctrination with their other activities. During a meeting of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) on August 21, the Ministry of Education secretary spoke about the delay in starting the clubs. She described the genesis of the potential partnership differently than Minto, claiming the Adventist church approached the Ministry about partnership instead of the other way around. She assured the gathered teachers that concerns would be carefully addressed by JTA executives before any move is made to start Pathfinder clubs in the schools.

Word on the street is. . .

Adventist institutions have historically been cautious about getting entangled with government agencies, as the denomination is vigilant about crossing the line between church and state. Some Jamaican citizens fear this latest move reflects an unwise mingling of government and faith. Others are asking why introducing a religious organization like Pathfinders to public schools would be considered appropriate in the first place, suggesting that groups like Boy Scouts, YMCA, or Boys/Girls Club would be a better fit for the public schools. In addition, there are Adventists who fear that incorporating the Pathfinders into public schools might harm the Pathfinder brand.

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Response to SDA statement on transgenderism ignites conversation

What’s love got to do with it? 

An open letter written in response to Seventh-day Adventism’s 2017 statement on transgenderism has ignited conversation in various social media channels. The letter was submitted by Lisal Folsom and published on August 23 in Spectrum Magazine’s “Views” section. Folsom is a “quadruple board-certified” endocrinologist who finds joy in helping patients with gender dysphoria progress toward changing their bodies to fit their gender identity. Folsom states that she takes issue with the part of the statement that reads, “Transgender individuals are welcomed to membership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church only if they are committed to ordering their lives according to the biblical teachings on sexuality and marriage.” Folsom argues that this definition is up for interpretation since the Bible doesn’t directly address issues of gender dysphoria. She ends her letter saying the Church which taught her to love unconditionally has become unrecognizable to her, now operating more like an exclusive club following rules created by humans rather than ones guided by love. She also “respectfully, but purposefully” withdraws her membership.


Two Seventh-day Adventists receive a large sum from religious discrimination lawsuit

EEOC goes WWE on CPA, LLC

Two Seventh-day Adventists were asked to resign from Greenbriar Cove, a Tennessee assisted living center for seniors, after refusing to work on Saturday because of their religious conviction. They offered to work on Sunday instead, but the offer was refused and the employer subsequently requested their resignation. The U.S. Equal and Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against Century Park Associates, LLC, the parent company of Greenbriar Cove, claiming that Greenbriar’s actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On August 13, Century Park Associates, LLC agreed to pay $92,586 to settle the EEOC lawsuit. They must also train employees on Title VII’s requirements, report complaints of religious discrimination and requests, and allow the commission to monitor the facility’s compliance for the next two years. 


Contributors: Makala James, Sean Maycock, Stephanie Wilczynski

Editors: Ryan Becker, Kevin Christenson, Jill Evans

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