In this week’s news round-up, Ghana SDA Church supports legislation that criminalizes homosexuality, the SDA Church in Uganda is working to help the Batwa people who face widespread discrimination and other stories:
Ghana Seventh-day Adventist Church Supports State Criminalization of Homosexual Practice
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has added its voice to the call for passage into law the Legislation that criminalizes homosexuality (Lesbian, Gays Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Plus (LGBTQ+) in Ghana. The Church has appealed to Parliament to debate the bill currently before it and pass it to prohibit the practice of homosexuality in any form.
According to Thomas Techie Ocran, President, SDA Church, Ghana, on the issue of homosexuality, the Adventist Church upholds the Biblical view that homosexuality in all its manifestation was a perversion of the natural order of human sexuality.
"The question is, will the Adventist Church support a legislation that criminalizes the act? Our answer is yes. Why? All forms of sin must be controlled and restrained by laws," he said in a statement made available to the Ghanaian Times in Accra. "We want the Bill passed into law because all sins left unchecked will plunge the earth into chaos. God in love gave humanity the 10 commandments and other laws to guide and save humanity from destruction."
Continuing, he said laws were redemptive tools intended for restoring the dignity of humans who were created in the image of God, and as such, their dignity and values must remain intact. Ocran said, “The Lord Jesus Christ died to save sinners from their sins, and we believe that the blood of Jesus has power to save and free all from their perverted desired and affections saying while this sin was abhorrent and abominable, the sinner is not beyond redemption.”
In February this year, the church called for such legislation. Again in a meeting with the Speaker of Parliament in August, the Church, he said, pledged to him their support for his stand against legalizing homosexuality in Ghana. “We want to reaffirm this stand again.”
From Ghanian Times: “SDA supports law to criminalize LGBTQ+”
Seventh-day Adventist Church Helping the Batwa People in Uganda
Dr. David Bakunzi with the Seventh-day Adventist Church is working to help the Batwa people who face widespread discrimination in Uganda society. His church-based group brings basic medical care to slum settlements. Also, the group rents land for the Batwa, land that was once thickly forested, where their ancestors lived until a few decades ago.
The organization then works to train the Batwa to farm to help them become more self-sufficient.
Bakunzi says many young women are forced into sex work to survive. He has 16 HIV patients in this slum community of about 90 families. And there is a big problem with alcoholism because the men cannot find work.
In 1991, the government of Uganda reclassified lands the Batwa had lived on for millennia as national parks. That decision pitted the interests of a largely invisible people against those of gorillas that had become a global icon for environmental conservation. The forest here is also the last remaining habitat of the fabled mountain gorilla, habitat that has been steadily lost to human encroachment in recent decades. The Batwa lived alongside gorillas since the beginning of time, these men say, but, today, they are some of the last survivors with any memory of it.
Today an estimated 6,000 Ugandan Batwa live on the periphery of the forest, pushed higher and higher up the mountainside, or in slums in nearby towns. They are among the poorest inhabitants of one of the world's poorest countries, laboring on nearby farms or performing for tourists when they can. Those who do receive a portion of the park entry fees. No tourists mean no pay. And, during the pandemic it has often been that way. Cut off from the forest and traditional medicines, their numbers have declined. Four in 10 children do not survive to age five, and average life expectancy for the Batwa is 28 years.
From PBS New Hour: “Uganda’s Batwa tribe, considered conservation refugees, see little government”
Atlantic Natural Foods Acquired by Above Food
Above Food, a vertically-integrated plant-based foods company, has entered into an agreement to acquire Atlantic Natural Foods and its portfolio of shelf-stable, plant-based food brands Loma Linda, TUNO, and Neat for an estimated $30m. Above Food, by acquiring Atlantic Natural Foods, becomes a leader in shelf-stable, plant-based foods.
From Food Navigator-USA: “From Food Navigator-USA: “Above Food to Acquire Atlantic Natural Foods Becoming Leader in Shelf-Stable, Plant-based Foods”
Adventist Group Take 6 Still Active After Forty Years
In the ‘80s and ‘90s, hip-hop dominated the airways, but the group Take 6 broke through and made a capella cool again. Take 6 stood out from the MC-dominated music scene, and the sextet soon racked up numerous hit songs and Grammy Awards. They had come a long way from their humble beginnings. The group hailed from Huntsville, Alabama, and was openly religious, with members often talking about their Seventh-day Adventist faith.
The world fell in love with the group’s a capella. Their jazz harmonies that touched genres from pop and R&B to doo-wop and blues were a hit. The self-titled debut album, released in 1988, won three Grammy Awards—Best Soul Gospel Performance, Jazz Vocal Performance and Gospel Performance. The album landed in the Top Ten Billboard Contemporary Jazz and Contemporary Christian Charts—and the group has never slowed down.
Despite the fame and fortune, the group remained steadfast in their faith. “(Our faith) is extremely important to us,” member Claude McKnight told Adventist Record. “It’s who we are, and that comes through our music.”
“The one thing that keeps us rooted in that we view what we do as a ministry,” member David Thomas said. “It’s the fact that we feel that we’ve been each individually called into this ministry.” The group is still active today, performing nationwide
In total, the group released 16 albums and received 10 Grammy and 10 Dove awards. Dove Awards honor outstanding achievements and excellence in Christian and Gospel Music. The sextet also earned three certified gold albums, awarded for sales of 500,000+ units. Among its hit singles are “A Quiet Place” (1988), “Spread Love” (1988), “All I Need” (1994), “Biggest Part of Me” (1994), and “All Night Long” (2018). Take 6 contributed to the film Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing.
From The Moguldom Nation (TMN): “Remembering Seventh-day-Adventist Gospel Group Take 6”
Please note: Spectrum news round-ups are an aggregation of regional, national, and international publications around the world that have reported on stories about Adventists. As such, the accuracy of the information is the responsibility of the original publishers, which are noted and hyperlinked at the end of each excerpt.
Pam Dietrich taught English at Loma Linda Academy for 26 years and served there eight more years as the 7-12 librarian. She lives in Yucaipa,
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