webnote: The printed manuscript has the photocopies of the original court document pages.
p 1 --
STATES DISTRICT COURT
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION,
No. 74-2025 CBR
Introductory: This Is a Head-On Confrontation Between Church and State, Unprecedented in the History of Our Republic
This is a suit by the United States against the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
That simple statement is enough to suggest that the case is unusual; but there is more, which shows that the case is fantastic: The Government seeks an injunction which would control the internal affairs of the Church and dictate the manner in which the Church carries on God's work in the world.
The First Amendment -- without which there would have been no Constitution -- became effective one hundred eighty-three years ago, on December 15. 1791, and provides in its opening words, "Congress shall make no law respecting an astablirhment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." We cannot find that such a case as this has ever before arisen. Not it'i one hundred eighty-three years since the First Amendment has been part of our fundamental law, has the Government sued a Church in the government's courts, in order to prescribe who it
p 2 -- shall employ to edit its religious publications, or who it shall admit to the governing councils of religious organizations, or how it shall deal with church members who flout ecclesiastical authorities. If, as we suspect, the case is absolutely unprecedented, 1 that of course is as it ought to be.
Not only is the case unprecedented, not only would the granting of any relief whatever be a plain violation of the First Amendment, the very maintenance and prosecution of the case is unconstitutional. The haling of Ministers of the Gospel before notaries public to respond to inquisition by attorneys for the United States concerning divisive activities within the church -- extending even to interrogation concerning sermons preached in chapel worship services! -- is an impermissible governmental entanglement in church affairs, and violates the Establishment Clause.
At the outset we recall that the First Amendment's history is directly traceable to James Madison's "Great Memorial and Remonstrance" against taxation to support an established church, See Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 11-12 (1947); that following the defeat of this tax, "the Assembly enacted the famous 'Virginia Bill for Religious Liberty' originally written by Thomas Jefferson," id. at 12; and that the Supreme Court has previously recognized that the provisions
p 3 -- Prefatory Note on Seventh-day Adventists
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a recognized Christian denomination, organized as such in 1863, but with its roots in the Millerite movement in the 1840's.
What distinguishes Seventh-day Adventists from other Christian denominations is chiefly two aspects of their faith which give the Church its name:
The Church believes that the true Sabbath is not Sunday, which is
the first day of the week, but the Biblical Sabbath on which God rested,
Genesis 1:2-3, and which Moses, "the lawgiver, and God's first pen",
commanded the people of Israel to keep holy. Exodus 20:8-11. This is,
then, a Sabbatarian denomination which observes the Sabbath
"That the fourth commandment of this unchangeable law requires the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath ...." This is a tenet shared, of course, not only by all of Judaism but also by other Christian denominations, as for example the Seventh-day Baptists.
Adventism is the doctrine which holds that the second coming of
Christ, romised in John 14:1-28 and elsewhere, is near at hand. Adventism
is deeply rooted in Hebrew and Christian prophetism, messianism, and millennial
expectations recorded in the Bible. As to this the Fundamental Beliefs
say (YB 6 120): "That
the second coming of Christ is
p 4 -- salvation ... The almost complete fulfilment of various lines of prophecy, ... with existing conditions in the physical, social, industrial, political, and religious world, indicates that Christ's coming is near, even at the doors. ... Believers are exhorted to be ready ...."
From a few faithful, but disappointed Millerites who awaited Christ's coming on October 22, 1844, the Seventh-day Adventist Church grew from some 17,000 members in 1880, to over 30,000 in 1890, to 75,000 members in 1900, 500,000 by 1940, 1,000,000 by 1960, and 2,000,000 by 1970. At the end of 1973 there were 2,390,124 baptized members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church throughout the world.
Seventh-day Adventist doctrine does not permit discrimination against any person on the basis of race, national origin, or sex. However, only members of the Church who are in good standing are eligible for employment by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, its departments and institutions, which are integral and vital organs of the Church.
Statement of the Case
I. Founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
A. The Prophecy of Isaiah: "Only a Remnant Shall Be Saved"
God's promise to Israel, Genesis 17, has not failed, for the promise was not made to Abraham's physical descendants merely as such, but to those whom God chose. God's choice or election is not limited to the Jews: the promise also applies to the Gentiles. Moreover, God's promise never included all of the Israelites: "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
p 5 -- "that constitutes the image of Adventism. It is not independent voices or deviating minority opinions. That is the strength and the genius of true Adventism.
"It is not dishonorable
to have honestly held an erroneous position - if one accepts light as
it is shed upon dark problems. It is obstinacy and refusal to advance
in that light that is wrong and censurable."
During her lifetime, Mrs. White produced a great many books, which have been many times reprinted, and which Seventh-day Adventists regard as second only to the Bible in importance for the revelation of their beliefs. She is, in fact, the only post-Biblical person mentioned by name in the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh day Adventists, (YB 6, 119):
"That God has placed in His church the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. That these gifts operate in harmony with the divine principles of the Bible, and are given for the perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry, the edifying of the body of Christ. Rev. 12:17; 19:10; 1 Cor. 1:5-7. That the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church. 1 Cor. 1:5-7; 12:1; Rev. 12:17; 19:10; Amos 3:7; Hosea 12:10, 13. The remnant church recognizes that this gift was manifested in the life and ministry of Ellen G. White."
The writings of Ellen G. White are collectively referred to by Seventh-day Adventists as the Spirit of Prophecy.
Adventists believe that they have been especially blessed through the
visions conferred upon that Church through its prophet Ellen G. White,
and while they believe that most of the Protestant Church is in error
through failure to obey all of the Ten Commandments, (through nonobservance
of the true Sabbath as required by the Fourth Commandment), the Church
recognizes itself as only one part of the Body of Christ, which is the
blessed company of all faithful people.
p 6 -- Movement of Destiny 28; "So with bonds that cannot be broken we are tied into God's continuing church, covering the whole of the Christian dispensation." Indeed, Adventists do not profess to be the whole even of the Remnant Church, for the great body of those who will eventually be saved is still outside the Church, but will become a part of the Remnant before the Last Day.
E. The Whites and the Foundation of the Publishing Ministry; The Battle Creek Years
early days of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the pioneers through the
counsel of their prophet, Ellen G. White, began the ministry of the printed
Word. Mrs. White writes in Life Sketches 125:
"At a meeting held in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in November, 1848, I had been given a view of the proclamation of the sealing message, and of the duty of the brethren to publish the light that was shining upon our pathway.
"After coming out of vision, I said to my husband: 'I have a message for you. You must begin to print a little paper and send it out to the people. Let it be small at first; but as the people read, they will send you means with which to print, and it will be a success from the first.' From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world."
In 1849 the Whites were living in relative poverty at Rocky Hill, Connecticut. "While we were living at this place, my husband was impressed that it was his duty to write and publish the present truth. He was greatly encouraged and blessed as he ...
2. Cf. Streams of
Light: The Story of the Pacific Press (1958).
p 7 -- "In 1861 the first institution in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination was incorporated. It was not a school, not a hospital, but a publishing house, the Review and Herald Publishing Association. In 1863, two years later, the church was organized into the General Conference."
F. The Denomination Founded, and the Foreign Mission Begun
By the 1850's there were small groups of Sabbathkeeping Adventists in several of the States. But there was no general church organization, and no ecclesiastical authority. The only thing that united these believers was the Spirit of Prophecy: it was "the one rallying point of the faithful, the final court of appeals."- They could, at first, not even agree on a name: several were suggested, but Seventh-day Adventist came to be favored; and in 1861 Mrs. White "was shown in regard to the remnant people of God taking a name .... No name which we can take will be appropriate but that which accords with our profession and expresses our faith and marks us a peculiar people. The name Seventh-day Adventist ... is the line of distinction between the worshippers of God and those who worship the beast and receive his mark." 1 Testimonies 223.
The emergence of the General Conference in 1863 was not the result of the imposition of authority by self-appointed leaders, but rather of the natural and gradual unification of the local churches into a central and representative (hierarchical) ...
4. The name of Elder White's periodical was foreshortened to The Review and Herald, and the name of the corporation was changed to that given by Elder Wickwire. In 1905 this publishing house was moved to Washington., D.C. as was the headquarters of the Church. The Review and Herald is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, continuously-published denominational periodicals in the nation.
5. Movement of Destiny
141, quoting 1 Spalding, Origin and History 293.
p 8 -- organization.
In 1859 Elder James White suggested that the churches in each State should
hold a yearly meeting to lay plans for the year to follow. Review &
Herald, July 21, 1859. These meetings began to be held in 1860, and
the first informal gatherings grew into constituted bodies with regularly
elected delegates and leaders. Inevitably, this led to the holding of
the first General Conference, at Battle Creek in May of 1863. There were
duly elected delegates and committees; a constitution was adopted, an
officer staff elected; and so the Seventh-day Adventist Church came into
being, as the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
In 1874, the Seventh-day Adventist Church took its first step toward becoming a worldwide movement by sending abroad, under the auspices of General Conference, its first foreign missionary, Elder John N. Andrews.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church Today
Mission of the Church
"The object of this Conference is to teach all nations the everlasting gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the Commandments of God." This is the object of General Conference as set forth in Article II of its Constitution. (Art. ii, YB 7.)
As stated in the affidavit of the Church's First Minister (Pierson AE 1):
"I am Robert H. Pierson, an ordained minister of the gospel, and president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Aventist, which is the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and ...
6. Movement of Destiny 140-41.
p 9 --
which was established for the purpose of following the instruction of
Jesus Christ when he said, 'And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached
in all the worldd for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end
come.' Matthew 24:14."
The major activities
of the Church are in four areas of religious activity:
which is conducted in hundreds of languages around the world;
literature, which is printed in more than fifty publishing houses
in all principal countries, and the sale of that literature by church
members called literature evangelists (colporteurs);
Maintaining schools, including primary, secondary and colleges in the U.S.A., and many other countries, plus graduate schools, and a medical college at Loma Linda, Calif.;
Maintaining hospitals, or sanitariums, including the first one at Battle Creek, and one at St. Helena, California.
B. Structure of the Church: The Conferences, Departments, and Institutions; Signification of General Conference
Among Seventh-day Adventists there are five steps leading from the individual believer to the worldwide organization of the work of the church.
1. The church, a united body of individual believers in a locality.
2. The local conference or local field, a united body of churches in a State, province, or local territory.
3. The union conference or union field, a united body of conferences or fields within a larger territory.
division, a section of the General
10 -- Conference, embracing local or union conferences or fields
in large areas of the world. (Euro-Africa Division is one of these.)
5. The General Conference, being the general body embracing the church in all parts of the world. Church Manual 47 (1971). The General Conference, then, is the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
So the term "General Conference" has three overlapping meanings:
a. The embodiment of the Remnant Church as a Christian denomination, in a unified worldwide organization to which all baptized Seventh-day Adventists owe spiritual allegiance:
b. The actual quadrennial meeting of delegates, the General Conference of the Church, the only body having authority to alter the structure of the church either in doctrine or organization.;
permanent staff at world headquarters in Washington, D.C., which, acting
through the Executive Committee, attends to the work of the Church between
the quadrennial conferences.
The Departments and Institutions of the Church are listed in the Yearbook. They include entities with such apparently disparate names as The International Insurance Company, Geoecience Research Institute, Home Health Education Service, Castle Memorial Hospital, and Loma Linda Foods. But they are all the Church, as truly as is a house of worship: Says the Church's First Minister (Pierson AE13):...
7. In the past the
General Conference has met every four years, most recently at Atlantic
City in 1970. Owing to the heavy cost of the quadrennial Conference it
has been decided
p 11 -- "As stated in Article II of the Constitution and By-Laws, 'The object of this Conference is to teach all nations the everlasting gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the commandments of God.' All of the Divisions, Conferences, Missions, and Institutions, including Publishing Houses, are integral parts of the Church. We believe that their work is God's work."
C. The Orders of Ministry: Ministers, Missionaries, and Evangelists
The orders of ministry in the Church are based upon St Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus: "And he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God." Ephesians 4:11-13.
The orders of ministry
in the Seventh-day Adventist Church include Ordained Ministers, Credentialed
Ministers, Licensed Missionaries, and Credentialed
An ordained minister,
is authorized, expected, and commissioned by God to preach the gospel
of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and to administer the rites of marriage, baptism,
12 -- assignment, or whether he is also a physician, a teacher,
an editor (Tobler DS6), or an administrator. Ordained ministers in addition
to any special education and training (such as
Importance of the Publishing Mission: The Publishing Houses,
Adventist Book Centers,
The Publishing Mission lies at the very foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Church was founded, and it continues to rest, on the power of the printed Word. The founders of the Church began the publishing ministry fifteen years before the small groups of believers scattered throughout New England and the Midwest were welded into an organized Christian denomination.
The experience of
the Seventh-day Adventist Church in this regard accords with that of the
whole Body of Christ's church. Thus, Bishop John Durham Wing in his introduction
to Dean Gilman's In God's Presence:
"Like every other natural instinct, our desire to pray needs to be
cultivated, trained, and guided.
p 13 -- Moutain View which lies astride the San Andreas Fault, was in the main shock area, and the plant was extensively damaged. A few months later the entire rebuilt plant was consumed by fire. Once again the plant was rebuilt.
After this, the plant
was operated only for denominational work; and that has since been and
remains the policy of Pacific Press. It Is a Seventh-day Adventist Publishing
House, and that only.
The officials of Pacific
Press who figure in this case are these:
Elder R.R. Bietz is a retired minister, and a former Vice-President of
General Conference; he is a chairman of the board of directors, and the
President, of Pacific Press.
The General Manager
until November 30, 1973 was Elder L.F.Bohner. On December 1, 1973 Elder
W.J. Blacker became General Manager. The General Manager is also Vice-President
of Pacific Press Publishing Association. Its only other officer is the
Secretary-Treasurer, W.F. Muir.
Elder Lawrence C.
Maxwell is the Editor of Signs of the Times; his secretary is Mrs.
Lorna Tobler. Elder Richard Utt is Book Editor of Pacific Press; he has
two Associate Book Editors, Elder Ivan Crawford and Elder Theodore R.
Torkelson (who also serves as Associate Editor of Sign); an Assistant
Book Editor, Max G. Phillips; an Editorial Assistant, Mrs. Merikay Silver;
and during the events leading up to this case, as secretary Mrs. Arbie
The Religious Life
of the Press
The Pacific Press employs only individuals who are in good and regular standing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and (except in the circumstances of this case) retains in employment
14 -- only persons who maintain that standing. The regular
work day at Pacific Press begins at 7:30 in the morning and ends at 4:30
in the afternoon, except on Fridays when it ends at 1:30. The Sabbath,
as observed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, begins at sundown on
Friday and continues until sundown on Saturday. The Press closes early
on Friday in order that its people may attend to their duties preparatory
for the Sabbath, which in winter sometimes begins before five o'clock
(Blacker AE 8).
The working week at
Pacific Press begins with a chapel exercise at 7:30 each Monday morning,
at the chapel which is on the grounds of the Press. This exercise begins
with a devotional song, usually a production of Chapel Records, a department
of the Press; it is followed by a sermon by an ordained minister, or some
other presentation that relates to the church; and the 30-minute period
closes with prayer. (Blacker AE 9.)
Contrary to the Government's impression, these chapel exercises are not "meetings" where "talks" are given; they are worship services at which sermons are preached. (Maxwell DE17-19.)
All employees are paid for their time attending chapel services, and they are expected to attend these services with the same faithfulness and diligence that they are expected to bring to the other aspects of their employment. In other words, attendance at the chapel service on Monday morning is part of the job, for everybody at the Press including the General Manager. In addition, because it represents the one occasion each week when all employees are gathered together in one place (except the night shift, who hear a tape recording of the chapel exercise when they come to work on Monday), the Monday morning chapel time is used, as appropriate, to make announcements of general
p 15 --
Adventist Church. (Blacker AE 113-6, 12-18.)
The officials of General
Conference who figure in this case are the following:
Elder Robert H. Pierson
is the President of General Conference and, as such the first minister
of the Seventh-day
Elder Neal C. Wilson
is Vice-President for North America of General Conference and as such,
the spiritual leader of Seventh-day Adventists in North America and the
Advisor to all of its departments and institutions, as well as to all
churches and individual church members within the Division. He holds positions
in many of the institutions including the Vice Chairmanship of Pacific
Elder Bruce M. Wickwire
is an Associate Secretary in the publishing department of General Conference,
with jurisdiction over those publishing houses, including Pacific Press
which are direct parts of General Conference.
Euro-Africa Division and Hamburg Publishing House
The Government has undertaken to sue also the Euro-Africa Division of General Conference and something it calls "Staat-Korn Verlag GmbH a/k/a Hamburg Publishing House." These entities are nonexistent, not within the jurisdiction of any Court of the United States, or both, and in any event have not been and cannot be served with process. They should both be dismissed out of the case...
8. We have filed our
motions to dismiss simultaneously with the motion for summary judgment;
and this subhead constitutes our brief on the motion to dismiss.
p 16 --
Euro-Africa is not an entity, but an administrate subdivision of General
Conference. To the extent it exists at all, it exists in Europe; its office
is at Berne. (YB 125; Powers AE 11.)
OmbH a/k/a Hamburg Publishing House" is mere confusion on the part
of the Government. Hamburg Publishing House is a Church publishing house
Silver, who is in her mid-twenties, was employed by the Church June 7,
1971. She is an exceptionally talented Adventist writer, although her
formal education, consisting of about two years of college, is less than
what the Press considers adequate for a full-fledged editor. Mrs.
In 1973, Sister Silver was voted a missionary license by Pacific Union Conference, and she is a Licensed Missionary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. (Her name does nott appear in the 1973-74 Yearbook, because the book went
p 17 -- to press before her license was issued.
At the present time, because of her activities described below, sister Silver is at variance with the Church, the evidence of her status as a Missionary of the Church is being withheld by her ecclesiastical superior for ecclesias cal reasons (Blacker AE 130, 49-52).
5. Elder and Mrs. Tobler
Elder Gustav Tobler is an Ordained Minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (Tobler DS 5-6). He is a native of the German speaking region of Switzerland, and is still a citizen of Switzerland although he worked many years at Pacific Press. His ministry is that of a writer and editor in the German languague, in addition to preaching, teaching and administration of the rites of the Church which are required of ordained ministers.
At Mountain View,
Elder Tobler was the editor of
Zeichen der Zeit (Ger. "Signs of the Times"),
a German language editiorn of the Press's pioneer publication, which was
addressed to the quite substantial populace of German speaking Adventists
in North America (Tobler DS 5.)
Mrs. Tobler is a mature
Adventist worker who has served the Church for many years. She is and
for several years has been the secretary to Elder Lawrence Maxwell, editor
of Signs of the Times. Sister Tobler by her long service and capability
has attained the status of Credentialed !
Missionary, and is a minister of the Church. Whether her recent action
in becoming a plaintiff in this suit against the Church requires any change
in her status has not yet been determined ' by the ecclesiastical authorities.
p 18 -- Rolls-Royces and a bushel of rubies.
Those who work for
the Seventh day Adventist Church respond to a religious vocation in exactly
the same sense as does a cloistered nun. Man's law is by its very nature
not applicable. Cessante rations legis, cessat ipsa lex.
The 1972 amendments
to Title VII concededly broadened the religious exemption. Section 702,
42 U.S.C. 2000e-l, P.L. 92-261, Mr. 24, 1972, 86 Stat. 103. The Government
will of course contend that even the broadest reading of amended section
702 still leaves
the Church subject to its coverage. But this was
not the view of either the sponsor or the chief critic of the
"Mr. Ervin. And
... Let us hypothesize a situation in which a religious
order has a distillery and produces an alcoholic beverage. Would the Senator
say that business activity of the religious order should be wholly exempt
from the provisions or would he say it cannot diacriminate because of
a person's race, religion, color, or sex?
I think section 702 in the bill would exempt it if it used the alcoholic
beverage for the purpose of communion.
"Mr. Williams. I am certain that is true..."
If production of wine for the rite of commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus Christ is sacramental, so is the production of books to spread His Gospel to all nations. The two commands, "Do this in remembrance of me" and "Go ye into all the world" are of equal stature. The Act of Congress applies to neither. If it were held to do so, it is plainly unconstitutional.
p 19 -- B. A Church Cannot Tolerate Monitoring of Its Affairs By Civil Authority. The Basis For This Position Lies At the Heart of the Establishment Clause
The Church does not consider the Government its antagonist; but it will not compromise its position in order to comply with regulations that weaken its mission. (Wilson DE 85.)
Elder Maxwell's testimony
in this regard would have met with applause from James Madison, for it
echoes the Memorial & Remonstrance (Maxwell (DE 26):
Adventist Church accepts the law; it also recognizes that there is a Constitution;
it also recognizes that there is a higher responsibility, first to God,
and when a law or the manner of enforcing that law should conflict with
either the Constitution or with the responsibilities of the Church then
the Seventh-day Adventist Church will and must abide by its higher responsibilities."
The Church claims
exemption from all civil laws in all of its religious institutions; although
it seeks accommodation, it draws a line of its own when dealing with Caesar.
This position on
the Church's part is Constitutionally sound. "... (official and continuing
surveillance" of a religious organization by a government agency
is not only abhorrent to the Church, it is the very essence of violation
of the Establishment Clause. Walz v. Tax Commission, 397 U.S. 664,
p 20 -- Conclusion: The Action Should Be Dismissed With Costs, Including a Reasonable Attorneys' Fee
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is small, as Christian denominations go, having fewer than three million members in the world, about half of whom are in the U.S.A. Word of something like this case and the Silver case can spread rapidly, creating doubt and strife. The elders of the Church are few, and they have much to do; they have already had to spend too much of their time, and far too much of the Church's treasury, which comes from the tithes and offerings of faithful people, in connection with this case. Both the pendency and the purpose of this case are at loggerheads with the First Amendment guaranties of rellgious freedom.
The action should be forthwith dismissed with costs, including a reasonable attorneys' fee, for which judgment should be entered jointly and severally against the United States and the intervenor-plaintiffs.
A proposed order is served and filed herewith.
23. Act §706
(k), 43 U.S.C.§2000e-5 (k); Van Hoomissen v. Xerox Corp., 8 EPD #
9688 (9th Cir 1974); United States v. 0perating Engineers, 6 EPD # 8946
(N.D. Cal. 1973), per Peckham, J.; Jonson v. Georgia Highway Express,
5 EPD # 8444 (N.D. Ga. 1972); Allen v.
p 21 --
MALCOLM T. DUNGAN
Attorneys for Defendants
STATES DISTRICT COURT
of Columbia, ss
C. WILSON, being first duly sworn, deposes and says:
the Name of God. Amen. I am Neal C. Wilson, an ordained minister of the
gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in the Seventh-day Adventist
2. I am Vice President for North America of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. As such, I am the spirityal leader of approximately 1-half million
22 -- Seventh-day Adventists in North America, and administrative oveseer of all of the departments and institutions of the Church in North America, including its publishing houses and specifically Pacific Press Publishing Association.
have reviewed a quantity of court papers in the case of Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission versus the Seventh-day Adventist Church, including
a petition, several affidavits, and what I understand to be a proposed
order. As a result of this review, I make this affidavit for the purpose
of covering nine points which bear directly on the charges and allegations
in this case:
p 23 --
4. It is alleged that
there has been repeated retaliation, harassment discrimination, et cetera,
against Merikay Silver and Loran Tobler because they took advantage of
provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in an attempt
to resolve injustices, inequity, and differences with the management of
the Pacific Press Publishing Association. These
allegations must be denied. There is no resentment or bitterness on the
part of management towards these individuals. The primary reason for the
conflict is that these workers in the Church have been unwilling to recognize
and accept the authority of the Church in determining internal policies
governing the ecclesiastical nature and mission of their employing organization.
5. No attempt is made
to invade individual rights to prevent anyone from living as private citizens,
nor has there been any attempt to make life difficult for workers of the
Church nor to in any way hurt their reputation or professional skills.
Those employed by the Church have a dual obligation, first as a member
of the spiritual body of Jesus Christ and second, as a servant and worker
of the Church.
6. I categorically state that there is no attempt on the part of the Church to exonerate or condone poor administrative decisions or unfair employment practices. The point at issue is, Who shall arbitrate and decide differences that arise between members or between employees in a church organization and management within the structure of the Church? It is the position of the Church that there is a proper approach, there is recourse to justice, there are avenues of appeal to
p 24 -- adjudicate grievances arising with the Church.
7. The Working Policy
of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists which is recognized
as the authoritative voice of the Church in all matters pertaining to
the work of the SDA denomination in all parts of the world, elaborates
on this point under the title "Personal Relations and Organizational
Authority." It states:
"Persons accepting employment in any branch of the work of the denomination must do so upon the definite agreement that they will submit to the properly constituted authority of the church in the matter of the adjustment of all personal differences arising between themselves and employing boards or committees, and that they shall never appeal to any court of law for redress from such adjustments as may be made by the denomination concerning any personal claim they may make." WORKING POLICY, North American Division, p. 36.
8. The Church is more than buildings, priests, pastors, doctrines, beliefs, dogma, and spiritual mysteries. It is a spiritual institution made up of spiritually minded men and women and youth with a spiritual mission for the
p 25 -- whole world and for all mankind. In the American concept the term "church" has a number of significant meanings. It may refer to a building dedicated for religious worship, it may refer to a single body or group of individuals who have similiar religious beliefs, or it may refer to the entire body of Christian believers.
9. In the Seventh-day
Adventist denomination the term "church" has a very comprehensive
and broad meaning. It is used to apply to the general organization and
for Seventh-day Adventists under the name of General Conference of Seventh-day
Adventists. It also applies to all the subordinate
units engaged in fulfilling the missionn of the Church. In order to fulfill
the ministry of Jesus Christ in today's society, the Church has found
it necessary to use a variety of ministries and a number of different
agencies and facilities. These are all an integral, organic part of the
Church and actually constitute the Church as it seeks to fulfill its mission.
Specifically appliad to the question under review, it is the position
of the SDA church that publishing houses are in essence the Church in
its preaching and literature distribution ministry.
9. The United States Government through its various agencies (executive, legislative and judicial) has recognized and upheld the position thus stated. Even though the operation of the Church and its institutions involves employer-employee relationships, and certain activities common also in non-religious organizations, and even though interstate transactions (non-commercial) are involved, the Church is none-the-less an ecclesiastical body and a spiritual communion. By way of illustration, the publishing houses of the Church perform certain functions, carry on training programs, have
p 26 -- computer centers and other facilities; yet they are religious institutions and are engaged in the redemptive mission of the Church.
10. Those who accept the invitation of, or who apply to work for, the Church should feel that it is a privilege and the fulfillment of a spiritual outreach. When a person by voluntary choice accepts to work for the Church, he or she thereby also accepts certain personal restrictions and limiting factors. Personal or selfish ambitions, individual philosophy, natural and carnal feelings must be subordinated to the unity of faith and the well-being of the Church. If one is not happy in the restrictive atmosphere of church employment, he or she should seek employment elsewhere.
11. In order to achieve the purposes and mission of the Church and to deal with personnel and all the activities involved, it is absolutely essential for the Church to have organization and laws. It is also necessary for the Church to establish its authority in the community of believers. The Church must have the right to screen and hire or to discharge ministers, editors and other workers without challege from the State. There is no possible way for State or a court to properly assess the circumstances, the needs, the implications, and the solutions that become a part of the operation of a church. The State must not find itself in a position of imposing control and thus endangering the freedom of the Church to achieve its divine mandate.
12. Courts have warned against impermissable entanglement with the Church. Seventh-day Adventists are grateful that the United States Government respects the time-honored relationships established between the State and the Church. These
p 27 -- Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; and by the Spirit of Prophecy manifested in the life and ministry of Ellen G. White (Revelation 12:17 & 19:10; Yearbook 6, p. 19), to follow and implement the instruction and commandment of our Lord, delivered from the Mount of Olives, when He said, "and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:15.
36. Finally, being conscious of the full weight and burden of my responsibilities, as the spiritual leader of approximately one-half million souls, it is my duty to God and to my Church to reaffirm that, with all respect and veneration for the secular laws of the United States of America duly and justly realized and rendered, we the Church owe and must render our first obedience and service to the Divine Law of Jesus Christ, that the will of God may be done "on earth as it is in Heaven"; and this we solemnly and reverently do, even should the carrying out of our sacred obligations result, in the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 6:4-5 [RSV] ), "in afflictions, hardships, calamities beatings, imprisonments."
Subscribed and sworn
to before me this 27th day of November, 1974.
p 28 --
MALCOLM T. DUNGAN
Attorneys for Defendants
STATES DISTRICT COURT
of Columbia, ss
H. PIERSON, being first duly sworn, deposes and says:
l. I am Robert H. Pierson, an ordained minister of the gospel, and president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which is the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and which was established for the purpose of followint the instruction of Jesus Christ when He said, "And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness into all natiions; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14.
p 29 -- 2. The document which has been filed in this case entitled "Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook 19'73-74" is an official publication of the Church. The Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists printed at pp. 5-6 of the Yearbook are the fundamental beliefs of the Church. The Constitution and By-laws printed at pp. 7-11 of the Yearbook are the Constitution and by-laws of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The remainder of the Yearbook sets out the organizational structure of the Church, including its World Divisions, Union and Local Conferences and Missions, Educational Institutions, Food Companies, Hospitals and Sanitariums, Publishing Houses, Periodicals, and Denominational Workers.
3. As stated in Article II of the Constitution and By-Laws, "The object of this Conference is to teach all nations the everlasting gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the commandments of God." All of the Divisions, Conferences, and Missions of the Church and all of its Institutions, including Publishing Houses, were formed and their activities are carried on for the purpose of fulfilling this object of the Church, and for no other purpose; and all of the Divisions, Conferences, Missions, and Institutions, including Publishing Houses, are integral parts of the Church. We believe that their work is God's work.
4. One of the distinguishing marks of the Remnant Church, Revelation 12:17, of which the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a part, is the gift of the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10. In this respect, Ellen G. White occupies a special place in the history and development of the Church. She was the wife of Elder James White, one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the founder of its
p 30 -- publishing work. Sister White was shown visions for the guidance and instruction of the infant denomination, and wrote extensively of what she was shown. Her works include Acts of the Apostles, Counsels to Writers and Editors, Desire of Ages, Life Sketches, Testimonies for the Church (9 volumes), and many others.
5. It is one of the fundamental beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists that "The gift of the Spirit of Prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church .... The remnant church recognizes that this gift was manifested in the life and ministry of Ellen G.White." Yearbook 6, p.19.
6. Pacific Press Publishing Association is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is one of its Publishing Houses, and is an integral part of the ministry of the Church. It is involved entirely in the production of books, magazines, and other literature for the use of the Church in the accomplishment of its world mission to preach the gospel "in all the world, for a witness unto all nations." Matthew 24:14.
7. The Spirit of Prophecy,
as set forth by Ellen G. White, gives counsel which the Church accepts
as an important part of its theology. Concerning the Publishing Houses
it states: "The publishing
houses, the presses, instrumentalities in God's hand to send out to every
tongue and nation the precious light of truth." 4 Testimonies
p 31 -- voluntary gifts to accelerate the proclamation of gospel, and thus exhibit a further demonstration of faith and commitment. Because of this philosophy, all denominational employees in the Seventh-day Adventist Church are regarded as church workers placed in one of two harmonious categories and designated either as ministers or missionaries. Both categories call for commitment and sacrifice but allow for different functions." Wage Scale Booklet, July l, 1974, p. 3.
"A wage scale for the North American Division based on such considerations as education, experience, and responsibility, provides a scale for all employees in each job classification without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin or color, with minimums and maximums expressed in percentages of the wage factor (100% salary level) . It incorporates basic salary rates for various categories of services with recognition of the responsibility inherent in each position or category." Wage Scale Booklet, July 1, 1974, p. 3.
10. The church believes that committed women in the remnant church should be given every consideration and opportunity to develop their God-given talents. We believe also that they should be fairly remunerated for their labors. If women are doing work traditionally done by men, they should not be penalized financially. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been moving in this direction, and although some problem areas still need attention, we are rapidly nearing the goal. The Church has made and will continue to make needed changes. It is and has been, however, the desire and purpose of the leadership of the Church, including myself as its first minister for the time being, to identify problem areas and make needed
32 -- changes in the spirit of the Master, and not in the spirit
of the world around us. In this as well as all other areas of our ministry,
we propose to be guided by God's will, rather than by the will of mankind.
We believe that by so doing, and by recognizing that here as elsewhere
we must bow to the teachings of our Lord, and not to the ordinances of
mankind, the Church will be consistent with its message, and will be better
enabled to preach the gospel to the world, and to have the gospel message
heard and understood by the world.
11. While we believe,
therefore, that every effort should be put forth by the Church and its
leadership to assure that our women are fairly dealt with, as Christians
and as Adventists we are disturbed and ashamed to see employed the kinds
of approaches of activism seen in the world outside the Church, approaches
that would seek to force or coerce those with whom women mutually serve
in God's work to achieve such ends. This, we believe, is not the Christian,
the Christ-like, approach. This, we believe, negates the very spirit and
goals of Christian ethics and, if they were to accept or agree to be bound
by it, the leadership of the Church would be involving themselves in un-christian
approaches to problems which, in our belief, demand Christian solutions,
not worldly ones.
12/ It is the belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that misunderstandings and disputes among Church members, or between the Church and its members, are to be decided within the Church according to the doctrine and discipline of the Church. The following quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White indicate the position of the Church regarding the settlement of misunderstanding and disputes:
33 -- "ignoring the authority of the church they show
contempt for God, who gave to the church its authority." 5 Testimonies,
13. The orders of
ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist Church include Ordained Ministers,
Credentialed Missionaries, Licensed Ministers, Licensed Missionaries,
and Credentialed Literature Evangelists. All of these are ministers of
the Church, and charged by God with carrying on His work. The policy of
the Church with respect to Credentials and Licenses, and the method of
issuing the same, together with certain other aspects of Church policy,
are set forth at pp. 76-87 of the General Conference's Working Policies,
true copies of which are attached hereto and marked "Exhibit A."
14. An ordained minister is authorized and expected to preach the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and to administer the sacraments, whether or not he is in a pastoral assignment, or whether he is also a physician, a teacher, an editor, or an administrator. Ordained ministers have theological education, which today is given at a Seventh-day Adventist Seminary, in addition to whatever other education and training they have. Licensed ministers are usually seminarians, or others, who look forward to ordination upon completion of their education and training. Credentialed missionaries are ministers of the Church, in remunerative employment with the Church or its institutions, and who have positions ;which require experience and responsibility. Licensed missionaries, also minister of the Church, are persons in like employment who have not yet attained the stature of credentials. Literature evangelists are those engaged in the colporteur ministry. As before stated,
p 34 -- authority except God's. If we were to be ordered by civil authority to hire or not to hire a certain person, to publish or not to publish a certain article, to permit a person at variance with the Church access to the columns of the Church's periodicals, or to give notices to its employees in language prescribed by a civil authority, it would be necessary in obedience to God's law to refuse compliance, even if such refusal resulted in subjecting the servants of God to "afflictions hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments." 2 Corinthians 6:3-5 (RSV).
Subscribed and sworn
35 -- CHRIS ROGGERSON
JOHN KURT BRADFORD,
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
LORNA TOBLER, being
first duly sworn, deposes and says:
2. This affidavit is submitted in support of the Petition and Motion for Preliminary Relief by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (hereinafter "The Commission"), and Intervenors MERIKAY SILVER and LORNA TOBLER, and opposition to defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Dismissal.
3. I have been employed at PPPA for nearly 15 years, having commenced my work there on July 1, 1960. From July, 1960
p 36 -- 111. During the 15 years I have worked at PPPA, I have attended many events in the PACIFIC PRESS auditorium (characterized by defendants as a "chapel" [AE Blacker 5:'2-9]) other than religious meetings, such as travel film showings and parties. The last such film showing was on February 16, 1975, as shown by the admission ticket attached hereto as Ex. "PP." An entertainment program scheduled to take place there on March 1, 1975 is shown by the advertisement I received from the sponsors of "Phun-nite" and is attached hereto as Ex. "QQ." I have attended many nonreligious Monday morning meetings for employees (referred to as "chapel exercises" by defendants (AE Blacker 5:2-9). A recent such Monday morning meeting was the eighteenth annual business meeting of the Miramonte Federal Credit Union held January 27, 1975, as announced in PPPA house organ The Informer of January 20, 1975, attached hereto as Ex. "RR."
112 . As a practicing Seventh-day Adventist, I leave my work at PPPA at 1:30 p.m. each Friday in order to prepare for religious worship and Sabbath observance beginning at sunset Friday and continuing until sunset Saturday. In harmony with the teaching of my church, I would consider it a violation of Sabbath observance to continue my regular work at PPPA during the hours of the Sabbath.
113. During the course of 25 years which I have spent working and studying in Adventist-related institutions, I have never been called a pastor or elder, I have never been ordained, I have never performed a baptismal or marriage ceremony or presided at the Lord's Supper, I have never served as a ministerial intern or gained a Bachelor of Divinity.
114. As a lifelong Seventh-day Adventist who has attended Adventist secondary school and college, worked in Adventist-related institutions for 25 years, read widely Adventist books and periodicals, worked as editorial secretary
p 37 -- for an Adventist magazine, and is married to an Adventist minister, I have never seen or heard the term "first minister" (OBE xii, 15, 17, 38, 45) applied to a president of the General Conference or used in any way whatsoever. I have frequently heard the term "hierarchy" used among Adventist when reference is made to the Roman Catholic system, of which I have always been taught that Adventists strongly disapprove. I have never heard the term "hierarchy" used to describe Adventist ministers as it is done in defendant's brief (OBE pp. 14, 44, 97), and I find it strange and contradictory to all I have ever learned in Adventist schools and churches. I have never heard of Adventist religious "orders" or "orders of ministry" (OBE 18, 47) and have never had any such "order" conferred upon me or upon any Adventist I have ever known. Among Adventists, I have always heard this term used to apply to Roman Catholicism, which I have been taught to reject. I have never heard any employee of Adventist- related institutions, or any Seventh-day Adventist at all, compared to "a cloistered nun" (OBE 90) and believe such concept to be alien to Adventist thought and practice. I have never heard of any belief that everything Adventist ministers or administrators do is "sacramental" (OBE 88). I have never heard that the Seventh-day Adventist Church or any of its ministers are exempt from civil law which agrees with Adventist teachings. I have never heard it said among Adventists that "the church claims exemption from all civil laws" (OBE 104). I have frequently read in Adventist publications and heard in Adventist churches strong support for law enforcement.
115. As a practicing
Seventh-day Adventist from my youth, I attend church services on Saturday
in my own congregation, the Mountain View SDA Church, which meets in a
church sanctuary dedicated to the purpose of holding divine worship only.
According to my personal belief and the teaching of my
p 38 -- Adventist teaching and that his conduct toward me, toward his work, and toward his church has been courageous and devoted.
I swear under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Dated: February 18, 1975, at San Carlos, California.
p 39 --
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
The questions which
we see presented for decision by the Court are only these:
For reasons of coherence, we take up the remaining few factual and legal questions in roughly the same order as we presented them in our Opening Brief. 1
Organizational Structure of the Seventh-day
From an ecclesiastical-historical
standpoint, there are numerous forms of church organization, which are
described variously as presbyterian (which connotes governance by the
priesthood), or episcopal (which connotes governance by the bishops of
the church), or papal (which connotes governance by a sole chief bishop),
or congregational (which connotes governance by individual local church
p 41 -- These distinctions are without legal significance. From a legal standpoint, as we show post, part IIB of the Argument, there are but two sorts of church organization which carry with them significant legal consequences: the "congregational", and all others, which in law are called "representative", or "hierarchical". 2
The plain and undeniable
fact is that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is most assuredly not a
"congregational" one (although it contains elements of congregationalism)
but is clearly of the "representative" or "hierarchical"
variety. As stated in the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, p. 43:
General Conference is the highest organization in the administration of
our worldwide work, and is authorized by its constitution to create subordinate
organizations to promote specific interests in various sections of the
world; it is therefore understood that all subordinate organizations and
institutions throughout the world will recognize the General Conference
in session, and the Executive Committee between sessions, as the highest
authority, under God, among us. When differences arise in or between organizations
and institutions, appeal to the next higher organization is proper till
it reaches the General Conference in session, or the Executive Committee
Autumn Council. During the interim between these sessions the Executive
Committee shall constitute the body of final authority on all questions
where a difference of viewpoint may develop, whose decision may be reviewed
at a session of the General Conference or an
p 42 -- "Each unit has a large amount of autonomy. Local congregations elect lay elders, deacons and other officers; the local conference office supervises all local pastoral and evangelistic work and relations and pays all pastors and other workers in its territory from a central fund. Theirs is a highly representative form of government." (Mead, Handbook of Denominations in the United States 21-22 (4th Ed. 1965).)
The official position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is that its government is a blend of congregational and presbyterian, with elements of methodism, but can best be described as "representative". 10 SDA Encyclopedia, s.vv . Church Government, pp. 263-64; Organization, Development of, In SDA Church, id. p. 929; Church Manual 46-47; "The representative form of church government is that which prevails in the Seventh-day Adventist Church."
Pursuant to the General Conference Reorganization of 1901 (SDA Encyc. 937-39) the General Conference Committee was greatly expanded, and the leading independent organizations within the denomination -- including publishing -- became branches or "departments" of the General Conference. (Id. at 938.) Each departmental secretary is a member of the General Conference Committee, and his department acts as liaison between the institutions (schools, publishing houses, medical institutions) and the administration of General Conference. (Id. at 438.)
Because of its size and importance, Pacific Press was assigned, not to a local or union conference, but directly to General Conference, and is known as a "General Conference institution." (L.TobIer AE, Ex.SS.) The administrative overseer of the Press is Elder Wilson, Vice-President for North America of General Conference. (Wilson AE 12.)
43 -- As shown by the affidavit of EIder Blacker (Blacker AE
paragraphs 13, 14, 18), members of the General Conference Committee are
ex officio members of Pacific Press, and on dissolution of Pacific
Press its assets devolve upon General Conference. Since the Committee
has 350 members, it holds the majority of the voting power, and accordingly
has power to revise the by-laws, to dismiss the board of directors, to
change management and editors, and in general to control the affairs of
Pacific Press. (par. 14) Again, the administrative official who exercises
this power directly on behalf of the General Conference Committee is Elder
Wilson. Elder Blacker concludes (Blacker AE par.18),
It follows that the General Conference Committee has firm control over Pacific Press; and it follows, too, that it is untrue to say that Pacific Press is free to follow or not, as its own board sees fit, the Wage Guidelines of General Conference. The facts are, simply, that when Pacific Press was laggard in complying, and General Conference learned of it, it very quickly called the Press to heeI, and soon replaced its General Manager. (Wilson DE 11, 14; Blacker AE)
Intervenor plaintiffs blow hot and cold with respect to the nature of General Conference and its relationship to the small institutions of the Church. They recognize but one aspect of General Conference (I.P. Br. 10) that is to say, its
p 44 -- existence as a secular corporation for the purpose of holding property and the like. They recognize it as the "parent of subsidiaries" such as a food company, radio and television stations, an insurance company, and a wood and furniture sales company, 5 but they decline to recognize it as the owner and overseer of Pacific Press, which it assuredly is. And at p. 11, they distinguish between "General Conference" and "General Conference In Session" and in this they err in two directions. First, the phrase "General Conference In Session" is not an entity or an organism but is one facet of the Church (the most important and powerful, of course, but still only one facet of the phrase "General Conference"), and they fail to recognize that between the quadrennial (now quinquennial) sessions of the delegates in General Conference, the Execucive Committee wields all of the powers of the Church, excepting only two: the power to alter the structure of the Church and the power to alter its doctrine. Everything else, without exception, which can be accomplished in General Conference when it is in its infrequent sessions can similarly be accomplished by the General Conference Committee between those infrequent sessions. (General Conference Working Policy, p. 36; cf. Wilson AE para 7: the Working Policy "is recognized as the authoritative voice of the Church in all matters pertaining to the work of the SDA denomination in all parts of the world.")
5. The Harris Pine Mills was donated, as a going concern, to the Church by the Harrises in 1951. It is described as a "taxable wood-products manufacturing corporation" which "is owned and operated by the General Conference for the benefit of SDA work." SDA Encyc. p. 498. All the other entities mentioned were organized for denominational purposes.
45 -- insisting that the General Conference Committee is without
ecclesiastical authority and represents solely a "small group of
men who constitute administrative personnel" and nothing more. To
the contrary, the Church Manual clearly states at p. 48, "that all
subordinate organizations and institutions throughout the world will recognize
the General Conference in Session, and the Executive Committee
between sessions, as the highest authority under God, among us. When differences
arise in or between institutions and organizations, appeal to the next
higher organization is proper until it reaches the General Conference
in Session or the Executive Committee Autumn Council. During the interim
between these sessions the
p 46 -- system, of which I have always been taught that Adventists strongly disapprove. I have never heard the term 'hierarchy' used to describe Adventist ministers as it is done in defendants' brief ..., and I find it strange and contradictory to all I have ever learned in Adventist schools and churches."
In several ways this
illustrates the dangers incurred by an individual church member who presumes
to deny the authority of the duly constituted officials and governing
bodies of the
The term "hierarchy"
or "hierarchical" has no such adverse connotation in Seventh-day
Adventist theology as Mrs. Tobler suggests. (See SDA Encyc. 263-64.) It
p 46b -- February 24, 1975, because it has a straitly-fixed duration, and because final decision is at hand. We prefer an orderly and seemly progress to decision over a helter-skelter approach.
An indefinite or permanent interference, however, by secular authority with decisions as to whom to hire, whom to retain, what editorial assignments shall be made, in a Church publishing-house, is something that the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists could not accept or accommodate to. In the event of such an order, it would be compelled to follow St. Paul's admonition as outlined in 2 Corinthians 6:3-7, and the witness of Ellen G. White in 6 Testimonies 394-95.
have judgment, with costs and a reasonable attorneys' fee.
MALCOLM T. DUNGAN
47 -- Reprinted by Permission of the ADVENTIST
There appears to be
a difference between the interpretation of the United States Government
and the Seventhday Adventist Church with regard to provisions of the First
Amendment, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the
people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress
Three areas of our church program are involved in the current cases. All three of these issues are vital to the life and operation of our church. We believe that we are protected by the First Amendment in each of the three areas. We do not believe that the church is above the law or that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not subject to the laws of this country, as has been suggested in the public press. On the contrary, it is because we feel that basic issues of religious liberty, assured under the First Amendment, are involved that we are seeking legal redress. We feel that not all laws apply to the church, since the First Amendment offers certain protections to the church.
The three sensitive
areas concerned in the present suits are:
the church have the right to structure its own system of remunerating
Areas of the traditional plan for remuneration of workers followed by the church for many decades have been challenged by Government agencies, and some of the current court cases involve questions of remuneration, with the church as the defendant.
This "living" wage often provides an income less than the person would receive for comparable employment in the community. We believe that service in the cause of God is a privilege and that part of the remuneration we receive is the knowledge that we are working for God and that by accepting a lower salary we help the church's funds to go further so that more workers can be employed, and the work of the church will go more rapidly.
Until more recent years this scale provided that the "head of household" (the wage earner in a family, in contra-distinction to a worker with only himself/herself to support) should receive a higher remuneration than a singe worker with no family responsibilities. It is also true that in the past in some cases women received a lower wage than a man in the same position - a practice widespread outside the church, as well. The church is now in compliance with the law on both of these points. There is no head-of-household differential, and a woman holding the same position and doing the same work as a man receives the same salary and benefits pertaining to the post.
The third question
involved in present litigation is:
It is also the contention of the Seventh-day Adventist Church - as indicated by a General Conference session action in Vienna - that the institutions of our church are the church carrying out her various ministries. Our publishing houses are the publishing arm of the church carrying out her literature ministry. Our schools are the educational arm of the church ministering to the educational needs of our church and young people. Our health-care institutions are the medical arm of the church ministering to the needs not only of Seventh-day Adventists but of all who need health and healing, regardless of their national, cultural, racial, or religious backgrounds. Our institutions in their operations are indeed the Seventh-day Adventist Church in action on all fronts of its spiritual, philanthropic endeavor.
Adventist Church has not initiated any of the current court cases. We
are defendants in every case. We do not like to be involved in court
cases. We believe there are better ways of settling differences in the
church, but sometimes a situation develops or deteriorates to the extent
that we have no other course than to defend the church when it is sued
48 -- As stated above, the Seventh-day Adventist Church
per se does not feel that it is above the law or that it is not subject
to city, State, or Federal laws. Seventh-day Adventists are traditionally
lawabiding citizens, and the church counsels our members to keep the laws
of the (and. "Let every soul he subject unto the higher powers. For
there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God"
(Rom. 13:1). "It is our duty in every case to obey the laws of our
land, unless they conflict with the higher law which God spoke with an
audible voice from Sinai, and afterward engraved on stone with His own
finger."--Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 361.
49 -- RESPONSE TO PIERSON
Editor's Note:- It was back in 1977 before Elder G. H. Pierson stepped aside as President of the General Conference that he wrote the article on the two preceding pages to explain the why of the litigation in which the Church was involved with the Federal government at that time. Some people who were in a position to know the facts recognized the explanation given by Elder Pierson was an end run around the truth, and believed it should be answered. It was decided to send a response by personal mail to every SDA worker in North America. The cost became a prohibitive factor. "The Response to R. H. Pierson's Report to the Church" remained - though written - uncirculated. We include this analysis here so that the laity might understand that "explanations" coming through the official organ of the Church - THE ADVENTIST REVIEW - are no more reliable now than past explanations have been. The author of this "Response" has asked that he be identified only as "a source within the denomination."
In his report to thee church titled, "When the Church Is Taken to Court," (REVIEW, 3-24-77, pp. 6-8) General Conference President Robert H. Pierson seeks to calm the troubled waters of the faithful members of the church by crying, "Peace! Be Still!" But there are times when such an instruction is inappropriate.
Now is such a time. Now is rather a time to "let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." Amos 5:24. We are faced here with a General Conference President who is telling the Adventist people one thing through the REVIEW, while through affidavits and General Conference attorneys, he is telling the courts of the land, and thus the public press, something dissimilar.
In the REVIEW he says, "We do not believe that the church is above the law or that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not subject to the laws of this country, as has been suggested in the public press." Through his attorneys he says, "The Church claims exemption from all civil laws in all of its religious institutions."
(The above quotes appears on p. 104 of a brief prepared for the General Conference officers by Malcolm T. Dungan, James H. Quirk, Donald McNeil, and Boardman Noland, a General Conference staff attorney and a Seventh-day Adventist. It was submitted as part of the Opening Brief for Defendants in Civil Case No. 74-2025, EEOC vs PPPA and General Conference, to Judge Charles B. Renfrew in the U. S. District Court in San Francisco. This same assertion is repeated word for word in Civil Case No. 75-1792 before the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court in a Brief for Appellants on p. 77, submitted July 6, 1975)
In the same appeals brief appear the following claims:
"We insist that in doing its holy work, the church is free to ignore, even to to flout, measures [laws] which bind all others." (p. 78)
p 50 -- "As an organized religious denomination the Seventh--day Adventist Church insists that it is 'wholly exempt' from the cognizance of Civil Authority, and that entanglements, practical exceptions, and 'reasonable adjustments' [in order to comply with the law] are not to be tolerated." (p. 80)"
Contrary to what Elder Pierson tell us in the REVIEW, we see that the public press did not misreport the evidence available to it in publishing church claims of exemption from the laws of this country. The fact is that they found this evidence in the public record, placed there by attorneys carrying out the directives of the General Conference officers.
The Legal Issue
This statement is unfortunately misleading in two important, basic ways. 1) By applying the term "herself" equally with "himself" to "head of household," Elder Pierson implies that a female sole-family-support had as good a chance as a male sole-family-support to receive "head of household" benefits. Such was not the case. A great many God-fearing, self-sacrificing women church workers are sole-family-support. (being widowed or divorced with dependent children, or married to invalid husbands). Yet exceedingly few of these women ever received "head of household" benefits down through the years. 2) Just as misleading is his description of the "head of household" as "the wage earner in a family, in contradistinction to a worker with only himself/herself to support." This implies that the considerable "head of household" remuneration was based on need. Again such was not the case.
As a general practice church institutions simply defined "head of house" as a "married male" and let it go at that. Thus, the institution paid "head of household" remuneration to all married male employees whether or not they had dependent children, whether or not their wives also earned their own incomes (even larger than their husbands), whether or not these men also received (in some cases huge) extra forms of income (such as subscription book royalties, investment income, etc.) Yet to extremely few woman employees did these institutions pay "head of household" remuneration, whether or not they were widowed or divorced with dependent children, whether or not they had to support invalid dependent relatives (including husbands), whether or not they were putting husbands through school (as was the case with Merikay Silver of the Pacific Press).
Church remuneration policy has never been based on need. In her day Ellen G. White spoke out against sex discrimination in remuneration: "If a woman is appointed by the Lord to do a certain work, her work is to be estimated according to its value." Not paying women is "making a difference, and selfishly withholding from such workers their due." And, "When self-denial is required... do not let a few hard-working women do all the sacrificing. Let all share in making the sacrifice. God declares, I hate robbery for a burnt offering." Evangelism, pp. 491-92
Now Elder Pierson asserts that "there is no head-of-household differential, and a woman holding the same position and doing the same work as a man receives the same salary and benefits." If this is an assertion that there is no sex discrimination in remuneration, it is doubtful. It is not reasonable to conclude that Federal government would wage protracted legal battles against church institutions
p 51 -- if these institutions were compying with laws against sex discrimination.
Excuses for Going
To claim that we are the defendants, we are the accused, is no defense. It is no denial of wrong doing. It is no example of virtue and honor. To claim that we are defendants, we are the accused, is no more virtuous or honoriable that the thief's protest that he is the defendant, he is the accused. Certainly there is no honor, no virtue, and nothing praiseworthy in such a claim. To offend is less honorable than to seek remedy for an offense.
"Sometimes a situation developes or deteriorates," Elder Pierson writes, "to the extent that we have no other course than to defend the church when it is sued in court." He here refers to "the current court cases" in which the Federal government is suing the Church and some of its institutions for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a law of more than a dozen years standing, and the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, amended in 1972 to include teachers. This has given us plenty of time to clean up our remuneration practices. Where, then, is the deterioration that makes costly court proceedings inevitable?
If we were violating child labor laws, fire ordiances, health codes, and safety regulations in our institutions and were sued by the Federal agencies involved, would "we have no other course than to defend the church when it is sued in court?" And now that we have been found by the government to have been violating anti-sex discrimination laws, do "we have no other course than to defend the Church when it is sued in court?" The answer is that we do have another course. We can obey these laws as the Word of God requires:
"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." I Peter 2:13-15
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: for they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake." Romans 13:1-5
Elder Pierson lists four General Conference guidelines that determines whether the church will go to court. Do any of the rules apply to the cases under consideration?
1) When government demands constitute a violation of a plain "Thus saith the Lord," the church would go to court. But the government is seeking to enforce laws with
p 52 -- which the church agrees. There is no violation here. This rule does not apply.
2) When the government violates the U. S. Constitution, the church would go to court. But here Elder Pierson provides no explanations of how laws at hand violate the Constitution. The only laws at issue are anti-sex discrimination laws. The church agrees that sex discrimination in remuneration is bad. How do these laws violate the Constitution? Are laws prohibiting excessive child labor constitutional, while those prohibiting sex discrimination unconstitutional? If so, then how, or why? Elder Pierson offers no reasons. Without them this rule cannot apply.
3) When the government operates beyond its rightful sphere, the church may go to court. But again no reasons or explanations are forthcoming as to how the anti-sex discrimination laws intrude unconstitutionally into legitimate church activities. Does enforcement of anti-sex discrimination laws involve an unconstitutional scutiny, whereas enforcement of health and safety codes do not? Without answers, neither can this rule apply.
4) When the church has problems outside the United States, the church (under modifications of the above rules) could go to court. But obviously this rule does not apply, since all the lawsuits have been brought within the United States.
Since no reasons have been given showing how any one of the four rules would apply to the court cases Elder Pierson discusses, it was pointless to include them in the article. None shows why the church should have gone to court in these cases. After reading such statements as, "It is unusual indeed when we take issue with the ordinances or directives of the Government," one would think that very powerful, very compelling reasons would have to exist to convince the Adventist laity that these court cases were necessary. But we cannot find such reasons. We cannot even find poor reasons. We find no reasons at all.
"Only when matters of conscience," Elder Pierson writes, "conflict with legal requirements would we be unable to comply fully with the laws of the land." Yet he fails to tell the church what specific "matters of conscience" in these cases "conflict with legal requirements." Is it a "matter of conscience" that we resist the legal requirments of equal pay for equal work? This is all that the govenment is asking. Only lay employees are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act. The clergy are not involved. There is no collision between these laws and legitimate religious activities than there is between health and safety codes and our ligitimate religious activities. Is it a "matter of conscience" that we resist routine investigation and investigations of specific complaints when and if any of our institutions should violate these laws? There is no more intrusion of the government into church affairs involved in the enforcement of these laws than is involved in the enforcement of health and safety laws.
In the absence of any specific conflicting "matter of conscience" that Elder Pierson could bring forward, and in the absence of anyy conflicting "matter of conscience" involved in obeying these laws, we must conclude that this massive and costly resistance to the Federal government was baseless and futile.
"The elders of the Church are few, and they have much to do; they have already had to spend too much of their time, and far too much of the Church's treasury, which comes from the tithes and offerings of faithful people, in connection with this case." (Opening Brief for Defendants, EEOC vs PPPA and GC, p. 105)
p 53 -- One might ask rhetorically, then, Why are they spending the church's treasury, which comes from the tithes and offerings of faithful people, in this way? Why not rather use it for which it was intended -- to pay fair and lawful wages to workers in our institutions?
The standard New Catholic Encyclopedia defines "primacy of the pope" as "that full, supreme, and universal authority over all bishops and faithful of the Church which belongs by divine right to the bishop of Rome as the successor to St. Peter, who received such a primacy among the Apostles directly from Christ." (Vol. 11, p. 779) But Ellen G. White wrote:
"God has never given a hint in His word that He has appointed any man to be head of His church. The doctrine of papal supremacy is directly opposed to the teachings of the Scriptures. The pope can have no power over Christ's church except by usurpation." (Great Controversy, p. 51)
Orders of Clergy
Elder Pierson describes some of the duties of one of these "Order of Ministry" in this way: "An ordained minister is authorized and expected to preach the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to administer the sacraments..." (Same document, p. 8)
The Term - "Hierarchy"
p 54 -- CV 75-3032-R, US Secretary of Labor vs Pacific Union Conference and General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. On April 1, 1977, Judge Real ruled against the church's arguments that the First Amendment to the Constitution protects Adventist institutions from obeying the Fair Labor Standards Act requiring equal pay for equal work.) And in an affidavit signed on December 3, 1974, by [then] General Manager of the Pacific Press W. J. Blacker, Elder Blacker asserted this: "The General Conference has control over all aspects of Pacific Press. . . through the hierarchy of the Seventh-day Adventist Church." (Presented to Judge Charles B. Renfrew in Case No. 74-2025 CBR, EEOC v PPPA and General Conference, in U.S. District Court, San Francisco.) Elder Pierson's report to the laity goes on to insist that our "hierarchical system" is really a "'representative' form of government." But a "representative hierarchy" is a contradiction of terms.
On the one hand, a representative (delegate) by definition is not one who holds authority in his own right. To the contrary, he is an instrument of those who hold the true God-given authority, the constituents, the local church members, who have elected and delegated him. On the other hand, a hierarch is literally a "sacred ruler" or "high priest," one who receives his spiritual authority directly from God and governs the church by divine right. In representative church government, God-given authority rest ultimately with the body of individual believers, and expresses itself through representatives or delegates of the believers.
The SDA Church Manual recongizes the Adventist system to be representative rather than its opposite, hierarchical: "Authority in the church rests in the church membership." (p. 46 [1967 edition]) But the General Conference attorneys, acting under the directions of President Pierson and Vice President Wilson portrayed the Seventh-day Adventist church as a hierarchy: "A 'hierarchical' church is one in which the decisions are made at the top of the organizational ladder." (Reply Brief for Defendants in EEOC vs PPPA and GC, p. 28) They were applying this term, not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. "The General Conference Committee," [then] Vice President Neal C. Wilson testified under oath in the U.S. District Court for Northern California (EEOC vs PPPA & GC on March 20, 1975, "is the highest authority in the Seventh-day Adventist Church."
Judge B. Renfew, unfamiliar with the original structure of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, received a picture of "hierarchical" Adventism from the General Conference officers that showed the Genera! Conference Committee wielding "hierarchical" spiritual power sufficient to secure the excommunication of two SDA church members in good and regular standing by "hierarchical" determination alone. Testified Elder Wilson on this same day, "The General Conference Committee felt that this discipline [disfellowshipping Lorna Tobler and Merikay Silver, two women who sought equal pay for equal work under the law] was necessary in this case. . . The Church (that is, General Conference Committee) felt that inasmuch as these ladies were at variance with the Church [as determined by the General Conference Committee], the local church of which they, where they hold membership, should be be informed of that."
This drift toward hierarchical rule in modern Adventism has gone so far that the highest General Conference officers have been able, through their own Adventist attorneys and non-Adventist attorneys, to deny the historic Seventh-day Adventist stand against the kind of spiritual authority claimed by the Roman Catholic Church and to label as "false doctrine" our historic position. Thus did the General Conference attorneys sweep away our historic position, a position adopted by the pioneers, including Ellen G. White:
"Although it is true that there was a period in the life of the Seventh-day Adventist Church when the denomination took a distinctly anti-Roman Catholic viewpoint,
p 55 -- and the term 'hierarchy' was used in a perjorative sense to refer to the papal form of church governance, that attitude on the Church's part ... has now been consigned to the historical trash heap so far as the Seventh-day Adventist Church is concerned." (Reply Brief, EEOC vs PPPA & GC, p. 4)
Further the leadership of the Church labelled as "false doctrine" Lorna Tobler's statement of this position:
"In their zeal to deny the organization and structure [hierarchical] of the Seventh-day Adventist Church [Elder Pierson's court version of] in order to be enabled to deny the authority [hierarchical] of the General Conference Committee, the intervenor-plaintiffs [Lorna Tobler and Merikay Silver] fall into the error of teaching false doctrine, which is contrary to the doctrine and practice of the [current] Church. Thus Mrs Tobler swears: 'I have frequently heard the term 'hierarchy' used among Adventists when reference is made to the Roman Catholic system, of which I have always been taught that Adventist strongly disapprove. I have never heard the term 'hierarchy' used to describe Adventist ministers as is done in the defendants' brief... and I find it strange and contradictory to all I have ever learned in Adventist schools and churches.' In several ways this illustrates the dangers incurred by an individual church member who presumes to deny the authority of the duly constituted officials and governing bodies of the Church... It is not good Seventh-day Adventism to express, as Mrs Tobler has done, an aversion to Roman Catholicism ... The term 'hierarchy' or 'hierarchical' has no such adverse connotation in Seventh-day Adventist theology as Mrs Tobler suggests." (Same Brief as above, pp. 29-30)
The Blame for bringing the term "hierarchy" into Adventism cannot be placed upon tho legal counsel, although Elder Pierson suggests that the terms in question were selected by non-Adventist lawyers. The attorneys - both Adventist and non-Adventist - represented him and other General Conference officers and it was their job to do the General Conference Committee's bidding. The General Conference president is responsible, no matter what he claims. The Adventist delegates in Vienna did not intend to put an irresponsible man into the presidency of the Church.
It should, furthermore, he clearly noted that nowhere in his report to the Church did Elder Pierson renounce or abandon the terms, "first minister" or "hierarchy" as applied to himself and our church respectively. And nowhere did he admit that he made any mistakes. He said, "If we have erred... we will try to do better next time." (pp. 7-8, emphasis writer) He said, "We are only human, We may make mistakes." (p. 8, emphasis writer) He did not say he erred. He did not say he made a mistake. Nor has he. For all these arguements and assertions continue unabated and in full force in the legal documents to this very moment.
The good Seventh-day Adventist people will either or to have to accept them or to shoulder their own responsibilities as members of a non-hierarchical fellowship of believers, a democratically-based representative church, to rid these things from our midst.
Webmaster Note: Copied from a book written: "Betrayal, Merikay McLeod, The shattering sex discrimination case of Silver vs Pacific Press Publishing Association".