The Toronto Vegetarian Association refused to allow the Ontario Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to participate in their Food Fair. The reason? Because Seventh-day Adventists believe marriage is an institution rooted in Creation between a man and a woman. Some folks at Spectrum seem to think that the Ontario Conference should have done as the TVA suggested and said, “We don’t really believe what our denomination says.” But they couldn’t do that, of course.
One would think a vegetarian association would let that be the one common denominator of the groups represented. That would seem to be the best way to ensure all those postmodern values such as “inclusivity” and “diversity.” But they’ve decided only vegetarians who promote homosexuality count. Funny thing, though–they say nothing about this on their webpage. Their mission and values statements don’t mention homosexuality. They say, rather, that “The Toronto Vegetarian Association will operate in a way that … is open and respectful to new ideas and people from all backgrounds.” Evidently that doesn’t apply to Christians–or to old ideas like support of traditional marriage.
This does help to underscore why Seventh-day Adventists encourage vegetarianism, though. We do so because of our belief in Creation–because the Bible says this was man’s original diet. And because we believe in Creation, which includes the conviction that the Creator had a plan, we also firmly uphold his plan for marriage and sexuality. And, yes, we reject evolution, too. It’s contrary to what the Bible teaches about how God created us. You see, it’s a package deal. It all goes together. And we aren’t afraid of affirming that, even if we don’t get invited to some parties. We’d miss out on a whole lot more if we denied Christ.
Here’s the text of the TVA letter:
(cc Fraser Gibson, President, Toronto Vegetarian Association)
This is to confirm the details of the decision by the Toronto
Vegetarian Association to decline the application of the Health
Ministry, Ontario Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for a booth at the 2010 Annual Vegetarian Food Fair.
First, we wish to clarify that we recognize and value the work done by the Adventist community to promote healthy vegetarian living. We also want to stress that our objection is not to those who have tabled at the Vegetarian Food Fair in the past. We have every reason to believe that those present at the fair on behalf of the Ontario Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have provided helpful information and shown respect for all members of the public.
Yet despite our respect for this work, the Toronto Vegetarian
Association must take issue with the public statements of the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists regarding homosexuality. It has been brought to our attention that the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists is “opposed to homosexual practices and relationships, ” and that the Church views homosexuality as “a manifestation of the disorder and brokenness in human inclinations and relations caused by sin coming into the world.”
http://adventist. org/beliefs/ statements/ main-stat46html
http://adventist. org/beliefs/ statements/ main-stat53html
As noted in the Toronto Vegetarian Association Anti-Racism, Access and Equity Policy, TVA acknowledges its responsibility to provide an environment and services that are free of racism, sexism, discrimination and bias, where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. In order to provide a positive space for all visitors to our events, the Toronto Vegetarian Association reserves the right to deny participation by groups or individuals known to be in contravention with the aforementioned policy from our activities.
Concerns have been raised with us that the presence of an organization with anti-gay views is troubling to those who have faced discrimination and been made to feel ashamed on the basis of their sexual orientation. Our decision is to provide a positive space for all visitors by excluding those that make public statements against homosexuality. In this case, we must decline the application of the Ontario Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church . The same decision would be made regarding any business, organization or guest speaker that was found to have made public comments so at odds with our values as to hinder our efforts to provide a positive space for members of our community.
As indicated above, at issue is not the conduct of the individuals who have participated at the Food Fair in previous years, but with public statements made on behalf of the organization under which you have applied. Should you wish to register for space to promote healthy eating as individuals or through organizations that do not condemn homosexuality, we would welcome that application.
Alternatively, if the Ontario Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church can provide evidence that it does not endorse the positions relating to homosexuality cited above, we would be happy to reconsider our decision.
David Alexander – Executive Director
Toronto Vegetarian Association