“contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” jude 3 — vol. 4 no. 1
In God We Trust, But Evangelical Leader Threatens to Use His In Securities We Invest Political Muscle Against Democrats The U.S. government allows religious groups to use their tax-exempt status to invest in stocks and bonds. The churches are taking millions of dollars and using them to buy shares of stock of worldly businesses for profit. Millions more are given to investment companies in the form of loans or bonds in exchange for the original investment plus interest on the money.
New York Times January 1, 2005 By David D. Kirkpatrick
Some may even argue that in Jesus’ day there was no modern stock market, and so we don’t really know what position He would have taken. However, the concepts of greed, selfishness, the love of money, and the desire to get rich fast are familiar concepts that exist in every generation.
He singled out Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Bill Nelson of Florida. All six are up for re-election in 2006. In an interview in his office in Colorado Springs, Dr. Dobson acknowledged that his plunge into partisan politics had —continued on page 5
Colorado Springs, Colorado—James C. Dobson, the nation's most influential evangelical leader, is threatening to put six potentially vulnerable Democratic senators "in the 'bull's-eye' " if they block conservative appointments to the The churches have taken advantage of this tax-free in- Supreme Court. vestment “privilege” and are taking huge risks in hopes of enjoying great profits. God’s “sacred” offerings are In a letter his aides say is being sent to more than one milbeing invested in utility stocks, industrial stock, insur- lion of his supporters, Dr. Dobson, the child psychologist ance stock, preferred stock, US treasury notes, federal and founder of the evangelical organization Focus on the agency bonds, federal government bonds, and in indus- Family, promises "a battle of enormous proportions from trial and utility bonds. All of it virtually tax free with a sea to shining sea" if President Bush fails to appoint "strict 1031 Exchange transaction—an arrangement used to constructionist" jurists or if Democrats filibuster to block Dr. James Dobson, “the nation’s avoid paying taxes. conservative nominees. most influential evangelical One of the common arguments put forth by those who Dr. Dobson recalled the conservative efforts that helped in leader,” has declared war on six support investing church money in stocks is: “There is the November defeat of Senator Tom Daschle of South top Democrats in the U.S. Sennothing dishonest or immoral about aspiring a substan- Dakota, the Senate minority leader who led Democrats in ate. Dobson’s warning to the six tial return on investing. The farmer hopes to be paid using the filibuster to block 10 of Mr. Bush's judicial is simple: Try to block confirmation of President Bush's judicial well for his crops, the factory worker seeks a good nominees. nominees, and millions of Chriswage for his labor, and the merchant tries to sell his goods for more than he paid for them. Therefore, it is "Let his colleagues beware," Dr. Dobson warned, tians will defeat you in 2006. not wrong to try to better the church economically by "especially those representing 'red' states. Many of them will be in the 'bull's-eye' the next time investing in securities.” they seek re-election."
U.S. Secretary of State Discusses Middle East and Religious Freedom with Vatican Officials
Christians, on the other hand, are already rich. Jesus says, “Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich” (Rev. 3:18). He also warned against the danger of trusting in riches: “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke VATICAN CITY, FEB 8, 2005 (Vatican Information Service) - Today Tuesday, February 8, 2005, Condoleezza Rice, 12:21). U.S. secretary of State, accompanied by an official delegation, No one can deny that the investment and security marvisited Cardinal Secretary of kets are dominated by one goal—to make lots of State Angelo Sodano who was money and become rich. Most of today’s day traders accompanied by Archbishop and investors take wild risks in hopes of making a great of deal money. People get into the stock business with Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for the hopes of gaining something personally—for profit. Relations with States, Msgr. And even non-profit organizations want to make profPietro Parolin, under-secretary, its from their investments, tax free. and other officials from the Secretariat of State. Every year the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission [(202) 942-8088], whose job is to protect investors At the beginning of their cordial and maintain integrity in the securities market, initiates meeting which lasted for almost between 400-500 lawsuits against investment advisors, an hour, Cardinal Sodano prestock-exchangers, broker-dealers, and corporate leaders sented the Holy Father's greetfor breaking security laws such as insider trading, acings to his guest, asking her to pass them on to U.S. President Bush. In turn, Condoleezza counting fraud, or for providing false or misleading Rice, in the name of President Bush, of the American people, and in her own name, exinformation. pressed best wishes for a speedy recovery of His Holiness. Today, the so-called “prudent investing” has become no different from the Las Vegas-style gambling casinos. Many CEOs and CFOs have carried out their pursuits for profit too far, consequently causing harm to others—Enron and WorldCom being two notable examples. “How long will the Lord suffer oppression of the poor that rich men may hoard wealth? These men are heaping together treasures for the last days. Their money is placed where it does no one any good. To add to their millions, they rob the poor, and the cries of the starving are no more to them than the barking of a dog. But the Lord marks every act of —continued on page 6
An exchange of opinions followed on various international problems, with particular reference to the Holy Land, to the Middle East, and to the situation in other Asian countries. Attention was also given to the theme of religious freedom in various parts of the world. Finally, certain questions concerning bilateral relations were considered, reaffirming the will to collaborate in safeguarding and promoting spiritual values.
the eternal gospel herald — volume 4, no. 1
Rendering Not Unto Caesar Nor Unto God The Very Lucrative “Not-for-profit” Adventist Healthcare Business Richard Scruggs was the Mississippi litigation attorney who battled and defeated the big tobacco corporations over decades of allegedly deceitful advertising and illegal marketing of tobacco products aimed at children. This was part of an historic settlement in which seven tobacco companies agreed to certain restrictions on their marketing practices and to pay $286 billion over 25 years to 46 states, the District of Columbia, and five US territories. Richard Scruggs and his legal team have now declared war against the non-profit hospital industry by initiating lawsuits against 13 of the nation’s largest, non-profit hospital chains, including Adventist Health Systems. In a 33 page class action lawsuit filed in the state of Colorado, Richard Scruggs and his legal experts have built a mountain of evidence against Centura Health Corporation—a health care system that is jointly owned and operated by Catholic Health Initiatives and Adventist Health Systems, challenging their business and accounting practices. Scruggs, whose $286 billion settlement against cigarette makers made history and netted him a fortune, believes that this new fight will likely be even bigger. A team of consultants working under Scruggs’ direction have been amassing evidence against 13 of the nation’s largest non-profit hospital chains accusing them of systematically defrauding the American public. The suits provides a glimpse into the secret dealings of the “nonprofit” hospital industry. In 1994 Scruggs was able to convince Mississippi’s Attorney General Michael Moore to join him in his lawsuit against the cigarette makers. He is also hoping to convince several states to join him against the non-profit health systems. Because the class action alleges abuse of public funds and resources, Scruggs is hopeful that a number of state attorneys generals “will take notice of this and take action.” Scruggs says the legal argument behind the suits is a fairly simple one—A non-profit hospital, in order to obtain freedom from taxation, has to prove that they provide charity care. The recipients of that care, he says, should be the poor and uninsured. But the suits’ plaintiffs contend that non-profit hospitals have systematically turned back from their obligation, ignoring charity care in order to make big profits and make more money—thus defrauding the state and government from paying taxes and neglecting the poor and uninsured. The suit seeks undisclosed damages, including “revenues in an amount sufficient to provide the Plaintiffs and the class mutually affordable medical care.” Given the number of plaintiffs, the extent of health care industry’s holdings, and the nature of the damages being sought, the damages could easily surpass the tobacco industry’s settlement. These are hospitals that have “amassed and horded billions” Scruggs says. He contends in this class-action lawsuit that the cash assets of the nation’s non-profit hospital chains could actually exceed the assets of all 50 states. What’s more, Scruggs argues, the organizations named in his suit have not only failed to act like the charities they claim to be, they’ve actually been overcharging uninsured patients by as much as 200 percent or more. The alleged price-gouging of the uninsured, the lawsuit asserts, has turned non-profit hospitals into some of the nation’s richest corporations, with cash reserves and assets totaling billions. The plaintiffs’ lawsuit states that it’s an abuse of public trust and public funds. —continued on page 3
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Just How Non-Profit?
Health care wasn’t always the cutthroat business it is today. A century ago, hospitals were mostly run by religious groups, and nearly all care was provided on a charity basis. But after the Great Depression, many smaller hospitals were in great need of conventional facilities and technology, so in 1946 the government passed the Hill-Burton Act to provide federal funds to hospitals that agreed to provide free charity care to surrounding communities. In 1972, a 20-year limit was placed on the free care requirement, and by the early 1990s, huge for-profit hospital chains, no longer bound by charity care obligations, began to buy up community non-profit hospitals and convert them into for-profit facilities. As the for-profit health systems merged into larger corporations, the remaining non-profits began to follow their counterparts, acting in many ways just like their for-profit competitors. They acquired modern medical equipment, began to accept insurance companies, and even began using collection agencies. In the process, charity care became almost forgotten. And today, communities that are hurting for cash are beginning to question the substantial tax breaks given to these so-called “non-profits.” Some have even started to question the hospitals’ claims of providing “community benefits.” Disreputable Collection Practices The suits filed by Scruggs and his colleagues focus on the non-profit hospitals’ aggressive and misleading collection practices with regard to uninsured patients. The plaintiffs allege that they were harassed by a collections agency for months until their wages were eventually garnished to pay the bill, even though their income was well below poverty level. The lawsuit claims that this is a typical scenario for these “non-profit” hospitals. When a patient walks into their facilities, they are made to sign a guarantee of payment, without distinguishing if they can pay or not—or whether they qualify for the free charity that they are suppose to supply in exchange for the tax-free status. So after signing a guarantee of payment, without even knowing how much they will be charged, when the bill is finally sent and they can’t pay, the collection efforts begin with letters and harassing phone calls. Then an outside collection agency is brought in and more threatening letters and calls are made. If that fails, they file suit and get a judgment and garnish the patients wages or place a lien on their property. Many others are forced into bankruptcy. The problem with this, the lawsuit explains, is that these non-profit hospitals don’t attempt to determine early in the process who can and can’t pay, so that patients can be offered charity care and spared the trauma of aggressive collections practices. Uninsured and Overcharged The bottom line, states the litigation, is that non-profit hospitals are making big money while failing to live up to their community obligations. Among the counts listed in the class actions are breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, consumer fraud and deception, breach of charitable trust and unjust enrichment. They also call for protective orders requiring defendants to stop overcharging the uninsured, and to cease aggressive collection efforts without first informing patients of possible payment options.
Adventists to Pay $20 Million to Settle Fraud Charges The Washington Times October 28, 2004 Florida Health Care Firms to Pay $20 Million Miami, FL, Oct. 28— A group of Florida health facilities has agreed to pay $20 million to settle allegations it overcharged Medicare, the Justice Department said Thursday. Winter Park, Adventist Health System, Sunbelt Healthcare Corp., three affiliated hospitals and a management company that administered ambulance operations at the three hospitals agreed to the settlement. The government alleged they charged for ambulance transports for patients that were not medically necessary. The government further alleged that Regional Emergency Services and the hospitals created false physician certifications for the medical necessity of ambulance transports operated by the hospitals, and submitted or caused to be submitted claims to Medicare. The suit alleges that the false claims were submitted during 1993 through 2000 in the case of Florida Hospital Waterman and Metroplex Adventist Hospital, and 1993 through 1997 in the case of Huguley Memorial Medical Center. Two employee whistleblowers will receive a total of $2.4 million.
Adventist Health System Corporate Office 111 North Orlando Avenue Winter Park, FL 32789 Phone: 407-647-4400 Fax: 407-975-1469 For more information regarding the organization, please call, write, or send an e-mail to Garrett Nudd, Communications Department, at email@example.com
Thomas L. Werner has served as president of Adventist Health System since 2000.
Becoming Rich Through Deceit “For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.” Jeremiah 5:26-27. “The physician [health-care workers] is as much under obligation to represent pure and undefiled religion in his business transactions as is any other man in any profession. He is required to love and obey God, to relieve the sick and afflicted, for Christ's sake. The love and pity of Christ must pervade the soul, and the physician that has the fear of God before his eyes will deal tenderly with Christ’s poor, and justly with all men; for he will realize that he must meet the record of the deeds done in the body at the judgment bar of God. All work done for Christ’s sake, unselfishly, will obtain a quality, achieve a success, beyond all earthly compensation; for Christ’s righteousness will be imputed to such a worker. Every physician should be inspired by the love of Christ, that his work may have upon it the fashioning hand of the great Physician. In Christ we behold the characteristics of the true physician.” Manuscript Releases Vol. 1, p. 208. According to the United States Department of Justice records, on Friday December 2, 2000, Adventist Health Systems reimbursed the United States Government $8.7 million to settle allegations that Adventist hospitals overcharged Medicare patients. And on Thursday October 28, 2004, Adventist Health Systems paid the U.S. Government $20.3 million dollars to settle “fraud” claims. [This information can be verified by calling the Department of Justice Press Office at (202) 514-2007 or by visiting www.usdoj.gov]. —The Editors
Donald L. Jernigan, Ph.D. is executive vice president of Adventist Health System and CEO of Florida Hospital and the Florida Division.
Terry Shaw is senior vice president and chief financial officer of Adventist Health System.
Robert Henderschedt is senior vice president of administration for Adventist Health System.
Brent Snyder is senior vice president and Information Services officer for Adventist Health System.
the eternal gospel herald — volume 4, no. 1
Centura Accused of Gouging—Suit Alleges Hospital Chain Overcharges Uninsured Patients By Karen Abbott, Rocky Mountain News, June 23, 2004 A Wheat Ridge man with no health insurance has sued Colorado's largest hospital chain, alleging that it overcharges uninsured patients. Scott Ferguson, 51, a retired keyboard musician and artist, wants U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch to declare his lawsuit a class action on behalf of people who don't have health insurance. Ferguson's lawsuit, like similar suits filed recently in several other states, contends that some large hospital chains charge uninsured patients far more than they charge patients whose health care costs are covered by government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, or by private insurance. Hospitals negotiate discounts with the government and insurance companies. Nonprofit hospitals are tax-exempt based on their promises to provide charity care to needy people, according to the lawsuits. Centura Health Corp., the defendant in Ferguson's lawsuit, operates more than a dozen hospitals in Colorado. Centura spokeswoman Laura Wegscheid said company officials still were reviewing the lawsuit Tuesday and could not comment on it. Ferguson said Centura charged him $66,900 for a six-day stay at its St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver last December. He said he went to the hospital with severe breathing difficulties, was told he had pneumonia and then was told he had heart trouble. He said the hospital would have charged a patient with private insurance about $9,000, and a patient covered by Medicare about $8,000, for the same care.
Those figures come from a Los Angeles-based advocacy group called Consejo de Latinos Unidos and its executive director, K.B. Forbes, Ferguson said. Forbes and the group have accused other large hospital chains in the United States of gouging uninsured patients. Ferguson said he made one payment on his $66,900 hospital bill before he learned on the Internet about Forbes, Consejo de Latinos Unidos and the allegations of overcharging. He said Centura has rejected his offer to pay what a Medicare or private insurance patient would be charged, plus 30 percent. "They keep saying, 'Come talk to our counselor about charity,' " Ferguson said, "and I keep writing back, 'I don't want your charity.' "This is the whole thing," he said. "I don't need their charity, nor would anybody else if they weren't overcharging so much. "It really frosts me that this is a religious organization." Centura's sponsors are Catholic Health Initiatives and Adventist Health System. Ferguson's lawsuit was filed late Monday by several Alabama-based lawyers, including Archie C. Lamb Jr., a class-action specialist who is part of a consortium of lawyers filing suits against large health care corporations. Another lawyer involved in the cases, Richard Scruggs of Pennsylvania, said in a news release Tuesday that lawsuits similar to Ferguson's were filed this week in Arizona, Illinois, Missouri and Texas. Suits previously were filed in another 13 states, Scruggs said.
Hospitals in Mississippi and Four Other States Named in Federal Lawsuit Thursday, July 8, 2004 Associated Press
Health Inc. and St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital were named in the suit.
Six more nonprofit hospitals were named Wednesday in federal classaction lawsuits that allege the hospitals inflated the extent of their charity care while using strong-arm tactics to obtain payments from uninsured patients.
Barry Plunkett, St. Dominic's senior vice president, said hospital officials have not had time to thoroughly review the lawsuit. He said hospital officials need time to review the suit and see which numbers could have been taken out of context.
The latest round of suits filed in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey and Oklahoma brings the total number of hospitals named to 27 in 15 states.
"In our books, practice, and our hearts, we know we practice good medicine and fairly," Plunkett said.
“The lawsuits charge the defendants with requiring their uninsured patients to pay unfair and unreasonable health care prices that are far in excess of the discounted amounts accepted by these same defendants from their insured patients,” attorney Richard Scruggs of Oxford said in an e-mail sent to The Associated Press Wednesday. Primarily, the suits claim the hospitals failed to provide charitable medical care to poor patients in exchange for enjoying tax exemptions. The lawsuits represent only one side of a legal argument. Scruggs has said the hospitals are amassing vast fortunes at the expense of those who can't afford high health care prices while operating more like forprofit businesses than not-for-profits. Scruggs claims that in some cases, such as in Mississippi, large investment losses at health care systems have obscured the reality that the hospitals themselves are operating at a profit. St. Dominic Health Services of Jackson reported investment losses of almost $31.3 million in 2002, while the hospital itself reported a profit of over $7.2 million in the same period, Scruggs said, citing IRS filings. St. Dominic reported over $187 million in total cash and investments at the end of 2002, according to Scruggs. Both St. Dominic
The class-action lawsuits filed Wednesday also name Lee Memorial Health Systems, Florida Hospital Healthcare System Inc. and Florida Hospital and Adventist Health Systems, all in Florida. In Georgia, the Medical College of Georgia was named. A suit was filed against Integris Health Systems in Oklahoma. The American Hospital Association is named as a conspirator in all of the cases. The suits claim the AHA, the industry's trade association, provides substantial advice to the nonprofit hospitals on billing and collection practices and other aspects of hospital operations. AHA spokeswoman Alicia Mitchell has called the lawsuits "baseless and misdirected." The lawsuits claim the hospitals used "creative" accounting practices to "grossly distort the small amount of charity care they provide to uninsured patients." Scruggs has said the complaint has been brought by a group of lawyers from law firms across the country, many of whom have worked together in the tobacco litigation cases. Scruggs made his fortune suing asbestos companies before he made millions suing the tobacco industry. In the past, Scruggs said he expected to earn about $844 million from tobacco lawsuits, including $366 million in fees from a Mississippi suit.
the eternal gospel herald — volume 4, no. 1 —continued form page 1
irrevocably changed his public image. "I can't go back, nor do I want to," he said. "I will probably endorse more candidates. This is a new day. I just feel a real need to make use of this visibility." He said that despite initial concerns, his political activities did not appear to have diverted donations from Focus on the Family. He created a sister lobbying organization during the last election, and the two organizations' combined budgets grew to a projected $146 million in 2004, from about $130 million in 2003, with a target of $170 million for 2005. Dr. Dobson said he was prepared for some disappointments from Mr. Bush. For example, he said, when the president says the country is not ready to overturn the Supreme Court precedents supporting abortion rights, "it bothers me a lot." But Dr. Dobson said he was confident that the president
would appoint socially conservative nominees for the courts. He said of Mr. Bush, "He does not take the bully pulpit and use it effectively." He added, "But when the chips are down, he does the right thing." Dr. Dobson said he was concentrating his political activities mainly on the court. "The next battle will be over the replacement for Rehnquist," he said, referring to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who is being treated for thyroid cancer. "That is not something we can just yawn about." He said he was hoping that Mr. Daschle's defeat would scare other Democrats. Dr. Dobson said he had been working for Mr. Daschle's defeat since August 2003, when he attended a rally to support Roy S. Moore, then chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, in his unsuccessful legal battle to keep a monument to the Ten Commandments in his courthouse. The crowd's reaction demonstrated the depth of popular resentment of liberal court decisions, Dr. Dobson said.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Matthew 24:33
The number of people believed to have perished in December's 2004 tsunamis stood at 273,435, more than two months after the disaster. The earthquake measured 9.0, making it the largest quake worldwide in four decades.
On January 2, 2005, Canada confirmed its second case of mad cow disease, just days after the United States said it planned to reopen its border to Canadian beef.
During the months of February and March 2005, the daily newspaper’s headlines reported major violent clashes between police and protesters in Beirut, Lebanon; Mexico City, Mexico; La Paz, Bolivia; Gijon, Spain; Istanbul, Turkey; Bratislava, Slovakia; Seoul, Korea; Hebron, Palestine; Mainz, Germany; Beijing, China; Brussels, Belgium; Togo, West Africa; and in the nations of Cambodia, Bangladesh, Kashmir, and Nepal. Violent prison riots were reported in Dominican Republic, Lima, Peru, and Cordoba, Argentina. Deaths were reported in many of these incidents.
Fifteen tropical storms formed in the North Atlantic during the 2004 hurricane season. Three of these became hurricanes and six became major hurricanes causing death and destruction.
A series of massive rain storms caused flooding, mudslides, destruction, tornadoes, downed power lines, and death in California. This is a scene of a massive mudslide that buried homes in La Conchita, California on January 11, 2005.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome [SARS], the mystery illness that was first identified in Asia appears to be continuing to spread, both in the United States and elsewhere, federal health authorities have stated.
The bird flu outbreak in Asia has prompted a ban on chicken imports. Recently, the virus has killed five people in Vietnam.
the eternal gospel herald — volume 4, no. 1
oppression. No cry of suffering is unheard by Him. Those who today are scheming to obtain more and more money, putting in operation plans that mean to the poor starvation, will in the last great day stand face to face with their deeds of oppression and injustice.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, p. 57.
—continued from page 1
How many missionary workers could be sent throughout the world if these funds were invested for the Lord’s work? How many people would benefit from the true medical missionary work? How many Earth’s Final Warning messages containing the truth for this hour could be placed so that the world could be warned, Christ can come, and we can finally go home and inherit our true riches!
No doubt the hearts of men are clinging to this world’s goods as if the earth with all its glory was never going to pass away. “If every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might ere this have heard the message of warning. But the The Moneychangers work is years behind. While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march upon us.” Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 29. Much greed and selfishness permeated the Jewish temple in the days of Christ. Jewish and non-Jewish pilgrims from all over the world would Because non-profit organizations are not required to disclose their investcome to Jerusalem to seek after God during Passover time at the Temple. ment portfolios, it is almost impossible to know the extent of their losses Once they arrived, the foreigners would have to deal with the moneychang- due to the accounting improprieties in the securities market when major corers. Since there was no acceptance of foreign money, the moneychangers porations file for bankruptcy. would either sell “temple coinage” at a very high rate of exchange plus a fee for their services, or sell sacrificial animals at highly inflated prices. With Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, and a host of other companies that have recently over a million pilgrims flocking the Temple during Passover, the money- experienced a financial fallout are just a collection of assets owned by changers would cash in on and overcharge the worshipers. The priests also shareholders and managed by executives [most corporations are created this greatly profited from the moneychangers. way]. In between the shareholders and executives are the stockbrokers and day traders that buy and sell portions of the company. We see just a “Every Jew was required to pay yearly a half shekel as ‘a ransom for his glimpse of the greed, the selfishness, and the conflicts that exist between soul;’ and the money thus collected was used for the support of the temple. these complex relationships when the inner workings are brought to light in Ex. 30:12-16. Besides this, large sums were brought as freewill offerings, to federal court systems through lawsuits. be deposited in the temple treasury. And it was required that all foreign coin should be changed for a coin called the temple shekel, which was accepted For example, the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, for the service of the sanctuary. The money changing gave opportunity for D.C. initiated a lawsuit [Litigation Release No. 15307 / March 26, 1997] fraud and extortion, and it had grown into a disgraceful traffic, which against David I. Namer, a financial advisor based in Memphis, Tennessee. was a source of revenue to the priests.” Desire of Ages p. 155. He was accused of selling fraudulent notes from a corporation called Northstar Leasing. These notes were not insured and were sold to hundreds of When Jesus arrived, He “overthrew the tables of the moneychangers” (Mark investors across this nation. He was convicted in August 20, 2002 of 93 11:15) and called the temple a den of thieves and a house of merchandise. felony counts for securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. One of his victims was the General Conference of Seventh-day The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not immune from this practice and has Adventists. In the 37-page indictment, David I. Namer’s overt acts of fraud its own stake in securities. In the 2002 Annual Report given by the General #134 states: “Between on or about May 31, 1996 and August 6, 1996, Conference’s Treasurer, we see how carefully the churches are watching the DAVID I. NAMER caused the General Conference of Seventh Day Adworld markets in order to assess the holding they have invested there: ventists to purchase $2,500,000 in Northstar notes.” “As of the end of August, GC investments totaled $82.6 million. Of this approximately $16.8 million is in stocks that would generally track with the Standard & Poor 500 index. To help the delegates perceive the impact of the stock market...one point change in the S&P 500 stock index means approximately a $20,000 change to the value of the GC's investments. So far there has been a $6 million decline.” —2002 Annual Council Report by GC Treasurer Robert Lemon “GC Faces Major Financial Challenges” paragraph 6 [http://www.adventistreview.org/2002-1541/council4.html].
“Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” Job 14:4. Because the hearts of men are filled with selfishness and greed, we should not be at all surprised when the church is defrauded by the world in business. In fact, what business does the church have in owning shares of worldly corporations that are open on the Lord’s day and violate God’s commandments? What business does God’s church have with the merchants of the world if not to preach the three angels’ messages? God says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house.” Mal. 3:10
In other words, the church is closely watching the markets because when the S&P 500 goes up one point the church makes $20,000. If it goes down 10 points the church looses $200,000 and so on. Just remember this the time that you put money in the offering plates on Sabbath. Millions of those dollars are being diverted to worldly businesses that are open on the Sabbath— so that those offerings can be multiplied though secular commerce.
In Where? The Lord says in “My [mine] house,” and not into worldly businesses. Remember this the next time you give your tithes and offerings: millions of those dollars are being diverted to worldly business in order to make profit. In Amos 8:5-6 we read about how the children of Israel couldn’t wait until the Sabbath was over so that they could once again engage in buying and selling. The Lord’s response is very fearful: “The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. Shall not the land tremble for this.” Amos 8:7-8. Yet today Adventists don’t have to wait for the Sabbath to be over because they now own shares of worldly businesses that can make them money during the Sabbath! “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Isa. 55:8.
It’s important to note that these figures do not include any securities owned or invested by the individual conferences from each division, nor the securities owned by Adventist health institutions, schools, fraternal organizations, associations, subsidiaries, charities, special ministry, and so on. Every department has its own investment portfolios. How large are these tax-free investments? No one knows. It is almost impossible for any one person, including church officials, to find out just how much money Seventh-day Adventist institutions have invested in securities because of the diversity of names used to conceal church portfolios. It is a common practice for organizations and individuals to put their investment holdings under different names. Thousands of accounts handled by banks have code names that even expert investigators have often been frustrated in trying to establish identities. Notice Sister White’s counsel on this subject with regards to the Lord’s money: “My brother, will you make an investment to secure the heavenly pearl of great price?...This is mining stock, in which you may invest without running a risk of disappointment. But, my dear friend, we have not a dollar of the Lord's money to invest in mining enterprises in this world.” Counsels on Stewardship, p. 243. “The church cannot measure herself by the world...” Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 83. If God, through His prophet, stated that not even “a dollar” of His money should be invested in worldly enterprises, why then should we risk millions of dollars of God’s money in the secular markets of finance? To seek a profit? Has God run out of money? Is the church’s financial success dependent upon the financial success of the world? Are we going to give all our profit earnings to Jesus as a gift when He returns the second time?
In Jeremiah’s day (Jeremiah 17:20-27) one of the reasons for Israel’s captivity in Babylon was for breaking the Sabbath day. “If the admonitions to obey the Lord God of their fathers and to hallow His Sabbath day were not heeded, the city and its palaces would be utterly destroyed by fire.” Prophets and Kings, pp. 412-413. Is it possible that we are getting ready to become captive by Spiritual Babylon today for violating the Lord’s Sabbath day? Despite the economic profit, do we really secure the Lord’s blessing by profiting from those who violate the Sabbath day, or by partnering with them? The desire to get rich quickly through high-risk investing drowns out the biblical voice that counsels us to work hard like the humble ant, which despite its insect intelligence, it has the intellect to sustain itself for future needs. “Go to the ant...consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” Prov. 6:6-8. Matthew recorded Jesus’ parable [Matt. 25:14-30] of the talents primarily to illustrate that the leaders of Israel would be held accountable to God for their stewardship of the nation. Many used this parable to justify investing, but notice, he uses this as an illustration for Spiritual Investments. The punishment that the wicked steward received implies that doing nothing is as bad as thievery or reckless waste. Yet the master in the parable applauded the other two stewards for their faithfulness. We must remember that God remains the owner, and that His church’s talents must be put to work in His kingdom. —The Editors
the eternal gospel herald — volume 4, no. 1
Dear Brother Perez, On behalf of BeLetters rean Company Church, we are so dePope Tells Media They “Have Enormous lighted to have received your Earth’s Final Warning
Potential for Promoting Peace”
publication today! We are co-laborers together in this work, which will hopefully take a bit of pressure off you. It was a pleasure having you stay with us when VATICAN CITY, Vatican, January 24—Catholic News Agency (CNA) The Pope made you spoke here in Indianapolis. Teresa and I consider public today his message for the 39th Day of Social Communications which is due to be you our brother and friend. Jesus made it clear that our held on May 8, 2005, on the theme: "The Communications Media: at the service of under“true friends” are those who are about the work and will standing among peoples." of the Father. God bless, Sincerely, Elder J. R. Ryder, Indiana. The event will be held on the Feast of St. Francis of Sales, patron saint of journalists. Faithful Eternal Gospel Workers: Hello from cold, winExtracts from the message - which was published in Italian, English, French, German, try Indiana. I’m so glad Spring is right around the corSpanish and Portuguese - are given below: ner. Thank you so much for the newsletter and for keeping us aware of world events. This is not a good "The theme chosen for the 2005 World Communications Day - "The Communications time to be found unaware. We are praying for your Media: at the service of understanding among peoples" - addresses an urgent need: to procontinued faithfulness. Please pray for us. Jack & mote the unity of the human family." Barb Loudermilk, Indiana. "One important way of achieving this end is through education. The media can teach bilDear Pastor Perez: The Eternal Gospel Herald really is lions of people about other parts of the world and other cultures. ... Accurate knowledge a voice that needs to be heard. I remember just a few promotes understanding, dispels prejudice, and awakens the desire to learn more. ..." years ago the denomination had you in court suing you over the name “Seventh-day Adventist.” Now I am When others are portrayed in hostile terms, seeds of conflict are sown. ... Instead of hearing that the denomination has made a complete building unity and understanding, the media can be used to demonize other social, ethabout face! They are considering to drop the name nic and religious groups, fomenting fear and hatred." “Seventh-day” and we only retain “Adventist.” Some seem to believe that they may vote on it at the General Those responsible for the style and content of what is communicated have a grave duty Conference Session in St. Louis. Continue the good to ensure that this does not happen. Indeed, the media have enormous potential for prowork with your billboards. Keep working and praying. moting peace and building bridges between peoples." Bill Allen, Alabama. "If such a contribution to peace-making is one of the significant ways the media can bring Dear Sirs, I read a recent issue of The Eternal Gospel people together, its influence in favor of the swift mobilization of aid in response to natuHerald. I like it very much. I believe that the truths that ral disasters is another." you bring out need to come to light everywhere, regardless of any consequences. I had heard of the word It was heartening to see how quickly the international community responded to the recent “proselytism” but I didn’t understand it until I read tsunami that claimed countless victims." about it in your newsletter. Now I understand that if the church doesn’t want to engage in “proselytism” then it "The Second Vatican Council reminded us: 'If the media are to be correctly employed, it should also give up the name Seventh-day Adventist, is essential that all who use them know the principles of the moral order and apply them because it would have become like the other apostate faithfully." worldly churches. When I give a Bible study, my purpose is to show them the truth and help to come out of Babylon. If we are going to leave people in darkness, then why are we called to be the light of the world? Please continue with your publication. Someone has to give a warning message to this world in confusion [Babylon]. Please send me five extra copies of your issue to my address. May God bless you in your work, Marina Romero, Puerto Rico. VATICAN CITY, JAN 21, 2005—Vatican Information Service (VIS) This morning, the Pope received members and counselors of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Eternal Gospel Church, Please send me additional inforwho are participating in their plenary session on the theme: "Sunday Mass, center of mation on the changing of the Sabbath day to Sunday. Christian life in Latin America." Thank you for the knowledge. Archie Porter, Kentucky. "Participation in Sunday Mass," said the Pope, "is not only an important obligation, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 1389) makes quite clear, but above all a profound Dear Rafael Perez, Just wanted to say thanks for your need of each faithful individual. It is not possible to experience faith without participating publication. I love the one you sent me several months regularly in Sunday Mass: the sacrifice of redemption, the shared banquet of the Word of ago entitled, “New Adventist Billboards” Dropping the God and of the Bread of the Eucharist, heart of Christian life." Distinctiveness of our message. The message in your publication is so timely and true and the way you conJohn Paul II underlined the "renewed efforts" by pastors of the Church to "raise vey it is sharper than a two edged sword. The SDA awareness of the centrality of Sunday in the ecclesial and social life of the men and Church is truly yielding our peculiar and fearful warnwomen of today...To this end it is necessary to concentrate efforts on a better and more ing message in order to be in the good graces of a world careful education and catechesis of the faithful about the Eucharist, and to ensure that the lost in sin. I was really surprised that you were actually celebration is dignified and decorous, so that it inspires true respect and authentic piety in bold enough to name the names of those that have such the face of the greatness of the Eucharistic mystery." a high profession of faith and yet are embracing a peace and safety message, and are turning their backs on the "Sunday Mass," he went on, "must be correctly prepared by the celebrant, with a spiritual present truth. I believe that the listed names and organidisposition which is then revealed in his words and gestures, just as the homily must be zations have slipped “unconsciously into the work in prepared in an appropriate way." On this subject, the Pope referred to the importance of Satan’s lines.” choosing and preparing "the hymns, symbols and other elements that enrich the liturgy, always showing due respect for established norms, taking advantage of all the spiritual “I would caution all believers to learn to maintain a and pastoral richness of the Roman Missal and the directives proposed by the Congrega- godly jealousy over yourselves, lest Satan shall steal tion for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments." your heart away from God and you slip unconsciously into work in Satan’s lines, without perceiving that you The Holy Father concluded by asking the bishops, in collaboration with priests, religious have changed leaders, and be found in the treacherous and faithful, to give "the maximum commitment to reflecting on and deepening this essen- power of a tyrant.” Selected Messages, vol. 3, p. 19. tial dimension of the sacramental life of the Church," and to work "to awaken an ever greater love for the Mystery of the Eucharist in their dioceses." Thank you for your boldness in this time of universal cowardice. John Vega, California.
Rediscover and Fully Experience Sunday as the Lord’s Day
the eternal gospel herald â€” volume 4, no. 1
Bush Goes to Church at the Start of Inauguration Day
Associated Press January 20, 2005 President Bush and his family have made the short trek from the White House to St. John's Episcopal Church for a prayer service just ahead of his inauguration. The service is the first official inaugural event on a day that will include his swearingin, a parade from the Capitol to the White House and a slew of inaugural balls. He was joined at the church by family members, aides and friends. Beforehand, the president started the last day of his first term with a family breakfast. Already, supporters and protesters are lining the parade route, trying to make sure they get a glimpse of the president as he returns to the White House after the swearing-in U.S. President George W. Bush and first lady Laura ceremony. leaving St. John's Episcopal Church with Rev. Luis Leon, in Washington January 20, 2005.
Faithful Bush Calls on God's Blessings
a 19th-century hymn composed by Daniel Roberts.
THE WASHINGTON TIMES January 21, 2005 By Julia Duin President Bush mixed images of the Almighty as a just ruler, as a judge, and as a freedom-loving deity in a speech that surpassed his 2001 inaugural address in references to God. Barely one minute into the 21-minute discourse, he said, "every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of heaven and earth." A few minutes later, he addressed dictators with a quote from Abraham Lincoln: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it." Mr. Bush's spiritual adviser, the Rev. Kirbyjon H. Caldwell of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, gave the benediction. "Respecting persons of all faiths," the clergyman said, "I humbly submit this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ." Mr. Caldwell prayed in the name of Jesus Christ four years ago during the benediction.
Mr. Bush swore his oath of office on the family Bible, which his father used during his 1989 inauguration ceremony, ending with "So help me God," a phrase added by former President George President George W. Bush, with one hand on the Bible, W a s h i n g t o n . takes the Oath of Office from Supreme Court Justice Holding the Bi- William Rehnquist during Inauguration ceremonies on ble was Su- Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20. 2005. preme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who on Wednesday denied without comment California atheist Michael Newdow's lawsuit to prevent clergyled inaugural prayers.
The U.S. Marine Band followed up with "God of Our Fathers,"
Bush Begins Second Term With Prayer Service Associated Press January 21, 2005
President Bush is starting the first full day of his second term by attending a prayer service at Washington's National Cathedral. The hour-long ceremony is the last official event of his inauguration, which was steeped in religious overtones. President Bush attended a similar service before his swearing-in yesterday and made references to God in his inaugural address. This mornU.S. President George W. Bush ing's event will include pastors was joined by first lady Laura from different faiths and from Bush, Vice President Richard different regions of the country. Cheney, and his wife, Lynne. Evangelist Billy Graham will be among those in the pulpit. This will be Graham's eighth inaugural prayer service, though he did miss the last one due to illness.
Billy Graham (L) is joined by Roman Catholic Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore (C) and Orthodox Church of America Archbishop of Washington, Metropolitan Herman, during the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service in Washington, January 21, 2005.