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Adventist Congressman Unseated

Story by Taashi Rowe
Published 11/7/12

After serving for 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Seventh-day Adventist Congressman Roscoe Bartlett was unseated. Bartlett, a member of the Chesapeake Conference’s  Frederick (Md.) church, represented Maryland’s sixth district since 1993. He was one of two Adventists serving in the U.S. Congress. (Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas congresswoman remains the lone Adventist in the house). Bartlett, who holds a doctoral degree in human physiology, is a graduate of what is now Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md., and a former assistant professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine (Calif.).
 
On his Facebook page, the 86-year-old Republican, said, “It has been my great honor to serve the constituents of the [sixth] district of Maryland for the past 20 years. Although the election did not have the outcome we had hoped for, we can hold our heads high knowing that we have fought for the principles and values we care about.”
 
His comments got 177 likes and several supportive comments from former constituents.
 

 
Young “Voters” Get a Turn
 
At Potomac Conference’s Sligo Adventist School in Takoma Park, Md., the entire school turned out yesterday to participate in mock elections. There were two voting booths set up on stage in the auditorium and students had mock voter registration cards and ballots. Photos of each candidate were posted at the voting booths. At the end of the day, President Barack Obama won by a landslide as 152 Sligo students voted for him over the 43 who selected challenger Governor Mitt Romney.
 
The school also held a mock election four years ago and only a few weeks ago the second-graders participated in another mock election for classroom mayor. Larry Rich, principal, says since the middle-schoolers and the second-graders had already spent some time learning about the political process, they were excited to get to vote. Even though they are too young to vote in the real elections, Rich says, “This was a tangible, formalized way of getting kids involved and experiencing what it’s like to be able to vote and have their voices heard.”
 
Kathy Young, third grade teacher at Chesapeake’s Spencerville Adventist Academy in Spencerville, Md., agreed that it was important for students to get involved in the process. Prior to the election her students created posters encouraging adults to vote. They stood outside before and after school rallying parents to go to the polls.
 
“I enjoyed seeing the impact the third graders’ presence had on those driving in to the school,” said Darlene Rackley, computer science teacher. “The cars slowed and some passengers were even taking pictures of the children and their campaign posters! The students were excited to play an important role in reminding us to exercise our right to vote. Their enthusiasm was contagious!”
 
The students also learned about the issues and had a mock vote. They went into private booths and selected their candidates. In their elections, Governor Romney came out on top, with students selecting him 9-6. When asked if they would be interested in doing this again in the next election, her entire class excitedly yelled, “Yes!”
 
“I am so proud of Garrett for what he has learned about the election and our privilege to vote,” said Tracie Sutton, a parent. “I know Garrett will remember standing in front of his new school cheering and encouraging parents to vote.”
 
Young, who has been a teacher at SAA for 21 years, says having the students participate in these elections this way helps bring to life what they are learning in their social studies books. “It also develops enthusiasm for the political process,” she said. “In the past, our students can't wait for election year and by the time they turn 18, they are excited to vote.”
 
Marylanders Support Other Ballot Issues
 
In Maryland several issues were on the ballots that were of concern to Adventists: same-sex marriage (Question 6), expanding gambling in Prince George’s County (Question 7) and allowing children brought here illegally by their parents to have instate tuition at the state’s community colleges (Question 4). Marylanders voted to support all those measures.
 
Prior to the elections, Anthony Medley, senior pastor at the Allegheny East Conference’s Emmanuel-Brinklow church in Ashton, Md., challenged his members to get involved and vote in a sermon titled “The Politics of Jesus.” While some people may question propriety of Adventists being involved in politics at all, Medley said, “To sign up for Jesus means we have to have an imprint on society.”
 
He also questioned any attempts to legislate morality. He shared his experience talking to people about Question 6 while he waited in line to vote early. “We talked about human rights versus human choice,” Medley recalled. “God respects and values all people. Yes, He made man and woman in the Garden of Eden, but He also gave us choices and made the consequences clear. He said, ‘If you follow Me, there will be blessings, and if you disobey Me, here are the consequences and the curses.’”
 
Medley also encouraged his congregants to listen to others whose views differ from what is stated in the Bible. “If the gospel is going to reach all people, we have got to present the gospel in a way that others are going to hear it,” he said. “And to build consensus does not mean that I compromise my beliefs.”


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