by Jacqueline G. Tagalogon | WMC Newswriter
In a significant display of support for freedom of religious expression, the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Western Mindanao recently strengthened its efforts to protect the rights of students who seek exemption from Saturday school classes and activities. With the collaboration of the MAS-AMICUS movement of Adventist students, the church successfully advocated for the rights of Joy D. Eniego and her fellow Adventist students, who were facing opposition from their subject instructor. With the intervention of WMC PARL Director Pastor Abel Vergara, the students were empowered to stand up for their religious rights as the church sent letters to the school, reminding them of the legalities involved.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church believes in observing the Sabbath on Saturdays as a core religious practice. This adherence to religious tradition often presents challenges for Adventist students who face conflicts with their academic commitments. However, in a remarkable display of unity and support, the recent actions of the Western Mindanao Conference and the MAS-AMICUS movement have highlighted the importance of upholding religious freedom for students.
The Threatening Situation
Joy D. Eniego and her fellow Adventist students found themselves in a difficult situation when their subject instructor allegedly threatened them with the choices of attending Saturday classes or dropping out. This dilemma put their religious beliefs in direct conflict with their desire for education, forcing them to choose between their faith and their academic pursuits.
The Role of the PARL Director
Fortunately, the intervention of WMC PARL Director Pastor Abel Vergara was instrumental in empowering the students to assert their religious rights. Recognizing the significance of the matter, he took immediate action by sending letters on behalf of the church to the school. These letters served as reminders to school authorities about the fundamental principles of religious freedom enshrined in the law.
The Support of the Seventh Day Adventist Church
The Seventh Day Adventist Church has always been a staunch advocate for freedom of religious expression. With their unwavering support and guidance, students like Joy D. Eniego and her schoolmates were motivated to stand up for their beliefs and exercise their rights. The church’s commitment to protecting religious liberty has once again been demonstrated through its proactive measures.
Implications and Conclusion
The recent incident involving the Adventist students highlights the ongoing challenges faced by individuals who seek to balance their religious beliefs with their educational pursuits. The Western Mindanao Conference and the MAS-AMICUS movement have emerged as beacons of hope, showcasing the collective strength and unity of their members. By utilizing legal means and asserting their rights, the students were successful in securing religious freedom within their academic setting.
It is crucial for educational institutions to recognize and accommodate the diverse religious beliefs of their students. The collaborative efforts of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, MAS-AMICUS, and the intervention of WMC PARL Director Pastor Abel Vergara serve as a reminder of the importance of upholding constitutional rights and respecting the freedom of religious expression.
The brave actions of Joy D. Eniego and her fellow Adventist students in standing up for their religious rights serve as an inspiring example for other students facing similar challenges. Their steadfast commitment to observing the Sabbath and their determination to find a balance between their faith and education highlight the importance of advocating for religious freedom within academic settings. By standing firm in their beliefs, these students are setting a precedent for others, encouraging them to assert their own religious rights and fostering a culture of respect and understanding within schools. Their courageous stance serves as a reminder that everyone has the right to practice their religion freely, without facing discrimination or obstacles in their educational journey.
Through this incident, Western Mindanao Conference has set an inspiring example, demonstrating the positive outcomes that can be achieved through dialogue, understanding, and a commitment to religious liberty.
Photo by Hope Channel Western Mindanao