Silver Spring, Maryland, USA | Jonathan Gallagher / ANN

Sir James Carlisle, Governor General of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, has called on the Seventh-day Adventist Church worldwide to take “more definite stands on social issues.”

Visiting the Church’s world headquarters on May 10, Carlisle, who is himself an Adventist, said that the Church needed to change from a position of relative silence to one of speaking out more often.

“We have kept silent on some issues about which we need to speak out,” said Carlisle. “On issues of civil rights we have been too quiet-in the United States, South Africa, and elsewhere, for example. We sit on the fence too often.”

That was not to say the Church should become a political organization, Carlisle continued.

“The Adventist Church is not, nor should it ever be, a political organization. But though we promote the principle of the separation of church and state, this should not be used to support inaction against injustice. This is not right. If something is wrong, we should say so. I’m not talking about violent actions like burning down buildings or anything of that sort, but as a Church we need to be more active in confronting wrongs.”

Sir James was appointed Governor General by the Queen of England in 1993 and is the recipient of many awards of distinction, including a knighthood. He makes a direct commitment to social issues in his role as Governor General, setting an example of refusing to serve alcoholic drinks at state receptions as way of highlighting the dangers that alcohol presents to society in Antigua. He is also active in his local church, identifying his faith as a positive contribution to his leadership role in the country.