Thursday, May 01, 2008

Methodist Conference rejects Bush Presidential Library; Passes resolution to South Central Jurisdiction Conference

United Methodist Conference - South Central Jurisdiction Conference - April 28, 2008
Methodist Conference votes against the Bush Presidential Library
A report on the Methodist Church General Conference web page shows the
Conference has voted to reject the Bush Presidential Library at SMU -
by vote of 855 to 20. The vote of 844 to 20 by the Methodist Church General Conference referred the resolution, below, to the "South Central Jurisdictional
Conference." This will be held July 16-19, 2008, at the Anatole Hotel
in Dallas. We understand there has NOT been a final decision on the
church's position on the Bush Library.

Here is a list of Delegates who will vote on the resolution:

From the General Conference

SMU Bush Presidential Library Rejection (80089-MH-NonDis)

I hereby petition the UMC General Conference to prevent leasing,
selling, or otherwise participating in or supporting the presidential
library for George W. Bush at Southern Methodist University.


We should support separation of church and state and if the Bush
library goes on the SMU campus or property it will appear to the
country and the world as an endorsement of that president by the
United Methodist Church. Texas is a big state; surely there are
other venues...

Vote on Main Motion
This motion was Adopted, with 844 votes for and 20 votes against.

SMU Bush Presidential Library Rejection (80089-MH-NonDis)*
*Petition Status: Calendar Item
*Petition Text: Submitted Text ADCA p. 1493
*References: Non-disciplinary
*Committee: Ministry and Higher Education
*Financial Implications: No
*Submitted by: Diane Smock, Greenville, SC, USA

SMU Bush Presidential Library Rejection (MH171-NonDis-R)
Calendar Item Status:

* Committee Voted (Printed in DCA p. 2260)
Calendar Item No: 1185
*Petitions on Calendar: 80089
Consent Calendar: Calendar D04
Committee Motion: Motion to Refer
Refer to: South Central Jurisdictional Conference
Committee Vote:

*For: 51
*Against: 5
*Not Voting: 1
Vote Date and Time: 4/28/2008 1:30 PM

Last Vote Action: Vote on Main Motion
This motion was *Adopted*, with 844 votes for and 20 votes against.

*Plenary Motions: 4/30/2008 9:39 AM*
/Vote on Main Motion/ *ADOPTED* 844-20
Report by Tom Blackwell

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The United Methodist Church, Torture and President Bush
On April 11, three days after Southern Methodist University President R. Gerald Turner sent a letter to all the delegates to the South Central Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) extolling the supposed financial advantages and other virtues of the Bush library and partisan think-tank, George W. Bush announced to the media that he has been deeply involved from the beginning in the details of the use of torture that he authorized.
ABC News reported: “President Bush says he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details about how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency.” According to White House sources, the discussions about torture techniques were so detailed that some of the “interrogation sessions were almost choreographed” (1-2).
A month earlier, on March 8, Bush vetoed legislation banning waterboarding and other methods of torture used by government employees. The legislation would have limited CIA agents to 19 less-aggressive tactics outlined in the U.S. Army field manual. The president stated that the government “needs to use tougher methods than the U.S. military to wrest information from terrorism suspects” (3). It has been highly documented that at least 19 prisoners have been tortured to death by the U.S. military (4).
Waterboarding has a long and sickening history. It was used as a means of torture and coerced baptism during the Protestant Reformation and Spanish Inquisition to convert Jews, Mennonites, witches, and other suspected heretics. It consists of immobilizing an individual on his or her back with the head inclined downward and pouring water over the face to force the inhalation of water into the lungs. As the victim gags and chokes, the terror of imminent death is pervasive.
Torture is a crime against humanity and a violation of every human rights treaty in existence. It represents a betrayal of the deepest values of the UMC that founded and built SMU. In the supposedly “less enlightened” 18th century, John Wesley explicitly preached against the torture of prisoners of war:

War itself is justifiable only on principles of self-preservation: Therefore it gives us no right over prisoners, but to hinder their hurting us by confining them. Much less can it give a right to torture, or kill, or even to enslave an enemy when the war is over (5).

Bush, who claims to be a “proud Methodist,” shows no sign of contrition or regret or repentance for his unchristian behavior. To the contrary, he continues to try to justify himself and protect those in our government who have used and continue to use torture. Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Nazi Germany rightly called the cowardliness of Christians to make evil-doers accountable for their wicked deeds “cheap grace.” Building a monument to this torturer-in-chief on a UMC campus to “celebrate this great president, celebrate his accomplishments” (6) is a defilement of our church that will permanently damage our credibility to share the good news of Jesus Christ.




(4) Oath Betrayed: Military Medicine and the War on Terror by Steven H. Miles


(6) Statement by Don Evans, the Chair and a chief fundraiser for the George W. Bush foundation on Feb. 22, 2008, New York Times

Andrew J. Weaver, Ph.D., is a United Methodist minister and research psychologist living in New York City. He is a graduate of The Perkins School of Theology, SMU. He has co-authored 14 books including: Counseling Survivors of Traumatic Events (Abingdon, 2003) and Reflections on Grief and the Spiritual Journey (Abingdon, 2005).

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