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Military UM's Leave Denomination Because Of Anti-American Hate Rhetoric From Church Leaders

Taken From: FreeRepublic.com "A Conservative News Forum"

The Church and the Battle to Remove Hussein
Northern Illinois Conference - United Methodist Church ^ | 3/22/2003 | Gregg Parker
Posted on 03/21/2003 11:31 PM PST by meisterbrewer

After a series of anti-war articles in our church weekly that went beyond bad taste into disrespect, my wife and I made the difficult decision to leave our church. Below is my letter to the leadership. The church is the United Methodist Church of Northern Illinois. I didn't post the specific article that came out in our weekly newspaper, but suffice to say that it was riddled with anti-Bush, anti-American diatribe that rivaled the worst of the San Francisco lot. It even included ad hominem attacks against American for slavery, racism, Bush Sr., Cheney, and just about anything else the author could think of.

Pastor [Donald F. Guest],

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that Mary and I intend to terminate our membership with the First United Methodist Church. I have grown increasingly disturbed by the political statements being made by the leadership in the FUMC over the last few months. While I respect the rights of others to protest our nation's actions against Iraq, I do not wish to belong to an organization that assumes it can speak for me, while insulting my religious and political beliefs at the same time. I am, or course, referring to the articles printed in the latest issue of the Northern Illinois Reporter.

In particular, I found the article written by [Donald F. Guest ] filled with hate-mongering insults and anti-American dribble. I believe such an article does not belong in a professional religious publication. When I read Dr. [Donald F. Guest ]'s article, I thought I was reading the latest Democratic National Committee press release, not the opinions of a religious leader in my church.

I do not intend to respond in this email to the specific insults and allegations leveled by Dr. [Donald F. Guest ], but I will provide a few links at the bottom of this email that sum up why I believe we, as Christians, should actually be SUPPORTING military action to remove Hussein, not attacking those who are doing the "dirty work."

Independent evidence (from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, The United Nations Human Rights Council) indicates we are encountering the same type of evil in Iraq that we suffered under in the late 1930's, when Hitler was beginning his campaign to rid the world of the Jews and anyone else that stood in his way. Many chose to ignore the threat of Hitler in the late 1930's, even going so far as to demand the disarmament of European nations while Hitler built his armies. The "enlightened" in the United States and Great Britain took the position that as long as their countries weren't directly threatened, they shouldn't confront Hitler. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, in an effort to achieve "peace in our time," negotiated away the Sudetenland to appease Hitler and avoid a war. Many churches argued against the confrontation of Hitler because of the potential loss of life that would come from a war. Shame on them. While its true that the Allied Forces eventually ended Hitler's reign of terror, I often wonder how many thousands, nay millions, may have been saved if we'd had the courage to enter the war earlier.

We now find ourselves in the same situation today when we look to Iraq. We know, because every human rights organization on the planet tells us so, that Hussein is committing unspeakable acts of terror against his people. How dare we stand by and allow this to go on simply because he is not committing them against Americans. If we ignore the plight of the innocent Iraqis who suffer under Hussein, simply because it doesn't affect us directly, what does that say about us as a people and a as a nation? If we argue for negotiations, like Chamberlain in 1938, how many more will die while we allow Hussein to continue his rule?

I am reminded of our church's recent activities during Black History month. How can we celebrate the liberation of African Americans from slavery while condemning those who would liberate an entire country from the same type of atrocities, and say it is in the name of "peace?"

I am not saying that I want our government to interfere in every country that doesn't practice our form of government. Nor do I believe we can police the world alone. But lets face it, somebody has to do it, and the United Nations has abrogated its responsibilities as a World body. How else can one explain the UN kicking the United States off the Human Rights Council while placing Moamar Khadafy of Libya in charge of the committee.

I believe we as Christians should demand our government stand up for all people in the world, wherever they live, whatever their color, whatever religion they follow. I am not suggesting we celebrate war or aggression, or even support it. As a church, we must set an example of how peaceful people behave. But we must not undermine the effort to free an oppressed people, or arrogantly assume we have the right, by virtue of our religious beliefs, to insult those who do take action against tyrants.

I thank God every day that my family lives in the United States, where we enjoy the greatest riches and the most incredible freedoms that any country in the history of the World has ever offered. As a member of our country's military, I have fought for our way of life. But our country does not exist without a price. Men and women like Mary and me defend the US every day, and without our sacrifices, our country, even the free world, would not exist. I don't want a pat on the back. But I do not think it is too much to ask that my religion not insult me.

Gregg [Parker]

Articles for your consideration:

I just had to post the original letter that precipitated this. I couldn't find it online, so I scanned and OCR'd it. Here it is. From a senior church leader in Chicago, no less.

Dr. Donald F. Guest 's Article

Our obsession with violence will ultimately be our undoing

The violence that we sanction anywhere will ultimately undo us everywhere.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to the United States of America as the "greatest purveyor of violence in the world." All the broken Native American treaties and slaughters, as well as the wholesale lynching and burning of black men, women and children, bear witness to our violent history and nature. No piece of paper, whether a law on the books or a sermon from the pew, has ever stopped America from destroying, murdering, and stealing anything in its path to power.

We want to believe our President. We want to believe Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. But no matter how sincere George W. Bush appears to be and no matter how many times he refers to God and faith and truth and democracy, the reality makes it impossible.

We were told with all certainty by Bush and Powell and Rice that Saddam Hussein has gassed his people, We later found out that those charges were false. Prior to his "State of the Union" address, the President told us that an independent nuclear regulatory commissioned released a report showing that Iraq was close to developing a nuclear bomb. Not only was this not true, but the regulatory commission cited stated that it had never released such a report.

Don't take my word for it. All you have to do is to go to the web page for 60 Minutes or a dozen other national and international news agencies for verification. We want to trust Our leaders, but it is hard to do so when they have blatantly tied with no apology: not even a correction or retraction has been offered.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has warned that if the United States attacks Iraq, it will exceed the World Trade Center bombing as the most barbarous war crime of the 21st century. He alleges that this is about oil and has nothing to do with the evils of Saddam Hussein, nor the wounded pride of the Bush family. But as a nation we (at least 47% of us) seem determined to embrace fiction over fantasy and myths of macho and bravado over the forbearance, humility, love, and patience - the values promoted by the Jesus that Bush so fervently claims to embrace - over inspections and reasoned negotiations. The disrespect that our President has shown Kofi Annan is without parallel. We wonder along with Bishop Tutu if this disdain of the U.N, General Secretary would be as pointed and unapologetic if he were European rather than African. We were recently told conclusive proof exists that Saddam Hussein has definite ties to Al Qaeda. Assuming we are not being lied to again, is this justification to plunge thousands of Iraqi and American children into the bell of modem technological warfare?

It is a known fact that former President George Herbert Walker Bush is a lobbyist for a large Saudi Arabian cartel that is dominated by the Bin Laden family (many former presidents, senators, and congressmen have worked as lobbyists for foreign interests in Washington as a source of income.). Since we know that money does not grow on trees and no one is giving weapons away, Osama must be getting or has gotten some of his money from his family's interests. So should we also place the President's father under house arrest or call for an inspection of the family holdings in Texas or Kennebunkport, Maine?

Newsweek (Feb. 10) reported that even as White House officials scrambled to pull Colin Powell's case together about the latest so,-called intercepts of the National Security Agency, the CIA said it could not confirm the material that Pentagon officials said would be "killer points" for the Secretary of State's presentation. (And we wonder why Harry Belafonte says the things he does about Powell). Newsweek also reported that "the administration has drastically played down nuclear weapons as a threat."

What happened to America's free press and free speech? Why are we not hearing an alternative, voice to this mad rush toward violence from anyone anywhere other than the Church? Thank God for the United Methodist bishops, laity and clergy who are standing against this administration's war madness. If we don't begin to contain the violence that emanates from the White House and the Pentagon, we will never quell the violence in our schools and in our Streets.

On the same weekend as the Columbia disaster, the Rev. Gary L. Curt was savagely beaten in his home as he fought to protect his wife, Marybeth, from the attack of an assailant. We take no pleasure in reporting that this did not occur in urban or suburban Chicago, but far north in the town of Antioch.

The violence we sanction anywhere will ultimately undo us everywhere. It is time for United Methodists to take the call to non-violence and an end to senseless wars seriously, even if we have to proclaim this to the most powerful Caesar to date in the world's history.

By Dr. Donald F. Guest
Superintendent Chicago Southern District

This article was excerpted from the February edition of The Bridge, the Chicago Southern District newsletter.

Chicago Southern District

The Rev. Donald F. Guest

11030 S. Longwood Dr., Chicago, IL 60643
Phone: (773) 298-0944
Fax: (773) 298-0974
E-mail: dguest@umcnic.org
Northern Illinois Conference Offices and Staff Directory


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