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UM Bishops Demand Bush Repent For Violating UM Doctrine By Liberating Iraqi People

News Release From Institute on Religion and Democracy
April 15, 2003

Absurdity: Methodist Officials Demand President Bush "Repent" for his Policies

Several United Methodist bishops and the head of the United Methodist Church's Washington lobby office have fiercely denounced fellow United Methodist George W. Bush for contributing to "spiritual forces of wickedness."

"These United Methodist officials are effectively telling the president he is not a good Christian because his policies do not match their own left-wing beliefs," commented Mark Tooley, who directs the IRD's United Methodist committee.

The United Methodist officials signed a full-page ad in the April 5 edition of Christian Century magazine. Entitled "A Prophetic Epistle from United Methodists Calling Our Brother George W. Bush to Repent," the ad calls for Bush to "repent from domestic and foreign policies that are incompatible with the teaching and example of Christ."

These church officials accused Bush of "threatening the very earth and all of its inhabitants with open discussion of the use of nuclear weapons." It also accused him of promoting "redemptive violence" in his policy towards the "sovereign nation of Iraq." Additionally, it claimed that Bush's domestic policy is "incongruent with Jesus' teaching" and falls short of the compassion of which Jesus spoke, despite Bush's claim to be a "compassionate conservative."

The officials asked Bush to meet with bishops of the United Methodist Church, whom Bush has declined to see. "May our call to repentance speak to your conscience," the ad concluded.

"Bush is supposedly a bad Christian and a bad Methodist because, like most Methodists, he does not agree with these church officials in their equation of compassion with a large federal welfare state and in their opposition to a strong military defense for America," Tooley responded.

"More distressingly, these church officials equate their brand of politics with Christianity, and assume that political disagreement is a sign of spiritual apostasy. This is nonsense," Tooley remarked. "The signers of this ad are hardly symbols of strong, mainstream United Methodist beliefs."

As examples, Tooley pointed out the ad signer Bishop Joe Sprague denies that Jesus Christ is eternally divine, ad signer Bishop Melvin Talbert has endorsed same-sex "marriage," and Board of Church and Society General Secretary Jim Winkler is a pacifist.

The United Methodist Church affirms Christ's full deity, opposes same-sex unions, and is not a pacifist. "Yet these church officials claim it is President Bush who is violating his own church's teachings," Tooley observed.



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