Bush Library Meets Pacifist Aggression

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Despite fervid efforts by mainly old leftist United Methodist clergy and faculty, the George W. Bush Library now is under construction at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas. In March, the George W. Bush Presidential Center hosted a conference on campus to spotlight the plight, and advance, of women in Afghanistan. More recently, an SMU student wrote an open letter to the president in the SMU online newspaper, declaring: “Mr. President, SMU loves you!”  He cited many SMU students who had waited 6 hours in line at a local bookstore for a signing of Bush’s recent book.

The leftist voices who wanted to prevent SMU from enjoying the research benefits of a presidential library primarily pointed at Bush’s War on Terror and the Iraqi War as chief reasons why faithful Methodists must distastefully reject any association with the former president.  What Religious Leftists usually fail openly to admit is that they are usually pacifists who reject any military defense for America.   Earlier this year, SMU’s United Methodist seminary hosted a conference on Christian Just War teaching that mostly espoused pacifism.  Somewhat ironically, almost the only strong Just War voice was former Bill Clinton pastor and counselor J. Philip Wogaman, who reminded a seemingly reluctant audience that some evils must be violently repressed.

Like many of America’s churches, Methodism embraced pacifism after World War I, briefly if reluctantly acknowledged the justice of World War II, and then during the Cold War slowly slid back into pacifism.  The exception, of course, was during the 1970s and 1980s, when many church leftists tacitly supported the violence of Marxist revolution under the aegis of Liberation Theology.  Creating a Marxist police state merited force, they surmised.  But more recently, they have insisted that defending Americans, or anybody else, even from Islamist terror violates the teachings of Jesus, despite nearly 2 millennia of continuous Christian Just War teaching.

Methodist philosophy professor Nicole Johnson of the University of Mount Union in Ohio fretted that the denomination’s mixed record over war had frustrated many consciences over the decades.   (See my assistant Eric LeMasters’ onsite report.)  She complained that the church officially affirms both persons who “oppose all war” and persons who “conscientiously choose to serve in the armed forces,” while asserting that “neither the way of military action, nor the way of inaction is always righteous before God.”

Johnson preferred a more absolute pacifist approach, explaining:  “I’m not convinced we necessarily need to use military action to pursue justice.” She complained that clergy could not be defrocked for advocating war in the same way they can be defrocked for sexual misdeeds.  “And I don’t recall an outcry in winter of 2003 calling for President Bush, a Methodist, to have his membership revoked because he initiated the war in Iraq,” she exclaimed.

Another Methodist pacifist ethicist, Stephen Long from Marquette University in Wisconsin, complained that support for national loyalty and war was disloyal to the “transnational church.”  He insisted:  “The real problem in the Christian churches today, is quite frankly, we subordinate ourselves to the nation. I think it’s a tremendous problem on the Left and the Right. We simply don’t have that conviction that our first loyalty is precisely to this transnational community.”

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  • TCM

    Our nation was built on religious principles and established government as a force that protects everyone, rich and poor, from thieves. Socialists use governments as their thief to take wealth from those they do not like to give it to those they do.

    The Bible considers only voluntary charity as "righteous". Those who will use the sword for any purpose except defense, are not "righteous", no matter their cause. Those that will use force to take from their neighbors are condemned as criminals. The idea that a socialist can be a follower of the Bible is an oxymoron if there ever was one.

  • Lorenzo Dow

    So much safer to espouse pacifism in a free country while others defend that freedom.

  • Supreme_Galooty

    They should consider relocating their "Method" to Mecca or Medina – both strongholds of that other "religion of peace." Then all those peaceful religiosos can sing Kumbaya in two part harmony.

  • Marty Riley

    First loyalty to Jesus Christ & His bride, second to family, third to nation.

    I am a One God Apostolic Christian, and I have no problem fighting with arms to suppress evil if it threatens the lives of the innocent. BY evil, I do not mean what the state calls evil, I mean what the Bible clearly calls evil.

    No one in the New Testament ever got rebuked for being a soldier, and no one in the New Testament ever got told to leave the army.

    The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (Conversion as the point of a sword) but that does NOT relieve a Christian's duty from protecting those who cannot protect themselves, or of protecting the innocent.

    What kind of person calling themselves a servant of Jesus Christ, stands by and does nothing as the innocent are slaughtered?

    God have mercy on the weak religious indignant who sleep happy on their pillows as braver men fight and die for their families they themselves are unwilling to protect.
    They wrap their cowardice in the pretense of a scriptural forbidding to be a soldier where none exists.

    Seriously, people should do a little http://www.churchhistory101.com



    "The Bible considers only voluntary charity as 'righteous.' Those who will use the sword for any purpose except defense, are not 'righteous,' no matter their cause. Those that will use force to take from their neighbors are condemned as criminals."

    This quote exemplifies the terrible breaches in confidence and the vast displays of gross negligence that the authoring parties of this institution are sponsoring with the recently added program that seeks to educate and defend those of human rights abuses.