Methodist ministers trying to scuttle Bush library

John Byrne
Published: Thursday January 18, 2007
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A group of Methodist ministers from across the country launched an online petition drive today urging Southern Methodist University to abandon its efforts to score George W. Bush's presidential library, the Associated Press reports Thursday. Excerpts:

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The petition, on a newly created Web site, http://www.protectsmu.org, says that "as United Methodists, we believe that the linking of his presidency with a university bearing the Methodist name is utterly inappropriate."

"Methodists have a long history of social conscience, so questions about the conduct of this president are very concerning," said one of the petition's organizers, the Rev. Andrew J. Weaver of New York, who graduated from SMU's Perkins School of Theology.

Brad Cheves, SMU's vice president for external affairs and development, said Thursday that the Methodist church is diverse in its membership and opinions and that those involved with the petition reflect only one view.

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An earlier article in the NEW YORK TIMES noted that some faculty are concerned about the potential library, fearing that pro-Bush politics will infiltrate the school.

In a meeting several weeks ago, "faculty members complained of a lack of consultation over the emerging agreement and all but demanded answers from the university's president, R. Gerald Turner, on the relationship that would develop between the university and the library," the Times reported.

"There's been a lack of transparency from the beginning," Tony Pederson of the journalism faculty told the Times, urging the university's administration "to be more forthcoming with detailed information."

Cal Jillson, a political science professor, told the Times she had called for "more rounded information" because, he said, "this train is leaving."

FULL AP STORY HERE.