Blog Template Theology of the Body: Methodists vs. President Bush

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Methodists vs. President Bush

On the front of the Dallas Morning News web page is an article about Methodists who are protesting the potential placement of the George Bush presidential library on the SMU campus. Their petition website can be found here. Just out of curiosity, I quickly googled the leader of the petition, Rev. Andrew Weaver, an SMU grad. It turns out this is just a continuation of his long dissatisfaction with the Bush administration and everything conservative. His particular object of ire is the Institute for Religion and Democracy, and some of the conservative Catholic theologians who serve on its board (he has only nasty things to say about Neuhas, Novak, and Weigel).

I happen to have my own reasons for thinking that the Bush library at SMU is not a good thing -- I'm not convinced that presidential libraries increase the reputation of an institution and I think it have a negative effect on fundraising for other priorities (like scholarships and professorships), not because of the reputation of Bush, but because it forces the fundraising staff to concentrate on other things. And obviously Weaver is welcome to his opinion and to lead his protest.

But there seems to be some inconsistency here; after all, Duke is a Methodist university, and he hasn't raised a peep about the injustices perpetrated against Duke students by Mike Nifong and the faculty group of 88 (go here for a rundown of everything you need to know about this case). Also not a word about Emory University's (another Methodist university) long relationship with Coca-Cola, which is alleged to engage in illegal practices. In short, if Weaver was actually concerned with SMU, and not trying to score some political points in the name of Methodism, he might bear listening to. But this isn't so much a religious move as a political one.