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“It is our judgment that some policies advanced by your administration give evidence of the spiritual forces of wickedness that exist in our world today,” the ad stated. It called the notion of “pre-emptive violence” incompatible with Christ and his teaching. Bush’s domestic and foreign policies were called “incompatible with the teaching and example of Christ.”
“Violence is not the way of Christ, and yet you threaten the very earth and all its inhabitants with open discussion of the use of nuclear weapons,” the ad stated. “As Christians we are convinced that weapons of mass destruction are not justifiable for any leader or nation.” The ad likewise challenged the president’s domestic policy and urged a Christ-like focus on “justice for the poor and oppressed, not (on) making the rich richer.”
More recently, the chief lobbyist for President Bush’s own United Methodist denomination declared that Bush’s response to 9/11 included “nothing Christian.” United Methodist Board of Church and Society general secretary Jim Winkler told a rally of liberal church activists in March 2006 that there is an urgent need to “impeach George W. Bush!” because of the “illegal war of aggression” against Iraq that was “sold on lies.” The War on Terror is a “war of vengeance, hatred, and fear,” Winkler insisted.
“We say war is incompatible to the teachings of Christ, but we have United Methodists who have started a war,” Winkler asked querulously last year. “Will they no longer be eligible for membership?” (Vice President Richard Cheney is also a United Methodist.)
Winkler and his American religious left allies may not agree with the Iranian president about such issues as stoning adulturers and veiling women. But they seem to be relatively agreed that Bush’s foreign policy, and probably his domestic policy, suggests that Bush is not a very good Christian.
“Undoubtedly, through faith in God and the teachings of the prophets, the people will conquer their problems,” Ahmadinejad concluded in his letter to Bush. “My question for you is: ‘Do you not want to join them?’”
Mark D. Tooley directs the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C.
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