March 19, 2003
Part V of "Bombing His Way Into the Jaws of Armageddon": Bush Has Hijacked the Presidency and He Has Hijacked God
For the Introduction to this BuzzFlash Editorial Series on Bush's Hijacking of God, see http://www.buzzflash.com/editorial/03/03/11.html.
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Part V: Bush Has Hijacked the Presidency and He Has Hijacked God
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
This is the fifth installment in an ongoing editorial series on how Bush has used God, as if the divine authority were a servant, to justify his presidency, his actions and his war.
Virtually every denomination in the United States, with the exception of the Southern Baptists and Evangelicals, views the war as immoral and a violation of God's precepts. In recent months, Bush wouldn't even meet with these men and women of God (with the exception of an emissary from the Pope), despite repeated overtures.
Bush claims that this is a war of divine providence. He believes that God made him president to conduct a holy crusade against evil infidels. But there is no evidence to justify his hijacking of God. It is just more proof that this nation and the world must endure the madness of King George.
In this fifth editorial, we will let the men and women who are liaisons with God speak for themselves. We want to remind you that the leaders of the three denominations that the Bush family belongs to (Episcopal/George the Elder, Methodist/George the Boy King, and Catholic/Jeb the King in Waiting) all -- in the name of God -- vigorously oppose an Iraq War.
Here are statements from eight Christian denominations opposing the war:
UNITED METHODIST: "It is inconceivable that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and the Prince of Peace, would support this proposed attack."
- United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society
CATHOLIC: "Step back from the brink of war and help lead the world to act together to fashion an effective global response to Iraq's threats that conforms with traditional moral limits on the use of military force."
- U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops letter to President Bush
EPISCOPAL: "We do not believe that war with Iraq can be justified at this time."
- Episcopal Church House of Bishops letter to Congress
MENNONITE: "Peace and security are enlarged when authorities choose the path of non-violent diplomacy."
- Mennonite Central Committee statement
PRESBYTERIAN: "Oppose a precipitate U.S. attack on Iraq and the Bush administration's new doctrine of pre-emptive military action."
- Presbyterian Church (USA) general assembly council letter to members
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: "We fear war would only provoke greater regional instability and lead to the mass destruction it is intended to prevent."
- United Church of Christ leaders
CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN: "We will peacefully resist all efforts to resolve this conflict by military force."
- Church of the Brethren General Board
AMERICAN BAPTIST: "We call upon our churches and their members to enter into a time of prayer, intercession and witness in pursuit of peace."
- General Board of American Baptist Churches USA
Source: Des Moines Register, Dec. 22, 2002
Here are quotations from individual religious leaders opposing the war:
[Methodist] Bishop Melvin Talbert, ecumenical officer of the United Methodist Church: "No nation under God has [the right to invade another country, causing hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths]. It violates international law. It violates God's law. War only creates more terrorists and makes a dangerous world for our children.
CNN, Larry King Live, March 11, 2003
[Methodist] Bishop Sharon A. Brown Christopher, president of the Council of Bishops, wrote to President Bush in February: "As the president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church and, therefore, one of your pastors, I write to you, a fellow United Methodist, because of the awesome burden that rests on your shoulders in these days. The human community stands at an intersection of decision that will shape its common life and international relations for years to come. In your hands rests in large part the path we will follow. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of peace. It calls us to transcend political ideology and national interests to act on behalf of the welfare of the whole human family. …"
[Catholic] Pope John Paul II: President Bush met with Cardinal Pio Laghi, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States, on March 5.
"I assure you, Mr. President, that I am praying for you and for America," the Pope wrote, according to Laghi. "I ask the Lord to inspire you to search for the ways of a stable peace, the noblest of human endeavors."
Without UN support, military action against Iraq is "illegal, it's unjust," Laghi told reporters after the session with Bush. "There are still peaceful avenues within the context of the vast patrimony of international law and institutions which exist for that purpose," Laghi said. "There is great unity on this grave matter on the part of the Holy See, the bishops in the United States, and the church throughout the world."
-- Multiple news sources
[Catholic] Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops, hand-delivered a letter to Condoleezza Rice in September that read: "Given the precedents and risks involved, we find it difficult to justify extending the war on terrorism to Iraq, absent clear and adequate evidence of Iraqi involvement in the attacks of Sept. 11, or of an imminent attack of a grave nature … We respectfully urge you to step back from the brink of war and help lead the world to act together to fashion an effective global response to Iraq's threats that conforms with traditional moral limits on the use of military force."
Also attending the White House meeting were the presiding bishops of the Episcopal Church, Frank Griswold, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Mark Hanson.
-- Multiple news sources
Full letter: http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/bush902.htm
[Jewish] Rabbi Michael Lerner: In his article "The Triumph of Fear" in the March/April issue of Tikkun, Lerner writes: "How could it have come to this? The fundamentally decent people of the United States destroying the homes and lives of innocent Iraqis, just twenty-eight years after most Americans were so sickened by war-making that they chose to abandon the ill-conceived war in Vietnam! From my analysis of the psychodynamics that make this war possible comes a new strategy for the anti-war movement outlined in the second part of this editorial."
[Episcopal] Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold, presiding bishop and primate, the Episcopal Church, USA: "I am deeply disturbed that some Christians are animated by notions of a God of vengeance and retribution, and adopt simplistic views of good and evil. The task of people of faith, indeed those of the three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – is to point us all toward a God abounding in compassion and love for each one of us. … Those who argue for war have said that war can be an act of service to the global community, and religious language is employed to justify such an action. How can this be when war would have a profoundly damaging effect upon countless innocent people? How can this be when war would further fuel the anger and frustration so many people around the globe, far beyond the borders of Iraq, feel towards our country?
Instead of waging war, our faith calls us to wage reconciliation. This involves the demanding and difficult challenge of loving our enemies and embracing policies of generosity of spirit that build up the global community."
-- March 13, 2003
-- Washington Post, Oct. 12, 2002
[Lutheran] Bishop Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said
in February: "I think we're listening for the
voice of religious leaders to at least guide the
conversation about morality, if not give answers."
Hanson's letter to the ELCA about Iraq (http://www.elca.org/bishop/iraq_0302.html)
[Presbyterian] Based on our Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s "Commitment to Peacemaking," the 214th General Assembly (2002):" urges "all parties involved to actively and wholeheartedly seek a negotiated solution based on diplomacy and not violence, peace and not war".
Presbyterian Church U.S.A. General Assembly: A summary of General Assembly policy on Iraq: http://www.pcusa.org/peacemaking/iraq/ga-policy.htm
Nation Council of Churches: Rev. Robert Edgar, general secretary of the NCC, representing Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations, said in February: "The middle church is becoming as active as the religious right has been for the last 15 to 20 years. We have had a huge change in strategy. Until now, the middle and left had not used computers, there were no full-page ads or phone campaigns against policy. But everybody knows that to break through the maze of modern media, sermons have to be preached in new ways. It took organized religion 10 years to oppose the Vietnam War. During that time, people were thought to be un-American if they stood up against the war. Now it is considered very American for the church to stand up. The idea of a pre-emptive strike that does not have broad multi-national support seems strange to many religious leaders."
- Chicago Tribune, Feb. 16, 2003
More Robert Edgar: "Imagine that the kind of time, creativity and money that are being poured into preparations for war against Iraq were being poured instead into the challenge of ending poverty in the United States and around the world. … The war on Iraq is not a just war. It can be prevented if we mobilize the other 'super power' -- world opinion -- to stand up and say no to war. In the absence of compelling evidence that Iraq poses an imminent military threat, we will continue to press for a peaceful solution in which the innocent families of Iraq are spared the terrible scourge of war. Even in the face of the Administration's insistence that a war is unavoidable, we believe America can win without war."
-- PR Newswire, March 2, 2003 interfaith prayer service in San Francisco
[National Baptist Convention] Rev. William Shaw, president of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., said: "We talk about the number of lives lost on 9/11, and that was devastating. But that does not justify the taking of tens of thousands of lives without any identity. … One way you wipe out any feeling about the loss of lives to opponents is to demonize them. When you demonize people, there is no sensitivity to killing. The case for this war has not been made."
-- Philadelphia Daily News, Feb. 27, 2003
Then there are the few stray religious leaders who support Bush. Here is what they have to say:
Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, said on national television that Islam is "a very evil and wicked religion."
Jerry Vines, the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, said Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was a "demon-possessed pedophile."
Jerry Falwell, another evangelical leader, recently called the prophet "a terrorist."
Need we say more? BuzzFlash rests its case.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
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Also see these BuzzFlash editorial and commentary archives:
For Introduction to this series see Part I: "Shock and Awe"
I: "Shock and Awe"
Part II: The Divine Right of Kings and The Madness
of King George
III: Democracy "Obscures" the Divine
Authority Behind Government, Says Antonin Scalia
IV: You Got To Have "Heart": Be Saved
or Be Damned
Can Bush Play Chess?
Is the Pope Aiding and Abetting Terrorism?
Profiles in Prophecy: Which Armageddon Angle is Right
Other Useful Sites on the American Religious Community Against the War:
Religious Groups Go Online for Peace
Faith Groups Positions on War with Iraq
Interfaith Statements About War with Iraq
Statements from Religious Leaders about Iraq
Anti War Clerics Wonder if Bush Hears Their Call
Faith and War Support Linked
otherwise noted, all original