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IRD Release Petition in Support of Southern Methodist University's Decision on Bush Library

"We are honored to bring support to the university for such an opportunity." -- Mark Tooley, IRD UMAction Director

Contact: Loralei Coyle, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@ird-renew.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton jwalton@ird-renew.org


WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 /Christian Newswire/ -- Recently a small group of United Methodist bishops and ministers, through a national petition amongst the members and bishops of the United Methodist Church, demanded that Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas NOT host the proposed George W. Bush Library. The Institute on Religion and Democracy is saddened that this small group of clerics, because of their own political biases, want to deny SMU's vast new opportunities for research and scholarship.


In response, we are circulating our own new petition in support of SMU. Over 120 colleges and universities are affiliated with the 8 million member (in the U.S.) member United Methodist Church. Emory University, another United Methodist school, is associated with Jimmy Carter's think-tank, the Carter Center, in Atlanta. Unlike Carter, President and Mrs. Bush are members of a United Methodist congregation, and the First Lady sits on SMU's board of trustees.

Here is our petition:

United Methodist bishops and pastors are circulating a petition urging Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas to reject the proposed Bush Presidential Library. Anti-library activists disagree with the Bush Administration's policies on global warming, national security and same-sex marriage.


SMU's president and board of trustees, including the pastor of President Bush's church, support the Bush Library, pointing out that the facility will enhance the school's research opportunities. Another United Methodist school, Emory University in Atlanta, is affiliated with the Carter Center, which is Jimmy Carter's think tank. No bishops have raised objections to it.


We, the undersigned, SUPPORT SMU's decision to proceed with the Bush Library if they believe it is in the school's best interests.


We disagree with the bishops and clergy who oppose the library because of their own personal political opinions.


We believe that our church's schools should have room for different political opinions and should affirm traditional Christian beliefs.

IRD UMAction Director Mark Tooley commented:

"We call on all United Methodists to visit our website at www.ird-renew.org and sign the petition in support of SMU's and its decision on the presidential library. We are honored to bring support to the university for such an opportunity.

"Unlike the strident opponents of the Bush library, we believe that our church is built on the Christian faith, not a political ideology. There is room for different political opinions within our denomination. If a United Methodist-affiliated university like Emory University in Atlanta can host former president Jimmy Carter's sometimes controversial think tank, surely a Methodist university should be free to host the presidential library of a member of its own denomination."