Magazine article The Christian Century

SMU Agrees to House Bush Library, Policy Institute; Opponents Vow to Fight

Magazine article The Christian Century

SMU Agrees to House Bush Library, Policy Institute; Opponents Vow to Fight

Article excerpt

Southern Methodist University trustees have officially agreed to house the George W. Bush presidential library, museum and public policy institute on its Dallas campus, despite objections from many United Methodists and alumni.

The board at the United Methodist-related university voted unanimously February 22 to approve an agreement with the Bush Presidential Library Foundation.

Bush wrote in a letter to SMU president R. Gerald Turner: "I look forward to the day when both the general public and scholars come and explore the important and challenging issues our nation has faced during my presidency--from economic and homeland security to fighting terrorism and promoting freedom and democracy."

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Bush and his wife, Laura Bush, an SMU graduate, are United Methodists. During his two terms in office, however, Bush has tended to rely on conservative evangelical clergy and churches, mostly non-Methodists, for support and advice.

"The fight is not over," said Andrew Weaver, a Methodist pastor and SMU alumnus who is leading an online petition drive that has attracted more than 11,000 signatures against the plan. Opponents argue that the war in Iraq and many other Bush administration policies are contrary to Methodist teachings.

The planned presidential library and museum would be administered and run by the National Archives and Records Administration--as are a dozen other presidential libraries. Many Methodists objected especially to the inclusion of a public policy institute in the complex. …

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