A petition campaign by United Methodist Bishops, Clergy, and laypeople against the Bush Library-Museum-Institute has kicked off a fascinating debate. The United Methodist Church has half of the positions on SMU’s board, and if I am not mistaken is technically the legal owner of SMU. In the late 80s, after the football scandal, the Church stepped in to insist on structural and governance reform.
On January 31, the Methodist Petition organizers issued a press release regarding the results of their petition drive to date and their intention to continue the drive.
UPDATE: This petition began circulating on January 17, 2007. As of February 2, 2007, it had gathered 9,994 signatures, many of them alumni, faculty, and others with strong ties to the university.
There is also a counter-petition, titled, “Protect SMU From The “Leftist Bush-Hate Kooks” Opposing The Bush Presidental Library Being @ SMU!”
UPDATE: This petition started on January 18, 2007. As of February 3, 2007, it boasted a grand total of 101 signatures, 12 of which were Anonymous, at least 3 people had signed twice, and most of the rest appeared to be friends and family. Only a few actually identified themselves as as students, alumni, faculty, or Methodists. While the “Protect SMU” petition organizers keep up hostile postings, the organizers of the counter-petition deleted a sensible reply by Susanne Johnson, which you can see by clicking here.
“The Bush think tank: A giant Trojan horse among the Ponies?” Andrew Weaver and George Crawford, SMU Daily Campus, January 18, 2007
“Religion frames Bush library debate,” Eileen E. Flynn, Austin American-Statesman, January 24, 2007
“Readers Support, Oppose Bush Library at SMU,” UM NeXus E-pistles, January 24, 2007
“Think Twice, SMU,” Tim Kumfer, God’s Politics, January 31, 2007
Letters to the Editor, United Methodist Reporter Interactive, February 1, 2007
“Methodist Bishops Back Library,” DMagazine.com, February 5, 2007
“Here’s a W library starting point,” GetReligion.org, February 8, 2007
“Bush library puts backs up,” Pat Ashworth, Church Times, February 16, 2007
“Methodists Call for Expulsion of Bush, Cheney From Church,” February 18, 2007
“The Power of Words:Why I Want the Bush Presidential Library at SMU,” Rebekah Miles, United Methodist Nexus, February 21, 2007
“Methodists approve leasing SMU land for Bush library,” Angela K. Brown, Associated Press, March 14, 2007
“Report on Methodist Council Meeting,” Benjamin Johnson, March 14th, 2007
ADDRESS TO MISSION COUNCIL, South Central Jurisdiction, William K. McElvaney, Professor Emeritus, Perkins School of Theology, SMU, March 14, 2007
“SMU Gets Go-Ahead on Bush Complex Lease,” Cynthia B. Astle, UnitedMethodistNexus.org, March 15, 2007
“UMC leaders OK Bush library plan,” Holly K. Hacker, Dallas Morning News
, March 15, 2007
“Methodist council approves land lease for Bush library,” Mark Norris, SMU Daily Campus, March 20, 2007
“Those articles of incorporation: An Inconvenient Truth,” Susanne Johnson, SMU Daily Campus, March 20, 2007
“A preview of a partisan presidential think tank,” Andrew Weaver, SMU Daily Campus, March 30, 2007
“Methodists split over Bush think tank plan,” Alex Spillius, The Telegraph, April 13, 2007
Here’s some coverage of the petition within the Methodist Church of the United Kingdom:
“Methodist minister says Bush link would associate church with torture,” Ekklesia, January 21, 2007
“US Methodists continue to push against Bush library plans,” Ekklesia, February 1, 2007