Sunday, May 22, 2005

Apparently Some Christians...

aren't Republican.

President Bush invited himself to be the commencement speaker at a small, Christian college in Michigan. Apparently not all of the graduating seniors and faculty members were overjoyed at having Mr. Bush speak:

But some said they were pleased to have an opportunity to show that, despite the high profile of evangelicals' in GOP politics, there are nuances to Christians' views when it comes to war, tolerance and the environment.

"We want to make sure the world knows that this is an academic institution, and there are lots of views," said Larry Louters, a chemistry professor who said he did not sign either of the two open letters to Bush that were published in the local newspaper, the Grand Rapids Press. The second letter, signed by about a third of the college's 300 faculty members, was published Saturday.

"We believe your administration has launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq," the letter said. "As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers and to initiate war only as a last resort."

The letter cited "conflicts between our understanding of what Christians are called to do and many of the policies of your administration." In the earlier ad, signed by alumni, students and faculty, the protesters said they were disturbed by the choice of Bush as commencement speaker.

The protests illustrated that "the Christian faith can speak to both parties, and the Republican Party doesn't necessarily have everything to say about the Christian faith and how it impacts policy," Louters said.

Two things in that article struck me as curious. First, the school had planned to invite a different speaker, and the White House talked to the powers that be at the school and got them to invite the President. Michigan was a state that Mr. Bush lost to Mr. Kerry. Apparently, the off-year elections are beginning to worry the Administration.

Second, the White House had allotted forty-five minutes for the speech, a bit long for a commencement speech, but not by much. The President spoke for only fifteen minutes. Could it be that all the press reports of the ads taken out against his presence scared the President? He couldn't very well vet the audience at a graduation ceremony the way he has at his Social Security stops.

In any event, it was heartening to this liberal Christian that some of my colleagues are willing to call bullshit on the Religious Reich.


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