Thursday, October 04, 2007

SMU Still Has a Chance to Avoid Infamy

As the efforts of student, faculty, alums and Methodist Church members to keep the Bush LieBury from being located at SMU fell earlier this year to considerations of the dollars that it would bring from the war criminals - the church is trying again.

I signed a petition as a member of the Methodist Church that objected to the LieBury as representing hideously ethically challenged ideologists, to be represented as if they were scholars the members of the gang that has been eating the constitution.

Thank you Andrew Weaver, whose email went out to the objectors yesterday, as follows:

Opponents of the Bush Library and Institute vowed to continue their fight within the 11 million member United Methodist Church to deny approval to Southern Methodist University (SMU) to host the Bush complex.

The South Central Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church will meet in Dallas from July 15-19, 2008, when it will be asked by SMU to approve the use of university land for the Bush complex, which will include a partisan political institute operated totally by the Bush Foundation. United Methodist opponents of the Bush complex will ask the 290 elected delegates to the Conference to vote against this request. The delegates in the South Central Jurisdictional Conference represent the 1.83 million United Methodists living in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

Bishop Joe A. Wilson explains: "Even though the 21 member Mission Council approved by a vote of 10-4 the use of the SMU property for the Library and partisan Policy Institute, this decision must be ratified by the larger Jurisdictional Conference which meets in July of 2008." The rules of the Jurisdiction state that, "all actions taken by the Council shall be valid and in full effect.....until the next regular session of The Conference." He adds, "to place a partisan policy Think Tank, with no oversight by the church and university, on the grounds of a United Methodist Institution, is an issue the Jurisdictional Conference must not take lightly."

"The placement of the George W. Bush Library and the establishment of an Institute to promote the policies of this president at Southern Methodist University would be a tragedy," said Bishop William Boyd Grove. "The policies of the Bush administration are in direct conflict with the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church on issues of war and peace, civil liberties and human rights, care for the environment, and health care. SMU is a university of the church and is home to one of our outstanding theological seminaries. Its United Methodist identity and its moral authority would be seriously compromised were it to be identified with the policies of George W. Bush in this way."

"To place a partisan institute on the campus of a United Methodist university is unacceptable," said the Reverend Andrew Weaver, "especially when it will espouse the policies and values of an administration that has advocated torture, violated international law, and left the constitution in shambles. We want SMU to be a great university, not a propaganda machine for the Bush administration."

Organizers of the effort question the educational value of the Bush complex, pointing to Executive Order 13233, which provides former Presidents with virtually unlimited powers to deny or grant access to documents generated under their administrations. Bishop C. Joseph Sprague observed, "last spring the Faculty Senate and the history faculty at SMU issued statements criticizing the Executive Order as incompatible with the goals of providing public and scholarly access to federal documents. It is a great concern when a large number of the faculty at a United Methodist university question the educational value of a project."

Bishop Kenneth W. Hicks noted, "In February of 2007, bishops, clergy and laity of the United Methodist Church began a petition calling for the SMU trustees and the UMC to reject the Bush project. That petition ( now has the signatures of 20 UMC bishops and more than 10,900 Christians (mostly United Methodists) and persons of conscience. We are very much encouraged by the national and international response that we have garnered."

Bishop Susan M. Morrison observed, "while I respect the office of the presidency, presidential libraries are created, partly, to celebrate the legacies of particular presidents. Since George W. Bush's leadership has been so problematic and contrary to much of our Social Principles, it does not seem appropriate to place this library in the midst of one of our celebrated educational institutions."

Please join in this effort to keep an educational institution from irreperable damage to its reputation.

While scholarly research should be enabled by a presidential papers collection, Cretin-1 has shown repeatedly that he intends to keep his records a secret. Even yesterday's ruling against his 'signing statement' that blocks access to presidential records, I have seen no sign that following the law is among this war criminal's attributes.

SMU faculty believe, as Academic Policies Committee member Professor Cal Jillson proclaimed in June, "we do have leverage" toward getting access.

The prospect that dismays them most is the possibility of having 'academic experts' established at the LieBury of the character shown by this administration. The Abu Gonzaleses and Darth Cheneys of that dark realm would soil any reputation, but especially that of a reputable institution of learning.

The LieBury will damage everyone it touches, and SMU students, future, past and present, do not deserve the association with criminal conduct.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Todays's reading is from the Gospel of Jean Harlow:

"When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas."


11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SMU should consider carefully the experiences Stanford University is having with the Hoover Institution, an independent "think tank" for luminaries of the extreme Right (Donald Rumsfeld being but the latest example), whose name invariably is linked with that of Stanford despite the latter having no control over its appointments.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Feral said...

If worse came to worst, we can only hope the senate bill to overturn Chimps executive order to seal presidential papers will be passed. Then the DFH's can descend on SMU and exploit the repository of evil to bring the full malignancy of the Bush legacy to light.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. What a nice blog! Not at all like that sucky Atrios thing that isn't even a blog, really. Or do I have him confused with NTodd?

Regardless, I'm happy to be here and I LOVE what you have to say!

4:52 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Welcome, r. manhammer and all.

SMU lends a sop of respectability to the horrors they've committed that very much needs to be kept out of the hands of the war criminals. I would love to see scholars able to study the papers, but just don't see this cabal letting that happen.

5:02 AM  
Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Is the LBJ Library at UT-Austin? I fergit. But I knew a few folks at UT back in the day and most'd never risk tenure to make a real stink about the Bush papers there. In which they resembled no small number of the REST of the folks in the academy.

ps: i flunked the first literacy test

1:44 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Actually, the faculty is so incensed, they've started another effort to oust the liebury, have a protest going concentrated on the secrecy issue. And yes, darlin' that's LBJ in Austin - a huge resource, yielding great info for researchers.

4:06 AM  

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