Saturday, May 21, 2005

Christians Protest Bush's Anti-Christian Policies

If George Bush can't find a safe audience at Calvin College, a Christian college in strongly Republican Grand Rapids, he can't find a safe audience anywhere. Students, and about one third of the faculty at Calvin College, are protesting Bush's planned commencement speech tonight.

The following letter, with more than 800 signatures, was published in an ad Friday in The Grand Rapids Press:

Dear President Bush:

We are alumni, students, faculty and friends of Calvin College who are deeply troubled that you will be the commencement speaker at Calvin on May 21st. In our view, the policies and actions of your administration, both domestically and internationally over the past four years, violate many deeply held principles of Calvin College.

Calvin is a rigorous intellectual institution and a truly Christian one. Since its inception in 1876, Calvin has educated its students to use their minds and hearts to transform the world into a "beloved community" where no one is an outcast and all of God's children are cared for. Calvin teaches its students to work for peace and justice, and to be good stewards of God's creation.

By their deeds ye shall know them, says the Bible. Your deeds, Mr. President – neglecting the needy to coddle the rich, desecrating the environment, and misleading the country into war – do not exemplify the faith we live by.

Moreover, many of your supporters are using religion as a weapon to divide our nation and advance a narrow partisan agenda. We are deeply disappointed in your failure to renounce their inflammatory rhetoric.

We urge you not to use Calvin College as a platform to advance policies that violate the school's religious principles. Furthermore, we urge you to repudiate the false claims of supporters who say that those who oppose your policies are the enemies of religion.
Today's Grand Rapids Press has the following ad:
An open letter to the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush

On May 21, 2005 you will give the commencement address at Calvin College. We, the undersigned, respect your office,a d we join the college in welcoming you to our campus. Like you, we recognize the importance of religious commitment in American political life. We seek open and honest dialogue about the Christian faith and how it is best expressed in the political sphere. While recognizing God as sovereign over individuals and institutions alike, we understand that no single political position should be identified with God's will, and we are conscious that this applies to our own views as well as those of others. At the same time we see conflicts between our understanding of what Christians are called to do and many of the policies of your administration.

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

As Christians we are called to lift up the hungry and impoverished. We believe your administration has taken actions that favor the wealthy of our society and burden the poor.

As Christians we are called to actions characterized by love, gentleness and concern for the most vulnerable among us. We believe your administration has fostered intolerance and divisiveness and has often failed to listen to those with whom it disagrees.

As Christians we are called to be caretakers of God's creation. We believe your environmental policies have harmed creation and have not promoted long-term stewardship of our natural environment.

Our passion for these matters arises out of Christian faith that we share with you. We ask you, Mr. President, to re-examine your policies in light of or God-given duty to pursue justice with mercy, and we pray for wisdom for you and all world leaders.

Concerned faculty, staff and emeriti of Calvin College.
We will have more to follow on this developing story, as well as further background information, later tonight.


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