Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Methodist values at SMU

Get Religion’s Terry Mattingly asks a reasonable question:

[I]t is valid to debate whether Bush represents “Methodist values” on key issues.


However, it would also be interesting to find out if many of the same faculty and ministers who oppose this library would also have questions about whether the beliefs proclaimed by the evangelist named John Wesley are consistent with “Methodist values” as currently defined by many at SMU.

Read the whole thing for a nice rundown on the Bush library brouhaha.

Update: While you’re at it, you might want to take a look at this blog representing the library, etc. opponents, put up by this SMU professor. Here are his "reasons for concern." For now, I’ll comment only on this:

the Bush Library-Museum-Institute will be as much or more a source of continued political propaganda for the Bush administration and its policies as it will be an educational resource.The Institute is explicitly conceived as an advocacy organization, and it will report to the Bush Foundation, not to the University. The museum, as is the case with all presidential museums is mostly funded by private sources, in this case by the same Bush foundation. As extensive experience with the previous eleven presidential libraries indicates, this museum will also present a partisan view defending the Bush administration and advancing its reputation and policies. The library, while it could be an asset to SMU - and remember that I am a historian, and have spent an amazing portion of my adult life happily ensconced in libraries - will also be heavily influenced by the Bush people, though under the control of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In November of 2001, President Bush issued an executive order requiring NARA to honor any assertion of executive privilege by a former President - even against the wishes of a library director or a sitting president. In other words, years from now, if an aged historian Benjamin Johnson wanted to walk from his office to the Bush Library to look at documents related to, say, domestic spying programs under Attorney General Alberto Gonzáles, if George W. Bush had invoked executive privilege Professor Johnson wouldn’t be able to, even if Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama were in the oval office. Or even if I were in the White House.

Let’s see, last I checked, any sitting President could issue an executive order rescinding an order handed down by a predecessor. That’s one of the things that distinguishes an executive order from, say, a law or the Constitution, which are a little harder to change (unless, of course, you’re a judge; but I jest). Guess they didn’t teach that at Carleton and Yale.

Discussions - 4 Comments

Change Bush to Johnson (as in Lyndon Baines Johnson) in that excerpt and the attorney general to Ramsey Clark and just about all of it would still fit. Of course, it wouldn’t bother B. Johnson half so much, then.

Bush does have Methodist values. The Methodist hierarchy is lib and so is Bush.

A while back, there was a good article in the weekly standard about the two segments in/of Methodism in America. President Bush belongs to one, Hilary Clinton to the other. The two fit somewhat into James Davison Hunter’s famous two categories, the Orthodox and the Progressive.

IRD’s Mark Tooley writes often and well about these issues; here’s his TWS piece on the Bush Library controversy, though I can’t find the piece to which Paul refers.

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