What’s not being reported about religion and war | SummitDaily.com

What’s not being reported about religion and war

There has been increasing press over the notion that President Bush feels divinely guided to take violent action against Iraq and anyone else who would oppose the policies of the United States.

What will get reported by the press is his rather bizarre theology. What will not get reported by the press is that many in his denomination (United Methodist) profoundly disagree with him.

The United Methodist (UM) Council of Bishops has made repeated statements opposing pre-emptive strikes against Iraq. There have been countless meetings with religious and political leaders to support efforts to prevent war.

The UM church is very involved with the National Council of Churches in efforts to meet with President Bush and other leaders around the world.

According to the Rev. Jim Winkler, head of the General Board of Church and Society (part of the UM church), the U.S. is the only government that has refused to speak with its church leaders. The Council of Bishops has also taken out an ad in the New York Times that reads, “Jesus changed your heart, now let him change your mind.”

For many Methodists, working for peace is not an idealistic fantasy, but a faithful response to the Christ who shows the way of true compassion and peace.

I also am a United Methodist. I also believe that my desire to oppose this war is divinely guided, though not at all in the same sense as President Bush. I have found at the ripe old age of 39 (coincidentally, the same age that the Prez had his conversion experience), that “messages from God” are nothing more than a combination of psychic sludge and wishful/magical thinking.

The Bible I read says that if God takes sides at all, it is the side of the poor and oppressed. Always. We who are wealthy (and if we’re eating, we’re wealthy) have been warned.

Should religious/spiritual values be a part of our daily lives? Absolutely. I’m not talking about empty invocations to an innocuous deity (one nation under God S), I’m talking about the universal values of peace, tolerance and compassion, which all religious traditions preach. The world would be a much different place. Perhaps we are finally ready.

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