Florida United Methodist Bishop Timothy Whitaker has endorsed two documents that condemn the war in Iraq as "unjust and immoral" and call on President Bush to present a plan for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.If that isn't enough to make Bush think again there is also this:
The documents consist of a "statement of conscience" signed by nearly 100 United Methodist bishops and a formal resolution adopted Nov. 4 by the Council of Bishops at a semi-annual meeting.
The "Statement of Conscience -- A Call to Repentance and Peace with Justice" was written by retired Bishop Kenneth Carder of Durham, N.C., and circulated among the bishops for about two weeks prior to the council meeting.
It was signed by 96 bishops, more than half of the 164 active and retired United Methodist bishops worldwide.
The resolution restated many of the same points in the statement of conscience, but in addition it:
Supports a congressional resolution stating "it is the sense of the Congress that it be the policy of the United States to withdraw all U.S. military troops and bases from Iraq."
Calls on Bush "to immediately draw up and present to the Congress and the American people a plan and timeline for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces in Iraq."
Calls for the appointment of a United Nations envoy to encourage peace talks and for a multilateral approach to rebuilding Iraq.
[Florida United Methodist Bishop Timothy] Whitaker has been a consistent critic of the war, even before it was launched, based on the view that it did not meet traditional "just war" criteria.Adding fuel to the fire is that Bush purportedly believes that God instructed him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. I wonder if Bush's recent comments accusing people of undermining the war by questioning the lead-up to the war extends to bishops from his own church?
He said Friday that he did not see the documents as startling or unusual, given a previous statement by the bishops at the conclusion of last year's General Conference.
But he said they were more pointed and specific because of recent revelations about the manipulation of intelligence prior to the war.
"The discourse has moved to a different level. I don't think it's unfair to talk about these things," he said. "I think we have to have a public discussion about the war, how we got into it and how it's going to end."