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Ministers to SMU: Don't pursue Bush library

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.elpasotimes.com/breakingnews/ci_5038159 Ministers to SMU: Don t pursue Bush library (11:05 a.m.) By ANGELA K. BROWN / Assciated Press Article
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 18, 2007
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      http://www.elpasotimes.com/breakingnews/ci_5038159

      Ministers to SMU: Don't pursue Bush library (11:05
      a.m.)
      By ANGELA K. BROWN / Assciated Press
      Article Launched: 01/18/2007 11:06:17 AM MST

      DALLAS - A group of Methodist ministers from across
      the nation launched a petition drive Thursday urging
      Southern Methodist University to stop trying to land
      George W. Bush's presidential library.

      The petition on a newly created Web site,
      www.protectsmu.org, says that "as United Methodists,
      we believe that the linking of his presidency with a
      university bearing the Methodist name is utterly
      inappropriate." The petition has so far been signed by
      18 people, including 10 Methodist bishops.

      "Methodists have a long history of social conscience,
      so questions about the conduct of this president are
      very concerning," said one of the petition's
      organizers, the Rev. Andrew J. Weaver of Brooklyn,
      N.Y., who graduated from SMU's Perkins School of
      Theology.

      Brad Cheves, SMU's vice president for external affairs
      and development, said Thursday that the Methodist
      church is diverse in its membership and opinions and
      that those involved with the petition reflect only one
      view.

      "We believe the vast majority of the Methodist
      membership, university and community support the
      library and that it will benefit the faculty, students
      and community for generations to come," Cheves said.

      SMU became the apparent winner in the library
      competition last month when the site selection
      committee said it was entering into further talks with
      the 11,000-student, private university, which is first
      lady Laura Bush's alma mater.

      Some faculty members also have complained that the
      library complex's think tank dedicated to the
      philosophy of the Bush administration would hurt the
      school's reputation.

      But at a faculty meeting Wednesday, SMU President R.
      Gerald Turner said those fears were unfounded because
      the think tank would be run by an independent
      foundation. He said among the library's benefits were
      increasing the school's visibility nationwide and
      spurring economic development in the city.

      A final decision is expected in a few months. The
      other two finalists are Baylor University in Waco,
      near the Bushes' Crawford ranch, and the University of Dallas.
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