2003 was John Wesley’s 300th birthday and the year a Methodist President invaded Iraq. Discuss.

2003 marked both the 300th year since John Wesley’s birth and the year that the United States, led by the lies of a “Methodist” president, attacked, invaded, and occupied Iraq. 

This past week, President Obama, a former member of the United Church of Christ (thank god for the UCC!) officially announced the end of combat operations in Iraq.

Imagine if the Methodist church had been able to force the issue and would have been able to stop or at least effectively protest this war.  This is what would have been saved:

Where were our bishops, our elders, our lay people? 

John Wesley might be ashamed of what has become of his movement.


2 thoughts on “2003 was John Wesley’s 300th birthday and the year a Methodist President invaded Iraq. Discuss.

  1. I agree that John Wesley and the movement founders would be ashamed at what the church has become. That said, your comments are inaccurate and misleading. Many clergy and lay leadership have spoken up–leading vigils, protesting and lobbying, getting arrested, traveling to Iraq as humans shields.

    The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), the official social justice agency of the UMC, issued one of the very first statements against the notion of a war in Iraq on Aug. 30,2002.

    GBCS hosted one of the first interfaith meetings to try and stop a war on Sept. 12, 2002; participated in the founding of Win Without War, one of the first anti-Iraq War organizations;
    actively participated in a “season of peacemaking” in the fall of 2002.

    GBCS General Secretary Jim Winkler went to Iraq in Dec. 2002 as part of an ecumenical “humanitarian inspector” team and condemned the race to war. Jim participated in a huge European ecumenical meeting against the war in Berlin in Feb. 2003 and met with Chancellor Schroeder, the leader of Germany and the international press to oppose the race to war.

    GBCS supported the Feb. 15, 2003 anti-war rally, the largest in world history in which 10 million people marched in 600 cities around the globe.

    Much of the church has a regressive track record, silent on the war and its aftermath. But there were and still are still prophetic voices and actions in the movement that arise from within the church. GBCS and those who partner with them in the U.S., Europe, Africa and Phillipines are an example.

  2. Neal,

    thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this blog. Your right, I did not give enough credit to the work of the GBCS and the few prophetic voices remaining in our denomination.

    That being said, if you ask the average Methodsit what the GBCS is, they would probably give you a blank stare. And that is my problem with our denomination.

    In the lead up to the Iraq War, we had a number of politicians who claim the United Methodist tradition, totally support the invasion. This included president Bush, vice president Chaney, and Senators Hillary Clinton and Richard Lugar.
    And that is just off the top of my head.

    I know for a fact that Richard Lugar has deep connections to the the United Methodist church. He could have done something to stop the war, but I guess being a life long Methodist doesn’t give you enough spiritual formation and theological training to understand the consequences of war–especially one based on almost total lies.

    Lugar belongs to the largest United Methodist church in the state. His pastor perhaps gave the lamest sermon ever on the lead up to the war. He was too afriad to confront Lugar publically about his decision to take our country down this dangerous path.

    There was a recent gathering of 100 of the pastors of the largest United Methodist churches. their goal was to revitalize the United Methodist church. I would be willing to bet that out of those 100 churches, not one of those congregatoins took a strong or bold stand when it came to the Iraq war.

    I honor our prophetic voices but on the 300th annivesary of John Wesley’s birth, our entire movement should have been brave enough to stand up against the war. I have a feeling we might have been able to even stop it.

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