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The carnage from our military endeavors is staggering with estimates of civilian deaths ranging as high as more than a million. More than four thousand of our own have perished since these wars began as well as thousands more who will suffer lifetime emotional and physical scars as a result of their faithful and dedicated service.

Last fall I had opportunity to be in Dallas where I spent one eveing at a motel just across the highway from the George W. Bush Presidential Library which was being constructed on the Southern Methodist University campus. The final price tag of this building would come to two hundred fifty million dollars. As I walked around this tribute to George W. Bush, I couldn't help but be puzzled and greatly troubled by the fact that the man who was responsible for the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars was being honored and the symbol of this homage was being constructed on SMU's campus. It should be noted that Baylor University had lobbied vigorously for the library to be built on Baylor's campus. As a Baptist minister, I could only shake my head in disbelief that Baptists would not consider the ethics of the Bush Presidency before making such a vigorous attempt to obtain the Bush Library.

I've been thinking a lot about the controversy that has long surrounded Pope Pius XII and his relationship to the Nazis. I do not know if Pope Pius XII should have done more regarding the plight of the Jews. Scholars will be disputing this part of the Catholic Church's history for a long time to come. In the discussion, there have been those who felt that the Pope should have at least excommunicated Hitler from the church since Hitler never hid the fact that he was a Catholic.

That particular controversy has caused me to think about the relationship of Methodists to George W. Bush. This is in no way to compare Hitler to George Bush. It is to ask the question about a leader's public profession of faith affiliation and to ask at what point does a denomination or faith group go on record as disassociating itself from the actions of a national leadaer if that leader's actions are considered illegal or harmful to hundreds of thousands of this world's citizens?

As a historical Baptist, I cherish to concept of Separation of Church and State and it because of that principle that I ask the question above. As citizens of the Kingdom of God, first and foremost, I believe it is incumbent upon all believers to question, dissent and to protest the nation's leaders when the actions of the leaders result in the tragic deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. I also believe that we have a responsibility as believers to view the lives of Iraqis and Afghanis as being equal to the life of any American.

"Pray for Our Troops" was a statement seen and heard throughout our nation and many churches included those prayers in their weekly liturgies during the years of those wars. Perhaps we, as believers, could rethink the way we pray during war. Perhaps we could pray and work for peace so that our troops will not be put into harms way in the future and that there will be little possibility of "collateral damage" to innocent civilians.

Last week I encountered another casualty of our wars in the person of a young marine who had lost an arm in conflict in 2005. This young man is now homeless, wandering the streets of Santa Fe, attempting to salvage his life one day at a time. Meeting this brave and dedicated young man made me think once again about the fact that George W. Bush has never had to answer more questions from our nation and also from his faith group about why we ever went to war in the first place.