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A few years ago I was in Texas to perform my play, A View from the Underside: The Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, for an endowed lecture series sponsored by a Methodist church. Prior to the evening performance, I was the guest of honor at a luncheon sponsored by the committee who invited me to perform. The committee included church leaders, a Bishop and several retired District Superintendents.

After lunch, there was a time for questions and comments concerning the relevance of Bonhoeffer for our time. During the discussion I made the comment that it was my conviction that Bonhoeffer would not have been in agreement with the war in Iraq. I further noted that I did not agree with the decision to have the George W. Bush Presidential Library adjacent to the campus of Southern Methodist University in light of Bush’s decision to go to war, a war that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and thousands of our own troops. I explained that there were never any weapons of Mass Destruction discovered as the Bush Administration had maintained. I explained further that Bush and Cheney are considered international criminals and would likely be detained and tried by the World Court in The Hague if they ever left the country.

The first to respond to my statements was the Bishop who explained that the Council of Bishops had taken up the question of the Presidential Library and that he personally had voted for having the Bush Library on the SMU campus. He went on to explain that the council felt that the Bush Administration had accomplished much in regard to women’s issues. After the Bishop spoke, two of the District Superintendent’s also voiced their agreement with the Bishop’s position with one of the Superintendents saying, “after all, Bush isn’t really a Methodist.” Actually, Bush is a member of the Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas.

A few months later, I was in Dallas to speak at a Baptist church function, a church that is located in the vicinity of SMU. The lodging I was afforded for the evening was just a few blocks from the campus. I took a walk to the SMU campus and observed the impressive structure of the Bush Library which would cost 250 million dollars. I also noticed the enormous amount of construction being undertaken at the SMU campus. While I cannot confirm this, the thought came to my mind of the vast amount of tapped that must have tapped into for SMU construction as a result of having the Bush Library next door.

For the past several General Conferences of the United Methodist Church, the issue of sexual orientation has been at the forefront of controversy. The United Methodist Church has been embroiled in this issue which seems to threaten the unity of this great denomination. And yet, the issue of the Iraq War and our decision to go to war and the fact that the President who launched this war is Methodist has never seem to gain any traction or any further discussion among Methodists. It’s also noteworthy that the current Democratic candidate for President is Methodist and that she voted for the war.

That the war began in March of 2003 makes the issue seem as though it is an old issue, one not worthy of discussion and certainly not one to engender controversy. Yet, a report released a few weeks ago documented that more than 7000 war veterans committed in the year of 2014 alone. That’s more casualties than the entire war caused. I have a young church member who served with distinction in that war and he is a casualty as a result of a roadside bomb. This young man continues to suffer the effects of this war as do thousands of other young men and women. The effects of this war continue, they continue through suicides and through the wounds sustained for service in a controversial war. The effects of this war most certainly continue for families who lost loved ones in a campaign that seems to have no end, no resolution, no victory.

As a Vietnam-era veteran, I think about all those who served and how so many of those who returned from Vietnam have suffered, not only mentally, but physically, from exposure to Agent Orange. The casualties of that war continue to mount to this day.

I said nothing in response to the Bishop’s statement, however, I completely disagree with the decision to place the George W. Bush Memorial Library on the Southern Methodist University campus. The Iraqi people were not our enemies. Our greatest enemy is our fear and our refusal to hold our leaders accountable for such a deadly war that was completely unnecessary. We should not have paid homage to one who led us into this horrific campaign by placing a building in his honor at a campus devoted to Christian values.