Christians Speaking Truth to Power

From Holden:

Chimpy is slated to give the commencement address Saturday at Calvin College, a small Chrisitan school in Michigan. One thing he did not count on: these Christians are – well, CHRISTians.

One-third of the professors at an evangelical Christian college in Grand Rapids, Mich., are taking out a large ad in a local newspaper Saturday to protest President Bush’s commencement speech.

“As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers and to initiate war only as a last resort,” the ad will say. “We believe your administration has launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq.”

The 130 signatories, which include 20 staff members, work at Calvin College. Founded in 1876 as a school for pastors of the Christian Reformed Church, it now is one of the nation’s flagship schools for a Christian liberal-arts education. “No single political position should be identified with God’s will,” says the ad, which also chastises the president for “actions that favor the wealthy of our society and burden the poor.”

Christians are to be characterized by love and gentleness, it adds, but “we believe that your administration has fostered intolerance and divisiveness and has often failed to listen to those with whom it disagrees.”

Moreover, says the letter, set to run in the Grand Rapids Press, the Bush administration’s environmental policies “have harmed creation,” and it asks the president “to re-examine your policies in light of our God-given duty to pursue justice with mercy.”

Although Calvin College President Gaylen Byker called the Bush visit “an extraordinary opportunity,” the Chimes, the college newspaper, urged the 900 graduates to wear armbands protesting the visit. The publication pointed out that the president had been looking for a speech venue in Michigan, a state he failed to carry in 2000 and 2004.

Via Froomkin.