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Methodist Bishops Playing at Left-Wing Politics

"Where were the bishops' voices when Congress and the President debated matters of the soul?" -Mark Tooley, IRD Director of UMAction

Contact: Loralei Coyle, The Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-905-6852 cell, lcoyle@ird-renew.org; Radio Interviews: Jeff Walton, jwalton@ird-renew.org

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- Bishops Janice Riggle Huie, president of the Council of Bishops; Gregory Vaughn Palmer, the council's president-designate; and Beverly Shamana, president of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society have publicly condemned President Bush's proposed federal budget for 2008, which they claim is callous towards the poor. The budget is approximately 2.9 trillion dollars, with over 75 percent going towards non-military programs, mostly "entitlement" programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

IRD UMAction Director Mark Tooley commented:

“It’s revealing that when Congress and the President have debated such topics as same-sex "marriage," partial-birth-abortion, and religious liberty around, these bishops remained silent, despite our church's clear stances on these issues. Where were the bishops’ voices when Congress and the President debated matters of the soul?

“The Bishops in their public letter condemning the President's budget stated, ‘We will not remain silent as the most vulnerable populations in the United States and around the world are sacrificed at the altars of greed and war.’

"In fact, spending on social welfare programs is at historic highs, while military spending is proportionally smaller relative to other federal budgets over the last 65 years. But no level of increase in federal social welfare spending would ever satisfy these liberal bishops, who equate the Kingdom of God with an ever expansionist federal entitlement state, whether its spending actually helps the needy or not.

"Instead of chronically summoning worshippers to the altar of the welfare state, whose failures have only perpetuated poverty, why don't the bishops actually call their numerically declining denomination back to classical Christian beliefs?”

The United Methodist Church, although still America's third largest denomination, has lost 3 million members over the last 40 years.

The Institute on Religion and Democracy, founded in 1981, is an ecumenical alliance of U.S. Christians working to reform their churches’ social witness, in accord with biblical and historic Christian teachings, thereby contributing to the renewal of democratic society at home and abroad.