Beliefnet News

By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

(RNS) President Bush’s proposed library at Southern Methodist University cleared another hurdle after an Oklahoma bishop refused to reject the plan, according to the United Methodist Church.
Oklahoma Bishop Robert E. Hayes said it was a matter of secular, not church, law at this point, the United Methodist News Service reported.
“I do not believe I have before me a proper request for a ruling on church law,” Hayes wrote in a Aug. 12 decision, according to UMNS.
The denomination’s South Central Jurisdictional Conference, which owns the Dallas-based University, approved the lease of campus land in July.
The George W. Bush Presidential Center will house a presidential library, museum and policy institute. The 36-acre center is expected to cost $500 million.
Progressive Methodists, including faculty members at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, have fought the plans at every step. They argue that some Bush administration policies, such as the war in Iraq, contradict Methodist beliefs.
Bush and first lady Laura Bush are both United Methodists; Laura Bush graduated from SMU in 1968.
Hayes’s decision will now be reviewed by the denomination’s high court, the United Methodist Judicial Council.
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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