Withdrawal of Invitation for President George W. Bush to Address the Nazarene General Assembly 2005 sign now

We, the undersigned members of the Church of the Nazarene, request the General Superintendents rescind the invitation made to American President George W. Bush to address General Assembly 2005 this summer in Indianapolis. We ardently believe the allegiance of all Christians is due to God alone and that by virtue of our baptism we are granted citizenship into the Kingdom of God. As the Apostle Paul states, our old life ceases as we are reborn in the baptismal water, and the claims made by nation-states over our bodies hold no purchase. Furthermore, invitation of the American President to address the Assembly diminishes the aim of the Church of the Nazarene to participate in the holy catholic Church that transcends human-made borders and includes the entire globe. Furthermore, what of the message such an address might send to those delegates from countries other than the United States? Are they to believe they are second-rate members of the Church because they do not live within borders presided over by George W. Bush?

Beyond our reservations about the American government co-opting our citizenship in heaven, we find the President's actions, both in America and international politics, in the past four-and-a-half years at odds with the Gospel of Christ. Indeed, the President's rush to preemptive, unilateral war has been deemed an egregious sin for those committed to both approaches to war within traditional Christianity--just war and nonviolence. The President's hard-line stance on capital punishment, both in his presidency and his time serving as Governor of Texas, conflicts with Christ's teachings of non-retaliation that he lived out in an exemplary fashion to the point of death on a cross at the hands of the worlds most powerful empire. Further, the president's economic policies have reaped huge benefits for the richest Americans and repeatedly sided with big-business interests. This brazenly ignores and injures "the least of these" whom Christ instructed us to serve first. The President's environmental policies have shown little regard to Scripture's exhortation to care for God's creation. Additionally, his religious rhetoric has frequently replaced the persons of the Trinity with the United States of America; Scripture calls this idolatry.

The Church of the Nazarene is a Christian body seeking to shape disciples of Christ that will continue the Great Commission to the ends of the earth while transcending borders and political ideologies. We request that the General Superintendents take action to maintain the Church's fidelity to the Gospel of Christ and not acquiesce to the tempting lures of politics and worldly power. The Bible instructs that faith without works is dead, and we strive to live out our faith in an authentic manner faithful to the Gospel, neither seeking approval from a political party nor serving as chaplain for the American nation or any other state. By rescinding the invitation to the President to address the Assembly, the General Superintendents will take the opportunity to denounce the use of religion as a tool to divide a nation or a world and advance a partisan agenda. Such a move can demonstrate a manner in which members of the Church of the Nazarene and the worldwide Church can live out the Christian faith authentically.

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