George Wesley Bush

Church Chat wesley-figurine.jpg

Confident statements by Southern Methodist University aside, the proposed Bush Library might yet sink.

SMU Perkins School of Theology assistant professor of church history Valerie A. Karras has a detailed run through of potential barriers to the Bush Library in the SMU Daily Campus. She says the University can’t take action without Methodist Church approval, that the proposed Bush Institute would violate SMU’s charter, and might kill it’s tax exempt status.

methodist-logo.jpg Karras says according to SMU’s Articles of Incorporation…

“campus property can be sold or leased only “for religious or educational purposes [or for student housing].” Given the explicitly partisan and ideological nature of the proposed Bush institute, this provision raises two huge issues: (1) the tax-exempt status of the university, and, underlying this issue, (2) the inconsistency of the proposed institute with legitimately educational purposes. These issues arise because, according to Marvin Bush and Don Evans in their cover letter to the Bush Library committee’s call for proposals, part of the mission of the proposed Bush institute is to be to “further the domestic and international goals of the Bush Administration.”

And she says we’ve seen this film before.

“The Bush Library committee’s proposal is not the first time that politics has tried to piggyback on academia. In fact, very similar proposals were made to Harvard and Stanford for independent, ideological institutes to accompany presidential libraries honoring Presidents Kennedy and Reagan, respectively. Both universities categorically rejected these proposals. Will SMU’s and the SCJ’s commitment to their own legal documents and binding internal rules and, most importantly, to SMU’s academic integrity really be less than that of Harvard and Stanford?”

Stanford’s Field of Reagan Dreams reagan-stanford-foothills.jpg

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