UMAction Briefing HomepageSteve Rempe
Institute on Religion and Democracy



February 16, 2001

In its bi-monthly magazine, the United Methodist Church lobby office in Washington, D.C. promotes the liberation of the state of Hawaii from U.S. “colonialism.”

The January/February 2001 issue of Christian Social Action is devoted to anti-colonialism. But the main culprit cited in several articles is the United States. Articles advocate “independence” for the State of Hawaii along with U.S. territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico. The magazine is published by the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, which is the largest church lobby office in the nation’s capital.

“What’s next?” asked Mark Tooley, who directs the IRD’s United Methodist committee. “Will the Board of Church and Society advocate ‘liberation’ for Alaska, California, and Texas?” Recalling the Board’s long history of left-wing activism, Tooley said advocating the separation of Hawaii from the rest of the United States is absurd, even by the skewed political standards of this church agency.

“These kinds of extremist, unreasonable political stances help to ensure that the Board of Church and Society is not taken seriously in Washington, D.C.” Tooley noted. “This is tragic, because the 8.4 million denomination, if represented faithfully and competently, could exercise real influence in the nation’s capital.” President George W. Bush is a United Methodist. So too are prominent members of his administration and over 60 members of Congress.

The United Methodist Church is the third largest religious body in America. Although polls show that most of its members are conservative-leaning, its national agencies, such as the Board of Church and Society, are frequently controlled by the far-left.

Although the articles in Christian Social Action offer no evidence that most people in Guam or Puerto Rico, much less Hawaii, want to separate from the United States, the authors still insist that justice demands their “independence.” Plebiscites in Puerto Rico have repeatedly rejected separation from the United States. Almost 90 percent of the people in Hawaii are not descended from the original native peoples and almost certainly would oppose “independence.” The native Chamorro people on Guam also comprise a minority of that island’s population. “Independence” presumably would entail the disenfranchisement or forced departure of the majority populations.

Christian Social Action also examines U.S. “colonialism” in Cuba, although the brief U.S. occupation of Cuba ended nearly a century ago. The author utters no words of criticism against the “Revolutionary [i.e. communist] Government” of Cuba, which seems odd for an article about human rights.

“Christian Social Action has all the freshness and relevance of an aging back issue of Pravda or the People’s Daily Worker,” Tooley concluded. “It, and the agency that publishes it, are an embarrassment to The United Methodist Church and should be put out of business.”

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