From the Worldwide Faith News archives

United Methodist Church has not taken sides on Ashcroft

Date 01 Feb 2001 14:53:44

Feb. 1, 2001 News media contact: Joretta Purdue ·(202) 546-8722·Washington

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church has taken no position on the
controversial nomination of former Sen. John Ashcroft to the post of U.S.
attorney general, contrary to remarks made Jan. 31 in the Senate, according
to a church agency.

In confirmation hearings, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said the church is one
of the groups that has opposed Ashcroft's nomination for attorney general.
Jim Winkler, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and
Society, immediately issued a statement pointing out that the church and its
official agencies have taken no stand on any of the nominations.

Only General Conference, the church's highest legislative body, can speak
for the denomination. The conference met last May, long before Ashcroft was
nominated, and will not meet again until 2004.

The Board of Church and Society, which serves as the denomination's social
justice agency, did consider opposing Ashcroft's nomination to the post but
has not taken a stance, Winkler said. The board is a member of three groups
that have opposed the nomination: the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights,
the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Religious Coalition for
Reproductive Choice. 

Ashcroft's nomination has stirred opposition from other lawmakers and groups
that view him as being too conservative. He is a former Republican senator,
governor and attorney general from Missouri.

The Methodist Federation for Social Action, an unofficial organization of
United Methodists, has also issued a statement opposing Ashcroft's
nomination. The group is a caucus within the denomination supported by its
membership, not the church.
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United Methodist News Service
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