From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Episcopalians: Presiding Bishop's letter to former President George Bush
Fri, 31 Jan 2003 18:20:53 -0500
January 31, 2003
Episcopalians: Presiding Bishop's letter to former President
January 30, 2003
The Hon. George H.W. Bush
P.O. Box 79798
Houston, TX 77279
Dear President Bush:
Today I made a statement following the President's State of the
Union Address which articulates my sense of encouragement in his
bold proposal to combat HIV/AIDS, my prayers for him and our
armed forces in these anxious days, and my very strong hope that
actions toward Iraq be made only in concert with the United
Nations Security Council. I will not repeat those thoughts
As I said in my private correspondence to you today, this letter
is intended to serve as a public response to your comments in a
recent televised interview.
My comments were taken out of a larger context and had to do
with my international travels as Presiding Bishop and my
opportunities to meet with bishops and archbishops in other part
of our worldwide Anglican Communion many in countries
overwhelmed by poverty and disease. Sadly, they look upon the
United States, and on me as sign and symbol of the Episcopal
Church in the United States, with deep hostility. It is only
when I apologize for or explain what they perceive as our
unilateralist and self-serving ways which ignore the needs and
suffering of their nations that we are able to enter into a
relationship of mutual care and understanding.
It is difficult for a bishop in Kenya who has taken in 20
children who have been orphaned when their parents died of AIDS
to understand the U.S. position with respect to pharmaceutical
companies and the desperate need for low cost generic drugs. I
note here that the proposal of 15 billion dollars to be spent on
HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean (I am writing to you from
Santo Domingo) is a wonderful and positive sign that we are
indeed the deeply caring and generous nation I have always
believed us to be.
It is my experience that we in the United States have open and
generous hearts, and are ready to respond to suffering in other
parts of the world. Our national policies need to be grounded in
that generous spirit. Our leaders need to appeal to our better
natures, and not simply to our fears about our own welfare.
"To whom much has been given, much will be required," Jesus
tells us. And we, as a nation, have been given much indeed.
Therefore, we must be led by more than our perceptions of our
national interests and pay close attention to the concerns of
our global community.
Be assured of my constant prayers for our nation and its
leaders, particularly your son.
The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate
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