Not Found in the History Books

This is a story I heard years ago from a bishop. I have no way of confirming the veracity of the story, but it is a story that makes me proud of the Episcopal Church. During the tenure of Episcopal Presiding Bishop, Frank Griswold, the 9/11 conflict began. George W. Bush was the US president at the time.

While President Bush had grown up an Episcopalian, he married a Methodist and attended a Methodist church after marriage. But after the World Trade Center was destroyed and in the planning for the war on Iraq (remember those weapons of mass destruction that were never found?), President Bush decided to visit Presiding Bishop Griswold to seek support from the Episcopal Church for the war he was about to launch.

President Bush traveled to New York and spent some time with Bishop Griswold making his case for war. Bishop Griswold listened attentively. President Bush concluded his presentation and asked the bishop, “Can I have your support?” To which Bishop Griswold replied without hesitation, “With all due respect, sir, two wrongs do not make a right.” President Bush left infuriated. The “shock and awe” phase of the war was launched within days.

From time to time, we are called to stand up to power and speak the truth even if doing so is futile. Thank you, Bishop Griswold, for your wisdom and courage. Thank you to the Episcopal Church for holding a candle of truth up to a hurricane. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:16)

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