MEMORIAL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
White Plains, New York 10605
A Three-Month Sermon Series
Trying to Scratch Where the Congregation Itches
Do We Have to Love Bin Laden and Bush?
Rev. Joe Agne
Nov. 11, 2007
The Question from a Memorial member or friend:
“Do We Have to Love Osama Bin Laden and George W. Bush?”
When I was very young, I used to go to our living room alone each year on November 11 at 11 a.m. and
watch on television the laying of the wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It really intrigued me
– the music, the ceremony, the justice of an unknown person being recognized.
The gift from me my mother appreciated most when I was in high school was the United States flag I bought
for her on her 50th birthday. I hung in on our home.
Two persons I went to college with died during the Vietnam War. One, and a close friend, flunked out of
school and died within the year. The other, an officer, died a short time later. Many times I have traced their
names in the Vietnam War Memorial.
In seminary I wrote a paper called, “The Selective Service System and the Prophet Isaiah,” which resourced
my decision to turn in my draft card during a seminary worship service and resist the U.S. military. The
sermon I preached announcing my decision was titled, “Giving Toys to the Children Riding Trains to Aus-
On the first day of the war against Iraq, four persons from Memorial UMC were arrested blocking the U.S.
Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, from entering the United States Mission at the U.N. I
was one of them. On the first Sunday of this war I asked the congregation to pray for Saddam Hussein and
George W. Bush. One of you told me you would never pray for Saddam Hussein. Another said you would
never pray for George Bush.
We have relatives and friends who have been and are soldiers in Iraq. We are supportive of U.S. soldiers
and the people of Iraq. We have a flag which flew over a Virginia Air National Guard helicopter in Iraq. The
crew gave it