By: E&P Staff
President Bush’s commencement speech at a Christian college in Grand Rapids, Mich., today was greeted by both cheers and a pair of newspaper ads protesting his appearance.
Bush asked the 900 seniors at Calvin College to commit themselves to community service. “This isn’t a Democratic idea,” Bush told the students, who greeted him warmly. “This isn’t a Republican idea. This is an American idea.”
But several dozen people protested outside the event, wearing buttons that said: “God is not a Republican or Democrat.”
A third of the college’s faculty members signed a letter protesting his visit, which was published Saturday in a half-page ad in the Grand Rapids Press. It said: “As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers and to initiate war only as a last resort. We believe your administration has launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq.”
Another letter of protest from students, faculty, and alumni appeared in a full-page ad in the paper on Friday. “In our view, the policies and actions of your administration, both domestically and internationally over the past four years, violate many deeply held principles of Calvin College,” read that ad.
The White House had asked if Bush could speak at the commencement. The only other commencement address he plans is at the U.S. Naval Academy this Friday.