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Thirty Million Evangelicals Call for Immediate Intervention in Sudan

Now is . . . the time for the United States government to take a more decisive role to prevent further slaughter and death.
( [email protected] ) Aug 03, 2004 01:58 PM EDT

Thirty-five leaders from the Evangelical front signed onto a letter that urged President George W. Bush to take “decisive action to prevent further slaughter and death” in the Dafur region of Sudan, August 2, 2004. The brief letter noted the lack of serious action by the Security Council of the United Nations to halt what has already been deemed “genocide” by both U.S. congressional houses, and thus called for immediate intervention by the U.S. government.


“It's our judgment that deteriorating circumstances and obstruction, indeed complicity, by the Khartoum regime now necessitates additional actions by the United States government,” the letter began. “Now is . . . the time for the United States government to take a more decisive role to prevent further slaughter and death.”

Political observers note that as a main voter base for Bush, the Evangelical voice has had much influence in shaping the foreign policies of the current administration. In recent years, evangelicals have helped initiate major governmental actions in combating HIV/AIDS, human trafficking and religious persecution internationally.

Most of the past evangelical actions have been focused on halting violence against Christians in southern Sudan and deliberating peace talks between Christian rebels and the Islamic government in the nation. The situation in Darfur, however, differs in that the genocide is being made against the mostly Muslim population in the region; some 300,000 Black Muslims have been slaughtered and 1 million re-located from their homes in the past 14 months.

"We view this as an opportunity to reach out to Muslims in the name of Jesus," the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), said. "Christian people are appalled by this kind of genocide, and we don't want it taking place in our generation."

At that end, the evangelical leaders, collectively representing over 30 million Americans, urged for three immediate steps of government action:

(1) Authorize massive humanitarian aid to protect the highly endangered civilian populations displaced in Darfur;

(2) Authorize active exploration of all plausible intervention options in order to stop the killing;

(3) Authorize a serious multinational effort to remove Sudan from membership on the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

"If, as is true, the United States government cannot end all evil in a large and complex world, it can nonetheless immediately adopt policies that limit today's persecutions and ensure greater fulfillment of inalienable and internationally recognized rights to freedom of belief and conscience,” NAE’s Haggard said.

Meanwhile, the leaders called on their churches and related ministries to “give generously to the relief agencies active in the Darfur region of Sudan.”

Those signing onto the letter included officials of the NAE and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Assemblies of God, Church of the Nazarene and other related ministries and denominations. Several relief groups, seminaries and evangelical publications also signed the August 2 letter.

The following is the full text of the letter as released by the NAE:

August 2, 2004

The Honorable George W. Bush

President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We commend you for your commitment to fostering democracy, religious freedom and human rights. We believe that your leadership on the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan -- including sending Secretary of State Colin Powell to the region -- has been appropriate thus far. It is our judgment that deteriorating circumstances and obstruction, indeed complicity, by the Khartoum regime now necessitate additional actions by the United States government.

The decision of the United States Congress [S. Con. Res. 124; H. Con. Res. 427] urging the Administration to call the atrocities being committed in Darfur, Sudan by their rightful name -- genocide -- is consistent with what evangelical relief and development agencies are reporting from the region. We agree with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum which has named the Darfur crisis a "full-fledged genocide emergency," the first such warning in the museum's history.

It is imperative for your administration to take additional clear action. We represent organizations which led efforts to enact these ground-breaking human rights initiatives: the International Religious Freedom Act, Sudan Peace Act, Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and just last week House passage of the North Korea Freedom Act. Your Administration's goal -- to redefine our national interest not as power but as values, and to identify one supreme value, what John Kennedy called "the success of liberty" -- could be jeopardized by not taking a strong enough position on Sudan's genocidal behavior. The World Health Organization estimates that ten thousand people are dying each month and that a catastrophe equivalent to what occurred in Rwanda a decade ago could unfold within weeks.


Americans, especially tapping our resources within the religious and non-governmental community, must act quickly to alleviate this crisis. As representatives of our 51 denominations and 45,000 churches, we are urging our churches and related para-church ministries to give generously to the relief and development agencies active in the Darfur, and encouraging other national alliances in the World Evangelical Alliance to do same. Our agencies are willing to work with any and all international bodies, including the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, to alleviate the suffering. We are already consulting with the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, Tony P. Hall.

Now is also the time for the United States government to take a more decisive role to prevent further slaughter and death. It is irresponsible to expect that the Government of Sudan, which has backed the Janjaweed militia, to restore peace in the Darfur. Since Khartoum can not be counted on to provide security, others must lead the way. In sum, we urge your swift action authorizing:

(1) Massive humanitarian aid to protect the highly endangered civilian populations displaced in Darfur. Thus far, collective financial contributions by the European Union are very small and may require that our own government increase its commitment to fill the gap; (2) Active exploration of all available intervention options -- including sending troops to Darfur as has been proposed by the United Kingdom and Australia -- in order to stop the killing. One option short of military intervention would be dramatic expansion of the efforts of the African Union Protection Force by providing its soldiers and monitors with much-needed equipment and resources, toward the goal of securing humanitarian relief corridors; and (3) A serious multinational effort within the United Nations to remove Sudan from membership on the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Sudan's genocidal policies make its continued participation on that body a travesty. Its removal would be an important step toward restoring integrity and strength to international human rights advocacy.

A litmus test of Sudan's willingness to restore peace would be the removal of all obstacles to aid distribution, including the granting of visas to aid workers; a decision to stop providing air cover to the militia; and the arrest and prosecution of Sheik Musa Hilel, the Commander of the Janjaweed militia in Sudan.

In statements adopted in 1996 and in 2002, the NAE has urged governmental action to stop religious and other forms of persecution, such as the "ethnic cleansing" taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan: "If, as is true, the United States government cannot end all evil in a large and complex world, it can nonetheless immediately adopt policies that limit today's persecutions and ensure greater fulfillment of inalienable and internationally recognized rights to freedom of belief and conscience."

As stated in these historic documents, which led to a prairie fire of concern for human rights and passage of ground-breaking legislation, we "vow never to commit the sin of silence whenever we learn of persecution."

Sincerely, the undersigned,


Ted Haggard

President

National Association of Evangelicals

Richard Cizik

Vice President for Governmental Affairs

National Association of Evangelicals

Gary Edmonds

General Secretary

World Evangelical Alliance

Diane Knippers

President

Institute on Religion and Democracy

David Neff

Editor

Christianity Today

Ambassador Robert Seiple

Chairman of the Board

Institute for Global Engagement

Robert Andringa

President

Council for Christian Colleges and Universities

Peter Vander Meulen

Coordinator of Social Justice and Hunger Action

Christian Reformed Church

Paul F. Yaggy

OC International

Steve Beard

Editor

Good News

Peter Borgdorff

Executive Director of Ministries

Christian Reformed Church

Stephen E. Freed

President

IT USA

Ann J. Buwalda

Director

Jubilee Campaign

Richard J. Mouw

President and Professor of Christian Philosophy

Fuller Theological Seminary

Johan Candelin

Goodwill Ambassador

World Evangelical Alliance

Bernard Evans

President

Elim Fellowship

Richard Snyder

Bishop

Free Methodist Church of North America

David Rambo

Director

Beeson International Leaders Program

Asbury Theological Seminary

Robert E. Cooley

President Emeritus

Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

Randall Bell

Associate Director

Association for Biblical Higher Education

Edward L. Foggs

Minister at Large/Interchurch Relations

Church of God Ministries

Harry Thomas

President

Come Alive Ministries and Creation Festivals

Kenneth D. Hunn

Executive Director

The Brethren Church

Paul Edwards

President

Paul Edwards Consulting

James W. Skillen

President

Center for Public Justice

William Hamel

President

Evangelical Free Church of America

M. Donald Duncan

Vice Chairman of the IPHC

Executive Director of World Missions Ministries

Thomas E. Trask

General Superintendent

General Council of the Assemblies of God

Clyde M. Hughes

Bishop

International Pentecostal Holiness Church

Don Argue

President

Northwest College

Paul de Vries

President

New York Divinity School

Winnie Bartel

Executive Director

WEA Women's Commission

Don Lyon

President

Illinois State Director

Paul McKaughan

President

Evangelical Fellowship of Mission Agencies

B. Edgar Johnson

General Secretary (Ret.)

Church of the Nazarene

Glen Stassen

Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics

Fuller Theological Seminary

Roger Parrott

President

Belhaven College and Executive Director, Lausanne

Carl A. Moeller

President/CEO

Open Doors

Michael J. Nyenhuis

President/CEO

MAP International

Samuel B. Casey

Executive Director& CEO Christian Legal Society

Co-Chair, Advocates International

Samuel E. Ericsson

Advocates International

Janice Shaw Crouse

Senior Fellow, The Beverly LaHaye Institute

Concerned Women for America

Rob Schenck

President

National Clergy Council

David C. Brown

Chairman of the Board

Evangelical Child & Family Agency

Bill Vermillion

General Superintendent

Evangelical Church of North America

Hudson T. Armerding

Minister at Large

Officers Christian Fellowship

Eddison G. Brooker

President

Florida State Director