August 7, 2004
Should America Stop
Genocide in Sudan?
Forty-six evangelical Christian leaders have signed a
letter to President Bush urging him to send "massive humanitarian aid" to the Darfur region of the Sudan where Congress charges a genocide is going
on, and to consider "sending troops...to stop the killing."
This is a distinct shift of emphasis for the National
Association of Evangelicals, who
represent 30 million Americans most likely to support the President. In the past, the NAE
successfully pushed the Administration into ground-breaking human rights
initiatives such as $15 billion of AIDS relief, the Trafficking Victims
Protection Act and to halt violence between Muslims and Christians in
However, the victims in Darfur are Muslim. "We view
this as an opportunity to reach out to Muslims in the name of Jesus," said
the Rev. Ted Haggard, NAE president.
Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Sudan recently
to urge the Khartoum regime to
halt its arming of a civilian militia called Janjaweed who have destroyed
Darfur villages, raped tens of thousands of women and slaughtered 30,000
men, women and children. The terrorism has so frightened residents
that 1.2 million have fled their homes to isolated tent refugee camps on the
The U.S. Agency for International Development
characterizes the crisis in Darfur as the "worst humanitarian crisis in the
world today" that could lead to the deaths of 300,000 Sudanese refugees due
to starvation, disease or ethnic cleansing violence. So far, few aid
agencies have been able to penetrate the region due to continuing violence.
The few groups who are there: CARE, World Vision, AID,
have sent back alarming
reports of impending starvation and mass death.
Evangelicals wrote to the President, "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.
"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
What has been the Administration's response? It
has increased its relief assistance to $146 million, but has failed to
enlist other nations to help. The entire European Union has pledged a
niggardly $13 million. Last week prodded by America, the UN Security
Council sent Sudan a warning that it might face sanctions if it did not stop
the Janjaweed militia within 30 days.
Golly. Khartoum sneered at that failure to take serious
action by mobilizing 100,000
Muslim demonstrators on Sunday against the "Crusaders" threatening their
That action galvanized the evangelicals to demand that
the U.S. government take a more decisive role to prevent further "slaughter
NAE urged "massive humanitarian aid," of at least $100
million more, if the Europeans won't pony up. More important, NAE
urged "active exploration of (ital) all (cl ital) available interventions
options including sending troops to Darfur as has been proposed
by the United Kingdom and Australia." It noted 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." Today those troops lack walkie talkies, let
alone significant troops or arms.
The heads of such denominations as the Assemblies of
God, the Christian Reformed Church, Free Methodists and the Evangelical Free
Church joined seminary and college presidents and the editor of Christianity
Today in demanding that Sudan be kicked off the UN Human Rights Commission,
that Sudan grant visas to aid workers, and that it arrest and prosecute
Sheif Musa Hilel, a former bank robber and killer who leads the Janjaweed
NAE concluded, "If...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....We vow never to commit the sin of
silence whenever we learn of persecution."
America could earn new respect among the world's
Muslims by standing up to a bully who is slaughtering them.
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