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Conservative, Progressive Evangelicals Unite Against Darfur Genocide

Conservative, Progressive Evangelicals Unite Against Darfur Genocide

WASHINGTON – Conservative and progressive evangelical leaders, who traditionally differ on many issues, united in solidarity for Darfur on Wednesday.

Prominent Christian leaders representing some of the largest evangelical bodies in the world emphasized that although they may disagree on politics and other issues, they “agreed, most assuredly, strongly, [and] affirmatively” when it comes to Darfur, according to the Rev. Richard Cizik, vice-president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals.

“Those of us who are speaking have not often spoken together on very many matters. But on this we are coming together because of our faith,” said Jim Wallis, the head of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, the nation’s largest progressive Christian network.

Supporters of the “Evangelicals for Darfur” campaign have issued a joint appeal to President Bush to do “whatever is necessary” to press for the deployment of a multinational, U.N.–backed peacekeeping force in Darfur.

“This is really a profound moral test for the world community. We just cannot allow the 21st century to begin with the kind of genocide that the 20th century ended with in Rwanda,” said Richard Land, the president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination.

Land said that without the multi-national, U.N. peace-keeping force, the genocide will continue.

“We have come together in this extraordinary coalition of completely across the evangelical spectrum to say, ‘Mr. President, we will do everything we can to rally support…to help you rally the support that is necessary to put pressure on Khartoum to cause them to allow this to happen or, if necessary, to defy the genocide or the government of Khartoum and make it possible for a multi-national force to be put on the ground to stop this genocide,’” the Southern Baptist leader stated.

The Darfur genocide by the Arab-dominated Khartoum government against the ethnic African people of Darfur has resulted in more than 400,000 people killed and 2.5 million displaced. The Sudanese government is accused of supporting arms and supplies to Arab militiamen known as “Janjaweed” who are responsible for the atrocities.

“Every passing day, Khartoum gets closer to its goal which is the ethnic cleansing of Darfur…we cannot say that we didn’t know. And knowing, we have a moral imperative to act,” concluded Land.

The “Evangelical for Darfur” campaign is running print ads alongside radio ads calling for a meeting with President Bush to discuss the deployment of U.N. peacekeeping force to Darfur. The ad, which reads “Without you, Mr. President, Darfur doesn’t have a prayer,” is endorsed by evangelical leaders including Bishop Charles Blake, senior pastor of West Angeles Church of God in Christ; the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; the Rev. Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Church and leader of Willow Creek Association; the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Jr., president of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; and the Rev. Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of World Evangelical Alliance.