Alan Cooperman, Washington Post Staff Writer, Tuesday, August 3, 2004; Page A13
Thirty-five evangelical Christian leaders have signed a letter urging President Bush to provide massive humanitarian aid and consider sending U.S. troops to stop what they called the “genocide” taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan.
The Aug. 1 letter marks a shift in focus for the evangelical movement, which previously was interested primarily in halting violence against Christians in southern Sudan. The victims in Darfur, a western province, are mostly Muslim.
“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, said yesterday. “Christian people are appalled by this kind of genocide, and we don’t want it taking place in our generation.”
Evangelicals are part of Bush’s political base, and because his reelection may depend on whether they turn out at the polls, the letter adds a domestic political element to an international humanitarian crisis.
In the past, evangelical Christian activism has helped spur the Bush White House into major efforts to combat HIV-AIDS, to fight the international trafficking of women and to champion peace talks between Christian rebels in southern Sudan and the Islamic government in Khartoum, the capital.
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