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Strong piece in the most recent issue of First Things:

Indeed, the administration’s mixed signals, alternately condemning and lauding the regime, have done little to rein in the Janjaweed marauders who keep the Darfur people from leaving fetid camps to plant crops and rebuild their shattered villages. And one reason the administration has not acted more forcefully is that the potent Christian groups involved in foreign affairs—those who anchored the religious coalition that compelled results in southern Sudan with unity and toughness—have been fragmented in their response to Darfur. This fact tarnishes the achievement in the south, and the stain will fall most heavily on the evangelical world. Born-again Christians in America, it will be said, care more about the deaths of their fellow believers in the south than about the deaths of Muslims in the west.

Given its special access to the White House and its grassroots muscle, the evangelical community remains uniquely situated to mobilize against what President Bush himself has described as “genocide in Darfur.” As one insider explained, “If evangelicals are not prioritizing it, then the administration will not prioritize it.” But the nation’s evangelicals should prioritize it. Even without sending American troops to the region, forceful and moral options remain. The administration can stop sending mixed messages, mount a determined effort to expand and empower African Union forces, add U.S. logistical support, secure more aid, and massively increase diplomatic and economic pressure.

And to make all this happen—to halt the rape and murder of Darfur—the vital element is action from the American religious community.

As startling as that "insider’s" statement is, there is much more in this piece – it’s a good, thorough examination of the situation in Sudan, going back to the genocide in the south, and explaining how that situation impacts the administration’s – and the religious community’s  – far more muted response to Darfur. (aside from the fact that those being harmed in Darfur are Sufi Muslims – not Christians.)

And since this new article is up, that means the the last issue is available online, in full.

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