The Boston Globe took a crack at an under-reported story today--the role that Evangelical Christians have played in shaping US foreign policy towards places like Sudan.

Here's the lead:

Days before George W. Bush was elected president, he took a break from his harried campaigning in Florida to have breakfast with evangelist Franklin Graham, whose father, Billy, inspired Bush to ''recommit" his life to Christ.

The candidate and the minister prayed together, and Graham made one request: ''Governor, if you become president, I hope you put Sudan on your radar."

Months later, Charles Colson, the Watergate figure who is also a born-again Christian, conveyed the same message to Bush adviser Karl Rove: Remember Sudan.

Such quiet diplomacy, tinged with religious fervor, helped elevate Sudan to a top foreign policy priority for the Bush administration, which worked to end a two-decade civil war between the Muslim north and the mostly Christian south. Separately, the administration last month declared the killings in the country's Darfur region a ''genocide."

The Globe piece underestimates the role that Evangelicals played in getting $15 billion in AIDS funding approved--while some are unhappy that the funds have come slowly--only 4.5 billion over the last two years instead of 6 billion (an average of 3 billion a year)--this president has spent more on AIDS than his predecessors. Bill Clinton did not pay attention to the AIDS pandemic the way Bush has.

The piece misses one other crucial connection--the motivation behind Evangelical's concern for Sudan. One factor is likely the face to face connection with Sudan that churches have experienced by helping resettle refugees--you could argue that the Lost Boys of Sudan are helping to save their country by putting a human face on the conflict.

Sudan and the AIDS conflict are the kind of social justice issues that Evangelicals understand--they may not see why God might care about fair taxes--but when they hear about sick people or mass murders, they respond.

Consider this--know anybody who was in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. I know three of them--all of them Christian missionaries. Two doctors, and one engineer who was installing a water purification system, so people in a refugee camp could have clean water. There was no prostelyzing--just lending a helping hand.


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