What We're About

Posted: Dec 17, 2004 12:00 AM

Ever since the November elections, we?ve been hearing a lot of talk about the ?values voters? who made such an impact. There are many in this country who believe that ?values voters? are people to fear?that we just want to suppress everyone else?s point of view.

If you know someone who feels that way, I have a suggestion for you. Give that person a copy of Professor Allen Hertzke?s new book, Freeing God?s Children: The Unlikely Alliance for Global Human Rights. And while you?re at it, get a copy for yourself, because this is one book every Christian ought to read. No other recent book that I know of has explained so well how the expression of Christian views in the public square actually benefits the public good.

Hertzke explores how religious persecution?an issue that for years was largely ignored?has suddenly come to the forefront. He cites the Church?s role behind the Iron Curtain, a renewed emphasis on human rights by the Catholic Church after the second Vatican Council, and the emergence of a strong, active evangelical network as the reasons for why this has happened. Hertzke gives a detailed account of efforts by Christians to advance the cause of human rights. He goes so far as to write, ?One cannot understand international relations today without comprehending the new faith-based movement?a bold assertion but one that will be borne out in the coming years.?

Hertzke, who is on the faculty of the University  of Oklahoma, writes from behind the scenes. Over the last several years, he has sat in meetings, attended events, and interviewed activists. He gives a thrilling first-hand account of the campaign to stop slavery in the Sudan?yes, as BreakPoint listeners know, slavery has continued into the twenty-first century. But through the Wilberforce Forum, which he writes about, and other groups, pressure was brought to bring it to an end. Similarly, evangelical groups were behind the campaign to start bringing help to AIDS victims in Africa, something even the New York Times noted this past year. He talks further about how Christians, working with a Jewish lawyer, a former editor of the New York Times, and an odd alliance of conservatives and liberals, organized a campaign to stop sexual trafficking worldwide?one of the great abominations of modern times.

He focuses as well on the behind-the-scenes work of Christian groups to bring pressure on repressive governments like North Korea, which is brutally persecuting believers today. And he discusses how the new Christian movement is providing relief to believers and getting asylum to persecuted Christians?and much, much more.

I, for one, am tired of hearing people stereotype the so-called values voters as being narrow-minded, right-wing bigots, and dogmatic. Allen Hertzke gets it right in his new book; he describes what Christians do best in the public square: that is, putting Christ?s love for the least of these into practice. We do it at home, we do it around the world, we do it in prisons. This new movement is not only setting the captives free, as Christ taught us. It?s also?though most of the press has not noticed?changing the way the world looks at Christianity.

This book is a major accomplishment, because it documents what has heretofore been largely unrecognized, but is one of the most glorious chapters in the history of Christian activism and our passion for justice. I highly recommend Hertzke?s book?great, uplifting reading for the new year.

For further reading and information:

Today?s BreakPoint offer: Allen D. Hertzke, Freeing God?s Children: The Unlikely Alliance for Global Human Rights (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). Call 1-877-322-5527. Your donation toward BreakPoint helps continue our worldview ministry and Wilberforce Forum?s advocacy on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.

?A Responsible Approach to a Global AIDS Policy ,? Wilberforce Forum.

BreakPoint Commentary No. 031103, ? Mankind Is Our Business: Christians and Human Rights .?

BreakPoint Commentary No. 030514, ? Bringing Down the Numbers: The Global AIDS Bill .?

BreakPoint Commentary No. 040706, ? The Missing Factor: ?Fidelity Fix? .?

BreakPoint Commentary No. 030707, ? How Quickly They Forget: Christians in (and out of) the News .?

?A Compassionate Law: Signing the Sudan Peace Act ,? Wilberforce Forum, 22 October 2002 .

David K. Naugle, ? Genocide in Sudan: Why It?s Not Too Late to Act ,? BreakPoint WorldView, November 2004.

Visit BreakPoint?s resource and fact page on North Korea .

BreakPoint Commentary No. 040802, ? An Evil We Can?t Ignore: Human Trafficking .?

In this address to the UN General Assembly  in September, President Bush noted that we advocate on behalf of the poor and oppressed ?because we believe in human dignity.?

Gary Haugen, The Good News about Injustice  (InterVarsity, 1999).

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