I’m Outta Here

  Dominic Mohamad was on his way to a family wedding in Khartoum, Sudan, when he heard the terrible news over the radio. Government troops had burst into the Sudanese home where the wedding reception was taking place and shot 99 men, women, and children. According to Sudan's Muslim government, the victims were anti-government rebels, right down to the youngest child. The truth is, they were Christians—targets of the government's campaign to exterminate them. Over recent weeks I've been talking a lot about persecution around the globe. Worldwide, some 200 million Christians are being persecuted for their faith: pastors murdered, women raped, children sold into slavery. Every year, an estimated 160,000 Christians are martyred—and the real scandal is that our government is providing aid to or doing business with many of the countries that perpetrate these bloody acts. This is unconscionable. To call our own leaders to moral accountability, Congressman Frank Wolf and others have been working with the religious community to pass the Freedom from Religious Persecution Act. This Act would outlaw giving technical assistance to countries that use that assistance to persecute people for their faith. The Act is a modest first step, and when it was introduced, the Republican leadership enthusiastically got behind it. It appeared that the bill would sail right through, despite the opposition of the Clinton administration. But then the lobbyists got into the act, representing industries with big money at stake. They saw the bill as a threat to, for example, soft drink companies that obtain their gum arabic from Sudan. Suddenly, the Republican leadership became silent. Enthusiasm waned. Nobody could be sure when or even if the vote would be scheduled. So now we come to the real question: Are our political leaders willing to do what it takes to get this bill passed? Do they care enough about the fact that Christians are being persecuted—or do they care only about big business with their financial PACs? My friend Jim Dobson recently gave a speech in which he angrily denounced the fact that the Republican Party has made a lot of promises to moral conservatives which it hasn't kept. Jim is right. Republican leaders have often courted our votes at election time, and then failed to deliver. The persecution bill will be up for a vote soon, we hope, and it will bring Dobson's point hurtling home like a thunderbolt. If Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott don't demand that we stop propping up people who are killing pastors and selling Christians into slavery, then can anyone really say that they care about the moral agenda in this country? Moral conservatives will be entitled to say, "Dobson's right. This is not a leadership worthy of our support." This is the real litmus test for the Republican Party—whether they care more about moral truth than about big business, whether they're willing to defend the very principles upon which this country was founded—including our deep commitment to human rights. The moment this broadcast is over, I want you to fax or call or write your member of Congress. And send a letter to Republican leaders in the House and the Senate, and to the Republican National Committee. Tell them they must pass the Freedom from Religious Persecution Act. And tell them, as well, that Christians measure their political leaders by their character—which means not just making promises at election time, but having the courage to stick with them.


Chuck Colson


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