Freeing God's Children: The Unlikely Alliance for Global Human Rights

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With the dawning of the 21st Century a new human rights movement burst unexpectedly onto the global stage. Initially motivated by concern for persecuted Christians around the world, unlikely alliances emerged, and the movement grew to encompass a broader quest for human rights. Now, American evangelicals provide grassroots muscle for causes joined by a wide array of activists—from Jews to Catholics, feminists to Pentecostals, African American leaders to Tibetan Buddhists—in the most important human rights movement since the end of the Cold War. Given unprecedented insider access, author Allen D. Hertzke charts the rise of this faith-based movement for global human rights and tells the compelling story of the personalities and forces, clashes and compromises, strategies and protests that shape it. In doing so, Hertzke shows that by bringing attention to issues like religious persecution, Sudanese atrocities, North Korean gulags, and sex trafficking, the movement is shaping American foreign policy and international relations in ways unimaginable a decade ago.
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Editorial Reviews

Evangelical Missions Quarterly
Allen Hertzke brings us a readable and interesting account of a recent and surprising phenomenon: conservative evangelicals engaging in the traditionally liberal arena of international humanitarian and human rights advocacy.
National Review
A true highlight of this fall book season... [Hertzke's] book is an inspiring chronicle of faith's making a difference in public life, and of the beginnings of a movement whose significance has barely begun to be appreciated.
Foreign Affairs
Freeing God's Children is a book that every serious student of American politics and world affairs needs to read.
Perspectives On Politics
The study provides a compelling and often riveting story of how a faith-based movement has helped to establish a new human rights foreign policy architecture.
Philip Jenkins
In this eloquent and thoughtful book, Allen Hertzke offers an enlightening survey of the new politics of human rights, and shows how religious activism has been translated into practical politics. This is a noteworthy study of how social movements work.
Freedom House's Center For Religious Freedom - Paul Marshall
In lively prose, Freeing God's Children details the growth of one of the most significant, and ignored, developments in recent U.S. foreign policy, the growth of a large, religion based human rights movement. The story it tells shows how religion shapes American politics in ways not envisaged by either its admirers or detractors, and how foreign policy cannot be interpreted apart from religion. Its lessons need urgently to be digested in order to accelerate the too slowly growing realization that, without understanding religion, we cannot understand international politics.
Luis Lugo
How did American evanglicals and Jews join together to become one of the most powerful human rights lobbies? Hertzke combines solid research, perceptive analysis and eloquent prose to provide a definitive answer. For anyone wishing to understand how religion is reshaping the U.S. foreign policy agenda—often in surprising ways—this book is a must read.
Hertzke's book is a must-read for any person of faith interested in the role and promise of the church in the global human rights movement.
Princeton University - Robert Wuthnow
Allen Hertzke has struck paydirt with a riveting book that tells an engaging story about religious activists in the public arena. This is more than a story about singular or short-lived development. It suggests that America's 'new world order'—like that of world powers in the past—is more influenced by religion than realpolitick and trade statistics would suggest. The story is well told; the implications are profound.
Georgetown University - A James Reichley
Freeing God's Children is a first-rate work of investigative scholarship, combining impeccable research, skilled reporting, a compelling narrative, and eloquent advocacy for religious freedom. It is one of those rare books likely to make a real difference in the formation of public policy.
Ambassador Mark Palmer
Breakpoint Commentary - Charles Colson
Well researched, well written, this is a must read for those who want to understand what an American president is doing jawboning the UN on sexual trafficking.
Steven D. Wales
This book is one-of-a-kind, the sine qua non on the subject. Without it, the uninitiated cannot fully comprehend current human rights struggles. Freeing God's Children is a systematic chronicle of a profound and effective movement. This book is as deep as Washington politics get, and as broad as any spy thriller, taking the reader to Burma, Israel, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Tiananmen Square, and dozens of other far-flung locales, along with one extraordinary stop in Midland, Texas. Hertzke's book is an attempt to sing an epic song. Hertzke sings it well.
Faith and International Affairs
The prose is clear and accessible. . . Although the jury is still out on the wisdom and efficacy of policies that tie human rights to U.S. foreign policy, Freeing God's Children is a helpful resource in this debate. Indeed, this book should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand more about the complexity of lawmaking and the nexus between religion and politics.
Norman Transcript
With vivid stories of activists and victims, Hertzke takes the reader on a journy from the Sudanese bush to the halls of Washington Power.
former New York Times Executive Editor
Whether you are a Christian or of almost any other religion, I think you will finish the book determined to do more to ease the suffering and murder of persecuted Christians.
Christianity Today - David Neff
Hertzke's book is a call to sanctified pragmatism, negotiation, and cooperation. And for those who fear the world is beyond rescue or improvement, Hertzke sounds a call to patient, persistent action.
A.M. Rosenthal
Whether you are a Christian or of almost any other religion, I think you will finish the book determined to do more to ease the suffering and murder of persecuted Christians.
Perspectives on Politics
The study provides a compelling and often riveting story of how a faith-based movement has helped to establish a new human rights foreign policy architecture.
Hertzke's book is a must-read for any person of faith interested in the role and promise of the church in the global human rights movement.
Ambassador Marc Palmer
The Economist
Theological Studies
A tour de force account of activism on behalf of victims of religious oppression.
Foreign Affairs
The rising influence of conservative religious groups in U.S. foreign policy is one of the most important trends in the last 20 years; Freeing God's Children is the best available account of this historic development. Hertzke portrays the rise of the religious right in foreign policy by looking at the success it has had in using sustained activism to force sometimes reluctant presidents and diplomats to take on a handful of key issues, including rights of religious believers, slavery and religious oppression in Sudan, and sexual trafficking. In his blow-by-blow account of the political and legislative struggles on these issues, Hertzke provides a comprehensive intellectual and political portrait of a movement that is reshaping American politics. Ultimately, Hertzke's sympathetic (although by no means uncritical) narrative is an optimistic one. Many observers fear that the resurgence of conservative Protestantism in American life will lead to a rigid and unrealistic foreign policy, but Hertzke believes—and to some degree demonstrates—that the process of engagement is a process of education. Conservative Protestants, he notes, have learned to make alliances with secular human rights activists, liberal and conservative Jews, Muslims, Roman Catholics, and liberal "mainstream" Protestants. Freeing God's Children is a book that every serious student of American politics and world affairs needs to read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742508040
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/15/2004
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 6.92 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

An internationally recognized expert on religion and politics, Allen D. Hertzke is professor of political science and director of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma. A frequent news commentator, Hertzke has been featured in such outlets as The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Weekly Standard, BBC World Service, PBS, and National Public Radio. Dr. Hertzke has lectured at the National Press Club, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, and before numerous audiences in China.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Herod's Challenge Chapter 2 Their Blood Cries Out Chapter 3 The Barriers of Babel Chapter 4 Prepare Ye the Way Chapter 5 He Sent a Jew Chapter 6 The Hand of Providence in Congress Chapter 7 Gentle as Doves, Cunning as Serpents in the Sudan Battle Chapter 8 Go Forth
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