Gary Haugen is president and CEO of International Justice Mission (IJM), an international human-rights organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. IJM "is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators, and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators, and to promote functioning public justice systems." Haugen is author of Good News About Injustice, Terrify No More, and, most recently, Just Courage: God's Great Expedition for the Restless Christian (InterVarsity, 2008). Stan Guthrie, CT managing editor for special projects, interviewed Haugen.
With your new book, Just Courage, what do you hope to accomplish?
I am hoping American Christians will be infused with a great sense of hope in trying to engage justice issues around the world. We are trying to equip and empower Christians to think about injustice with the eyes and hope of Christ, to be able to look at it with courage. What I see is Christians preoccupied and discouraged by their own fears.
Fears of what?
All manner of things: they are afraid of what's going to happen to their kids, what's going to happen in the culture, what's going to happen to their material situation.
With the financial crisis, that seems like a valid fear.
But Christians are not supposed to live in fear. What people seem to find in International Justice Mission, in the stories of what my colleagues are actually doing in the field, is a picture of Christian faith that is liberated from fear. They think, As a follower of Jesus, maybe I can be liberated both from fears and from the triviality of some of those fears.1