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Evangelicals are the new internationalists, says The New York Times' Kristof
"America's evangelicals have become the newest internationalists," says Nicholas D. Kristof in today's New York Times. "The old religious right … [which tried] to battle Satan with school prayers and right-to-life amendments, is on the ropes. It is being succeeded by evangelicals who are using their growing clout to skewer China and North Korea, to support Israel, to fight sexual trafficking in Eastern Europe and slavery in Sudan, and, increasingly, to battle AIDS in Africa."
Kristof, a Times columnist who regularly writes on foreign affairs, likes what he sees. "While the old religious right was destructive when it launched the cultural wars, the new internationalists are saving lives in some of the most forgotten parts of the world." He laments that "a simple-minded moralistic streak often leads them toward sanctions that would hurt precisely the people they aim to help," and says evangelicals are wrong for trying to freeze the U.N.'s population fund. But at the end of the day, he says, "this new constituency for foreign affairs in Middle America" is a good thing. "I've lost my cynicism about evangelical groups partly because I've seen them at work abroad."
It's an interesting article that's likely to be forwarded around a lot of evangelical organizations today, but it's important to realize just how limited Kristof's view is. Many evangelicals and those who watch them would likely question his assertions that the old religious right is on the ropes, that there's that much of a difference between the domestically minded and internationalist evangelicals (see, for example, the story of Gary Bauer), and that Christian aid and relief organizations ...1