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

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9780742508040: Freeing God's Children: The Unlikely Alliance for Global Human Rights

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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About 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.

Review:

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. (Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University)

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. (Evangelical Missions Quarterly)

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. (Paul Marshall, scholar of religion, and author of Mystical Encounters with the Natural World Freedom House's Center For Religious Freedom)

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. (Luis Lugo, director, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life)

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. (Prism)

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. (Robert Wuthnow Princeton University)

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. (A James Reichley, Senior Fellow; Georgetown University; author of The Life of the Parties Georgetown University)

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. (National Review)

...excellent... (The Economist)

...groundbreaking... (Ambassador Marc Palmer, vice chairman, Freedom House)

This is one book every Christian ought to read. (Charles Colson Breakpoint Commentary)

Freeing God's Children is a book that every serious student of American politics and world affairs needs to read. (Foreign Affairs)

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. (Perspectives on Politics)

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. (Steven D. Wales, Senior Fellow of the American Freedom Center)

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. (Faith and International Affairs)

A tour de force account of activism on behalf of victims of religious oppression. (Theological Studies)

Why would liberal Jewish groups team up with conservative Pentecostals to fight human rights abuses? What issues might prompt the Catholic Church to work together with Tibetan Buddhists? In this engaging book, Hertzke, who teaches religion and political science at the University of Oklahoma, argues that 21st-century religious and political activism has made for some strange bedfellows. As religious persecution increases in Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world―and most of the West continues to ignore the mounting death toll―some courageous people have banded together to fight for activists and the victims of religious persecution, Hertzke explores the rise of unexpected religious alliances in the struggles against sex trafficking, persecution of Christians in Indonesia and elsewhere, atrocities in Sudan, and repression in Tibet. One startling trend that emerges is the new interest America's evangelical Christians have evinced in world issues. Hertzke paints a fascinating, and ultimately optimistic, picture of the way that individuals of many different religious backgrounds have chosen to work together on human rights issues. In doing so, he analyzes a neglected aspect of the paradigm shift in religion today, in which affiliation matters far less than ideological affinity. (Publishers Weekly)

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. (Charles Colson, Prison Fellowship)

With vivid stories of activists and victims, Hertzke takes the reader on a journy from the Sudanese bush to the halls of Washington Power. (Norman Transcript)

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. (A.M. Rosenthal, former Executive Editor, New York Times)

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. (David Neff Christianity Today)

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