Friday, September 30, 2005

The Daniel of Religious Rights - Christianity Today Magazine

The Daniel of Religious Rights - Christianity Today Magazine:
"In the Longworth House office building on Capitol Hill, on an unusually warm April afternoon, Nina Shea is moving to the drumbeat of a southern Sudanese Shilluk tribal dance. The typically reserved, influential director of the Center for Religious Freedom (CRF) at Freedom House is with a broad coalition of clergy, congressional representatives, human-rights activists, and Sudanese war survivors. They are celebrating the January signing of Sudan's comprehensive North-South peace agreement.

Shea and the coalition she helped assemble have been pushing for agreement for more than a decade. The 22-year genocidal jihad waged by the ruling National Islamic Front against Sudan's predominantly Christian and animist South has ended. But Shea and others say they will not rest until peace is restored to Darfur, where a second genocide rages on...."

I posted a few days ago on an article on The Shame of Darfur, an article from First Things, that contrasted the quickness of Evangelicals to address Christian persecution with the relative lack of response to persecution of other religions. The current Christianity Today article shows that Christians ARE engaged in the issue of Darfur, if not to the extent that they should be.

Nina Shea's story is an interesting one. Her faith journey took her from a Catholic upbringing, to falling away from the Church, and back to a strong faith. Her activism on behalf of human rights began in high school and has continued to the present day. She worked for a while for the International League for Human Rights and traveled in Central America where she investigated human rights violations in El Salvador and Nicaragua. During what she called her "secular years", she encountered a double standard when she was pressured to suppress a report on Sandanista human rights violations. During this time of disillusionment with the Left, she grew spiritually, began to see the importance of the Church in areas of oppression, and grew to realize that the Church was being persecuted and that few people seemed to care.

A favorite Biblical passage for her is the story of Daniel in the lion's den -- where God sends an angel to close the mouths of the lions. That story and the parable of the Good Samaritan drives her to service to others, extending the love of Jesus to those in need regardless of whether they are Christians or not.

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