Standing Firm

    One year ago, Americans were shocked and horrified when Islamic radicals murdered 3,000 of our citizens -- innocent people cherished by the families who lost them. Now imagine September 11 happening 666 times. Imagine two million Americans being killed by radical Islam -- then you'll have an idea of what the citizens of southern Sudan have endured at the hands of the Islamic North. To bring attention to this ongoing holocaust Christians around the country are coming to Washington this week to take part in "A Vigil for Sudan." At Galvez Park near the State Department, Christians are highlighting the unspeakable evil being visited upon our Christian brothers and sisters. Sudanese Christians are victims of slavery, rape, starvation, and torture. Two million and counting have been murdered by Sudan's radical Islamic government. Five million strong have been driven off their land. Here's our chance to stand with them. Former slaves will attend the vigil and tell their stories. Barbara Vogel, the Colorado school teacher who has inspired her classes to help the children of Sudan, will be there, along with recording artist Slater Armstrong and others. There will be special activities for children who want to show solidarity with the children of Sudan. The vigil is taking place now because for the first time in two decades, there is real hope for peace in Sudan. That hope is in the Sudan Peace Act. Both the House and Senate passed versions of the act last year. However, conference committee negotiations have broken down over the issue of capital market sanctions. Those sanctions would prevent foreign companies from trading their securities on U.S. stock exchanges if they were hand-in-glove with the Sudanese government in oil production. It is because of oil, you see, that the Sudanese government is bombing civilian targets in southern Sudan. Its goal is to force the indigenous Christian and animist peoples off oil-rich land. Human rights groups have been pressuring our leaders to jump-start the Sudan Peace Act before the end of the current legislative session, and there's a good chance that the act will find its way onto the Senate calendar this week. The capital sanctions amendment was replaced a few weeks ago when Senator Sam Brownback offered an amendment that would apply four "hammers" on the Sudanese government instead. The strongest hammer provides $100 million in non-military aid to southern Sudan if the Sudanese government doesn't reach a peace agreement within six months. If you live near Washington, I urge you to take part in the Sudan peace vigil, a great teaching opportunity for your kids. And I hope, as well, you will call your representative and senators and ask them to get behind the Sudan Peace Act. Call the White House -- ask that President Bush sign the act. The BreakPoint website offers more information on both the vigil and the legislation. And please, wherever you are, pray for the Sudanese people. Americans have lately come to understand the horror of living under the threat of attacks by radicals -- radicals who target the innocent. The vigil for Sudan is a reminder that even worse jihads are being visited on our fellow Christians, and we must stand with them. Take action: You can reach your representative and senators at the Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121. Write President Bush at: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20500. Or e-mail him at For further reading and information: Find out more about the "Stand Firm" vigil for Sudan taking place September 18-24, 2002. The Institute on Religion and Democracy also has further information on the event's agenda. Also read IRD's Sudan Vigil Quick Facts. Learn more about the Sudan Peace Act on BreakPoint's Sudan links and action page. BreakPoint commentary no. 020605, "An Envoy Reports and a Letter Is Sent: Signs of Hope for Sudan." Lisa Hess (Wilberforce Forum Summer Fellow) and Betsy Massopust, "Why We Are Going to Washington to Pray," Daily Princetonian, 16 September 2002. Read a message from fourth-grade teacher Barbara Vogel about the STOP (Slavery That Oppresses People) campaign and an interview conducted by David Rossini of the American Anti-Slavery Group. "Defenders of the Church," a "BreakPoint This Week" special with A. M. Rosenthal and Kristin Wright. Mindy Belz, "The Road to Damascus," World, 21 September 2002.


Chuck Colson


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