Building a Religious Constituency for International Law

by Peter Spiro

The Boston Globe is running a multi-part story on how the Bush Administration is channeling increasing amounts of foreign aid through faith-based organizations, allegedly breaching the church-state divide in the process.

However the constitutional doctrine applies (with the wild card of extraterritoriality), one can find an obvious silver lining here: creating a core Republican constituency for foreign assistance. That’s also playing out in the context of international human rights and religious persecution, Darfur, for example, with respect to which evangelicals have been pushing for more interventionist policies along of course with traditional human rights advocates. (In the immigration law context, one finds a similarly unusual alliance of right-to-lifers and ACLU-type immigrant advocates with respect to asylum claims by Chinese arising out of family planning policies.)

The Council on Foreign Relations posted a backgrounder on the subject in August; Walter Russell Meade has this thoughtful piece in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, which describes important differences between Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals (the latter taking on significant international agendas). Once these groups play the IL card, it will be tougher for them to deny its existence in other realms.

2 Responses

  1. Opinio Juris Building a Religious Constituency for

    I don’t think that evangelical Christian groups in the United States “deny” the existence of international law, but rather take a pragmatic, selective stance toward IL.

  2. Hi!,

    I’m Fabrizio from Italy (Italian Blogs for Darfur). We’ve translated our

    appeal to italian media to speak about Darfur (1 hour only in 2005!).


    you support us publishing it on your site, we we’ll be very glad for.

    Please, tell people on the web what we do, it’s important to collect a lot

    of signs (that are not just signs, but also e-mails sent to italian media!).

    Italy is going to sit at The UN Council from January 2007.



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