Building a Religious Constituency for International Law
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.