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

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

By Allen D. Hertzke
Rowman & Littlefield, 2004
440 pp. $27.95
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The rising influence of conservative religious groups in U.S. foreign policy is one of the most important trends in the last 20 years; Freeing God's Children is the best available account of this historic development. Hertzke portrays the rise of the religious right in foreign policy by looking at the success it has had in using sustained activism to force sometimes reluctant presidents and diplomats to take on a handful of key issues, including rights of religious believers, slavery and religious oppression in Sudan, and sexual trafficking. In his blow-by-blow account of the political and legislative struggles on these issues, Hertzke provides a comprehensive intellectual and political portrait of a movement that is reshaping American politics. Ultimately, Hertzke's sympathetic (although by no means uncritical) narrative is an optimistic one. Many observers fear that the resurgence of conservative Protestantism in American life will lead to a rigid and unrealistic foreign policy, but Hertzke believes--and to some degree demonstrates--that the process of engagement is a process of education. Conservative Protestants, he notes, have learned to make alliances with secular human rights activists, liberal and conservative Jews, Muslims, Roman Catholics, and liberal "mainstream" Protestants. Freeing God's Children is a book that every serious student of American politics and world affairs needs to read.