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Bishops' Council President Signs Evangelical's Letter To Clinton On Christian Persecution In Sudan

This appeal to President Clinton was organized by the Institute on Religion and Democracy (inlcuding UMAction) and Freedom House, another Washington-based human rights group.  Unfortunately, the UMNS story neglected to mention the letter's sponsors.  Signators included not only evangelical and Cathoilc leaders, but also several mainline church leaders.  United Methodist signators included Bishop Robert Morgan, United Methodist Men's General Secretary Joe Harris, and Jim Heidinger of Good News

I hope all United Methodist readers thank them for signing.  ...Mark Tooley

UMNS LOGOUnited Methodist bishop joins appeal to Clinton on Sudan

Dec. 10, 1999 News media contact: Linda Bloom· (212) 870-3803· New York {666}

By United Methodist News Service

Two hundred religious and human rights leaders have appealed to President Clinton to help stop the "genocide now taking place in Sudan."

Those signing the Dec. 9 letter to the president included Bishop Robert C. Morgan, Louisville, Ky., president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops.

The appeal warned that if America does not lead the way towards peace in Sudan, "an unspeakable catastrophe evident to all will take its final, dreadful toll in a century already defined too fully by indifference and genocide."

Sudan, the largest country in Africa, has been engaged in civil war for 33 of its nearly 44 years. An estimated 2 million have died and another 4 million are internally displaced. The current government, based in Khartoum, took power in 1989, preventing a peace settlement that would have resulted in a separation of church and state.

Another signer of the appeal, Roger Winter, executive director of the U.S.Committee for Refugees, has called those living in South Sudan "the poorest, most destitute population anywhere in the world."

Speaking in October to the governing members of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, Winters said that the "highly-complicated conflict" in Sudan has affected all people there – whether Arab or African, Muslim or Christian, Northerner or Southerner. The current government, controlled by the National Islamic Front, is the primary abuser, he added, and the people of South Sudan are the primary victims.

The letter asks Clinton to:

· meet publicly with Elie Wiesel and experts on the policies and practices of the Khartoum regime in Sudan;

· tighten U.S. sanctions against that regime;

· support the Sudan Peace Act, unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate on Nov. 19;

· strip the Khartoum regime of the authority to use American and international food aid as an instrument of war.

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