…In a tribute to Garang at Vision Forum, a partner organization to the Persecution Project, Vision Forum leader Doug Philips writes of Garang’s work with the Persecution Project over the years. “Dr. Garang,” he writes, “probably did more than any other person in Southern Sudan to open the country to Christian missions.” Given that Southern Sudan was already home to a large Christian population, it’s unclear what “opening” needed to be done — unless you substitute “American” for “Christian.”
The Persecution Project touts its endorsements from some of America’s most verbally bellicose Christian conservative leaders James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, and Chuck Colson. It also draws support from the more mainstream conservative movement, including the Institute for Religion and Democracy, an organization dedicated to purging mainline protestantism of liberalism, and the Hudson Institute’s Michael Horowitz, who suggests that through the Persecution Project’s work on behalf of the “magic of democracy,” Sudan will be saved. Unfortunately, the Persecution Project isn’t working on behalf democracy — it’s an explicitly evangelical organization created to spread the gospel.
Nothing wrong with that, but let’s not confuse our terms. “Democracy” doesn’t depend on the gospel or magic. Regardless, Garang was hardly the man to look to for democratic reform, or Christian leadership, in Sudan. He did, however, do plenty of magic — according to Amnesty International, his organization “disappeared” thousands of civilians. His movement was anything but democratic — even his most loyal aides quietly complained of Garang’s dictatorial tendencies…