Public Radio Special Examines Influence of Evangelicals on Bush Administration

America’s evangelicals have become passionate global activists and a powerful and growing influence in Washington, and their increased participation in global affairs is helping to shape America’s image abroad. In its latest public radio special, America Abroad examines the evangelical movement’s impact on global human rights issues such as religious freedom, sex trafficking, aid for Africa and third-world debt relief, and how global perceptions, and misperceptions, of evangelicals are fueling a heated debate over their role in America’s foreign policy.

America Abroad: Evangelicals and the New Global Mission addresses the theological and political source of evangelical involvement in international issues and the movement’s increased sophistication as a conservative political force. From the “Scopes Monkey Trial” and the threat of communism, to the election of a born-again Christian to the White House, the program offers a historical look at the central role evangelicals have played in America since the nation’s founding. Also examined is the unlikely coalition of evangelicals, faith-based organizations and liberal activists that joined forces in the mid-1990s to push religious freedom onto America’s foreign policy agenda, an effort that resulted in the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

America Abroad: Evangelicals and the New Global Mission will begin airing on public radio stations nationwide on November 3 (check local listings at The one-hour international affairs program is anchored by veteran journalist Ray Suarez, with reports from correspondents Steve Roberts, Garrick Utley and Margaret Warner. The program also includes excerpts from a recent town hall discussion in Washington with leading Christian activists and religious experts about evangelicals in relation to 9/11, the war in Iraq and U.S. policy toward Israel, as well as a new global human rights agenda. The town hall was hosted by America Abroad Media’s Marvin Kalb and WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi.

“The important role played by America’s evangelicals in the new global human rights and development agenda is a fascinating and largely untold story,” says Aaron Lobel, President of America Abroad Media and Executive Producer of the town hall. “That this story is largely untold is surprising, because understanding the role of America’s evangelicals in the world is so important for understanding the role of America in the world.”

Funding for America Abroad Media is provided by the Ford Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, The Economist, the Draper Richards Foundation, The Starr Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, The Korea Society and the Arthur B. Schultz Foundation, as well as private sources. Other radio programs America Abroad has produced include: Battling for Hearts and Minds; The U.S. and China: Bush’s Next Test; Pakistan: America’s Unstable Ally; Intelligence Failure: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11 and Iraq; and The Presidential Election: The Stakes for America and the World.

America Abroad Media (AAM) is a non-partisan, independent media organization dedicated to informing and educating the American people about international affairs and facilitating cross-cultural discussion about international issues and America’s role in the world. Founded in 2001, America Abroad Media productions include: America Abroad, an international affairs public radio program distributed in the United States by Public Radio International (PRI) and internationally by National Public Radio (NPR) Worldwide; AAM Television, which brings together students from America and around the world with senior policymakers and experts to discuss important issues in international affairs; and AAM YouthSPAN, a global videoconferencing project that facilitates thoughtful discussion and direct interaction between U.S. students and their counterparts around the world.

To set up interviews with AAM’s Ray Suarez and Aaron Lobel to discuss the topic of evangelicals and American Foreign Policy, please call Kelly Keane at 410-321-0137. More information about America Abroad Media and the town hall meeting can be found at


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