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To Bring the Good News to All NationsEvangelical Influence on Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Relations$
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Lauren Frances Turek

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748912

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748912.001.0001

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Supporting a “Brother in Christ” in Guatemala

Supporting a “Brother in Christ” in Guatemala

(p.124) Chapter 5 Supporting a “Brother in Christ” in Guatemala
To Bring the Good News to All Nations

Lauren Frances Turek

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on Guatemala, where evangelical dictator General José Efraín Ríos Montt seized power in a coup in 1982. It talks about Ríos Montt's religious beliefs and staunch anticommunism that led politically influential evangelical leaders and nongovernmental organizations in the United States to support and promote his regime. It also discusses direct fundraising and evangelical organizations that lobbied Congress to restore military aid to Guatemala, which Jimmy Carter had suspended due to ongoing human rights violations. The chapter investigates why many evangelical groups argued that Ríos Montt's Christian faith would compel him to improve the human rights situation in Guatemala despite mounting evidence that the dictator's military campaign against the “communist insurgency” in his country involved the mass killing of indigenous Mayans. It demonstrates how evangelical engagement with Ríos Montt reshaped society and politics in Guatemala, as well as policymaking in the United States.

Keywords:   José Efraín Ríos Montt, religious beliefs, anticommunism, evangelical leaders, Jimmy Carter, human rights violations, communist insurgency, Mayans, Guatemala, military aid, mass killing

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