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Contribution to Book
Defending the Unreached and Unknown: American Evangelical Advocacy for International Religious Freedom
An Unfamiliar America: Essays in American Studies
  • Lauren Frances Turek, Trinity University
Document Type
Contribution to Book
Publication Date

Throughout the Cold War, US evangelical groups rallied to support fellow Christians suffering persecution behind the Iron Curtain. They also sought ways to circumvent restrictions on evangelizing in the closed societies of the Soviet bloc and other communist countries so as to create opportunities to win new adherents to their faith. By the 1970s and 1980s, these efforts included intercessory prayer, or prayer on behalf of others, as well as more direct political activism and lobbying. This chapter explores how evangelical organizations in the United States made the “unknown” peoples of the world “known” to believers in the United States, and argues that this led to an outpouring of evangelical activism promoting religious freedom abroad. This chapter shows that, during the Carter administration, evangelical lobbying contributed to the increased attention that US policymakers devoted to foreign religious persecution in diplomatic negotiations and prisoner exchanges with the Soviet Union.

Ari Helo & Mikko Saikku
Citation Information
Turek, L. F. (2020). Defending the unreached and unknown: American evangelical advocacy for international religious freedom. In A. Helo & M. Saikku (Eds.), An unfamiliar America: Essays in American studies (pp. 85-100). Routledge.