Two cheers for Nicholas Kristof and his realization that Christian conservatives like Sen. Sam Brownback are the “new internationalists.” Kristof assures his readers that he considers Brownback “to the right of Atilla the Hun,” and he sees the prolife aspect of new internationalism as causing more suffering than it prevents. Nevertheless, Kristof expresses a more than grudging respect for Brownback:
So, all in all, I find Mr. Brownback perhaps the most intriguing man in Washington — so wrong on so much, and yet such a leader on humanitarian issues. He is also working with liberals like Ted Kennedy to press for immigration reform, prison reform, increased funds for AIDS and malaria, construction of an African-American history museum and even an apology to American Indians.
The other day, Mr. Brownback told me enthusiastically about his trip to northern Uganda and urged me to write about brutalities there. I was disoriented — I thought I was the one who tried to get people to pay attention to remote places.
So why is a conservative Kansas senator traveling to the wilds of Uganda?
“I had a health issue a few years back, and it really made my faith real,” he said, referring to a bout with cancer. “It made me think, the things that the Lord would want done, let’s do. His heart is with the downtrodden, so let’s help them.”
Holiday blessings on Kristof for connecting the faith dots with that remark. If he spends enough energy unlocking the foreign mind of prolifers, he may also someday connect the philosophical/theological dots: It has to do with the notion that each human being is made in the image of God.