Advocates International

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Founded in the U.S. in response to the fall of the Soviet Union,Advocates International is an international Christian legal group that "puts in practice the strategy of Jesus whose chosen method was the formation of small bands of committed friends...to promote human rights and equal justice for the poor, the sanctity of human life, religious freedom, the rule of law, peace and reconciliation, and family & community". It is an affiliate of Alliance Defense Fund but less focused on the U.S. The Founder and President is Samuel Ericsson and the Chairman of the Board is Lynn Buzzard.[1]

It is distinctly international in nature rather than focused on U.S. Christian Right, although there is some criticism that it is exporting principles of that movement. In 2003, a Swedish minister preached a sermon that ran afoul of Sweden's hate crimes laws. [2] Samuel Ericsson heard of the case, brought Advocates International and Alliance Defense Fund into the appeal, and eventually prevailed in the Swedish Supreme Court. This encouraged American Christian activists.

While it is distinctly Christian, it uses the organizational mnemonic in training lawyers to work worldwide:

  • Locally meet;
  • O'rganize nationally;
  • Regionally cooperate; and
  • Disciple globally

Its goals include social justice and rule of law, often minimized by pure U.S. organizations. Through its seven Global Task Forces (GTF), its areas of effort are:

  • Peacemaking and conflict resolution promoted and led by Advocates Africa through the Peace and Reconciliation GTF (Matthew 5:9);
  • Religious Freedom promoted and led by Advocates Asia through the religious freedom GTF (Galatians 6:9-10);
  • Assisting the poor and oppressed through advocacy, legal intervention and advice led by Advocates Latin America through the Justice for the Poor GTF (Luke 10:25-37 and Matthew 25:31-46);
  • Yielding to protecting life at all stages led by Advocates North America through the Sanctity of Human Life GTF and its Law of Life Project (Deuteronomy 30:19-20);
  • Empowering the family in community also led by Advocates North America through its Family & Community GTF (Ephesians 5:22-33 and 6:4); and
  • Redeeming the rule of law and integrity in the face of governmental incapacity or corruption led by Advocates Europe through its Rule of Law GTF (Romans 13).
  • Saying our prayers for one another around the globe led by Advocates Oceania through its Prayer GTF.(Psalm 37, 55:17)

These goals are carried out within a framework:

  • Christ Centeredness Maintained
  • Core Values Protected
  • Communications Facilitated
  • Conferences Encouraged and Enabled
  • Calls to Action Considered, Coordinated and Communiated Globally
  • Community Encouraged and Nurtured
  • Costs Counted, Considered, Contributed and Distributed

References

  1. About Us, Advocates International
  2. Josh Kurlantzick (22 October 2007), "Tomorrow, the World", American Prospect