American evangelical Christian leaders have urged President George W. Bush to consider sending troops to stop what they are saying is genocide in Sudan.
It follows a number of non-violent actions by other Christian protestors who have been arrested at the Sudanese ambassy in Washington.
Thirty-five leaders from evangelical organizations with a combined U.S. membership of about 50 million have written to George Bush complaining a U.S.-sponsored resolution threatening Sudan with U.N. sanctions -- but not military intervention -- did not go far enough.
Bush has been criticized for responding too slowly to stop nomadic Arab militia attacks on villagers in Sudan's Darfur region and the letter added to election-year pressure from powerful religious groups for military action.
"The administration needs to understand this constituency is serious about Darfur," said Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals.
"From a moral vantage point we can't sit on our hands and worry about the consequences of intervention when the consequences of nonintervention are so blatantly staring us in the face," he said.
Hundreds of thousands of people could die this year if Sudan does not rein in marauding Janjaweed militia and free up restrictions on humanitarian aid, U.S. officials have said.
The United Nations estimates 30,000 people have died since fighting began early last year, and U.S. officials say as many as 50,000 more may have died from hunger and disease.
The government turned to the existing Janjaweed militias to suppress a revolt that broke out in western Sudan in early 2003 among villagers who speak African languages.
Washington has so far relied on diplomatic pressure on Sudan and said British, Australian and African nations' offers to possibly send troops to protect Darfuris were premature.