February 13, 2006

Campaign To End Torture

A number of religious organizations came together in January at the Princeton Theological Seminary to sponsor a national campaign to end torture. Backed by both liberal and conservative religious leaders, the goal is to make sure that there is no question about what is our national policy on torture. They are asking Congress and the President to address this subject so that those in the government will be aware of exactly what is the definition of torture and that our country has a clear prohibition against using torture. After all, torture not only is an offense against the person being tortured, but also a corroding stain on the soul of one who tortures or uses the corrupted fruit of torture. This conference was designed to make it clear that the act of torture is not just illegal, but also a sin is the most profound meaning of sin.

Here is a key part of the statement they came up with at the conference:

We urge Congress and the President to remove all ambiguities by prohibiting:

  • Exemptions from the human rights standards of international law for any arm of our government.
  • The practice of extraordinary rendition, whereby suspects are apprehended and flown to countries that use torture as a means of interrogation.
  • Any disconnection of "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" from the ban against "torture" so as to permit inhumane interrogation.
  • The existence of secret U.S. prisons around the world.
  • Any denial of Red Cross access to detainees held by our government overseas.
  • We also call for an independent investigation of the severe human rights abuses at U.S. installations like Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed? Let America abolish torture now --without exceptions.

Dr. George Hunsinger, who organized this conference, wrote about this in the latest issue of Presbytrian Outlook and Fred Clark of Slacktivist points to another article in Christianity Today giving a Southern Baptist endorsement for this campaign. You can find out more about this campaign from the PBS coverage here.

Please consider donating to this cause if you also agree this is an essential policy to clarify now. This is one battle for the soul of our country we must win as we try to bring our country back to sanity.

Posted by Mary at February 13, 2006 12:30 AM | Religion | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |

It should be noted that one may also choose to endorse the statement without making a donation, though I did both. Thanks for putting this up and hence calling it to my attention - it is an issue close to my heart. We simply cannot back down from these moral imperatives!

Posted by: Walker Willingham at February 13, 2006 11:40 PM