Religious Leaders to Congress: Abolish Torture Now
National Religious Campaign Against Torture to Run Full Page Ad in Roll Call
(Washington, DC, September 18, 2006) - As both Houses of Congress consider legislation this week on the treatment on military detainees, religious leaders are calling for the elimination of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as part of U.S. policy in a statement to be published in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. Originally published in the New York Times on June 13, 2006, the statement will run as a full page ad in Roll Call on Tuesday, September 19. [View the ad]
The statement, "Torture is a Moral Issue," proclaims that torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions hold dear. Shepherded by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), the statement is signed by 27 national religious leaders, including Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, D.C.; Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and Nobel laureates President Jimmy Carter and Elie Wiesel.
Other signatories include Dr. Rick Warren pastor and author of the runaway bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life; Rev. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches; Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Dr. Frank Thomas, pastor and editor of The African-American Pulpit; and Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director of the Islamic Society of North America.
"There is a special dignity in every human being that comes from the fact that we are brothers and sisters in God's one human family," said Cardinal McCarrick. "Torture is a dehumanizing and terrible attack against human nature and the respect we owe for each other."
NRCAT bridges theological and political divides by uniting mainstream Protestants and Evangelical Christians; Muslims with Reform and Conservative Jews; Orthodox and Roman Catholics; Sikhs and members of peace churches.
Dr. Glen Stassen, Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary and another signatory, noted, "Evangelicals are Christ centered, not that nobody else is, but we are, and the cross was humiliation and torture." Dr. Syeed said, "The Koran clearly emphasizes the dignity of all human beings that must be maintained at all costs." Rabbi Saperstein added: "All of humanity is created in the image of God. Torture is a profound violation of this principle."
Fifty four national, regional and local religious organizations and congregations have already joined NRCAT. NRCAT will continue the "Torture is a Moral Issue" campaign by encouraging people of faith across the country to endorse the statement by visiting http://www.nrcat.org.