National Religious Campaign Against Torture

A couple days ago, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon wants to exclude a piece of the Geneva Convention from its new Army Field Guide. The Guide would no longer ban "humiliating and degrading treatment." The article is available here through the Concord Monitor. I've had a difficult time finding other articles about the proposed changes to the field guide; it is being discussed in foreign media but there are few references in other major US media outlets.

Next Tuesday, the National Religious Campaign Against Tortue will place an ad in the New York Times. The letter states, "Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions, in their highest ideals, hold dear. It degrades everyone involved- policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation's most cherished values. Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable. Nothing less is as 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- no exceptions."

The letter is signed by an astounding collection of people coming from diverse contexts: Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Rick Warren of Saddleback Church & The Purpose Driven Life fame; Kermit Johnson, a retired Major General Chaplain for the US Army; Elie Wiesel; Jimmy Carter; etcetera.

Please consider joining the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

A prayer:

God for all the world,
We pray for our brothers and sisters
Throughout your world
Who endure torture
In their pain
May they experience your presence and care
Binding their wounds
Supporting them.
We pray for our brothers and sisters
Throughout your world
Who inflict torture
May they experience your presence and care
Binding the wounds they bear
Wounds they receive as they wound others.
Open them to see the dignity of each person.
Strengthen them to seek ways
To break free from violence.
We pray for our brothers and sisters
Throughout your world
Who authorize torture
Break the hold of fear and anger upon them.
Inspire them to seek other ways to advance their causes.
We pray for ourselves
Confessing our responsibility for acts of torture
Which violate our sisters and brothers
And degrade us and our values.
Guide us to pray and study,
Dialogue and speak,
Come together and advocate
For an end to torture.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ,
Whose life, death and resurrection
Reveals that God's love
Is indeed stronger than torture and fear.

The Rev. W. Mark Koenig
Associate for Resources and Publications
Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
October, 2005

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