NCC leader praises Powell stand against torture
New York City, September 15, 2006--The Rev. Bob Edgar praised former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell for his public declaration that the treatment of prisoners by the U.S. is a moral issue.
"General Powell is rightly concerned about the moral obligations we have toward the human beings this country holds as prisoners," said Edgar, the general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA. "We are glad to see the general add his voice to the more than 40 major faith leaders who have been saying for months, torture is immoral, it is not acceptable, not now, not ever."
In a letter to Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), General Powell said such attempts to redefine provisions of the Geneva Convention treaties in the treatment of prisoners would harm our country and our troops.
"The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," Powell wrote. He also expressed concern that such actions as proposed by the administration might put U.S. troops at risk. Prior to serving as Secretary of State, Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The NCC General Assembly, representing all 35 of its member churches, in 2005 approved an anti-statement saying, in part, "Torture, regardless of circumstance, humiliates and debases torturer and tortured alike. Torture turns its face against the biblical truth that all humans are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26, 27). It denies the preciousness of human life and the dignity of every human being by reducing its victims to the status of despised objects, no matter how noble the cause for which it is employed." [http://www.ncccusa.org/news/060515torture.html]
The NCC was among the first to join the National Religious Campaign Against Torture [www.nrcat.org]. The NCC is America's leading ecumenical voice of 35 member denominations of Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, historic African American and peace churches with 45 million members in 100,000 congregations.
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