VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/22/06)-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 ran on Tuesday, September 19.
The headline of the ad states that 'Torture is a Moral Issue' and 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 Dr. Rick Warren pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life; Rev. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches; Rev. Ted Haggard, President of the National Association of Evangelicals; and Nobel laureates President Jimmy Carter and Elie Wiesel.
Other signatories include Dr. Roberta Hestenes, Minister-at-Large for World Vision and past president of American Baptist related Eastern University; Dr. Glen Stassen, Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, who recently addressed the American Baptist Churches General Board at their June Board Meetings; and Dr. Frank Thomas, pastor and editor of The African-American Pulpit, originally published by Judson Press.
American Baptists addressed the issue of torture in their 1976 Policy Statement on Human Rights which, under article thirteen, states that basic human rights include, "the right to be free from arbitrary arrest and detention and from torture; the right to a just and open trial with the opportunity to confront accusers and the right to humane treatment if incarcerated."
The more recent Resolution on International Terrorism cautions, "that we [American Baptists] remain vigilant concerning the erosion of civil liberties in the name of security." (article 5)
NRCAT bridges theological and political divides by uniting mainstream Protestants and Evangelical Christians, Muslims with Reform and Conservative Jews, and Orthodox and Roman Catholics. Fifty four national, regional, and local religious organizations and congregations have joined with NRCAT and its 'Torture is a Moral Issue' campaign by encouraging people of faith across the country to endorse the statement by visiting www.nrcat.org.
Andrew C. Jayne American Baptist Churches, USA Mission Resource Development http://www.abc-usa.org/