Religious Leaders Urge U.S. to Ban Torture
- From: tabbott@xxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 18:02:38 -0500
Religious Leaders Urge U.S. to Ban Torture
By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 13, 2006; Page A04
Twenty-seven religious leaders, including megachurch pastor Rick
Warren, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick
of Washington, have signed a statement urging the United States to
"abolish torture now -- without exceptions."
[The United States does not torture people according to official
The statement, being published in newspaper advertisements starting
today, is the opening salvo of a new organization called the National
Religious Campaign Against Torture, which has formed in response to
allegations of human rights abuse at U.S. detention centers in Iraq,
Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
[In other words, the United States is guilty until proven innocent.
All it takes is an "allegation" for some people to believe it is true.
That's becaue such people *want* to believe such things.]
Titled "Torture is a Moral Issue," the statement says that torture
"violates the basic dignity of the human person" and "contradicts our
nation's most cherished values." "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?" it asks.
[Where is your evidence for claiming the U.S. condones and practices
torture? You don't have any, do you. Yet you act as though it were
an established fact. It is not.]
The signers come from a broad range of denominations and include
notable religious conservatives, such as the Rev. Ted Haggard,
president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Archbishop
Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; and
the Rev. William J. Byron, former president of Catholic University.
[Never heard of them. Nor do I know their political persuasion, but
I can probably make a pretty good guess as to what it is.]
By suggesting that recent abuse of prisoners may not be just an
aberration but a reflection of U.S. policy, the statement contains an
implicit challenge to the Bush administration, according to some
[What "recent abuse of prisoners" are you referring to? Abu Garaib?
That was not "torture", it was humiliation at worst, and it was not
condoned by the Bush administration. American prisoners of war should
be treated so good! Other than this one incident, what else can you
provide as evidence that prisoners have been recently abused? I would
be so bold as to assert you do not have any such evidence. But don't
let that stop you from accusing the U.S. of condoning torture.]
"I'm not persuaded that this issue has been put to bed yet by the Bush
administration," said David P. Gushee, a philosophy professor at Union
University in Tennessee who wrote an influential article against
torture this year in Christianity Today, an evangelical magazine. "I'm
worried that we still don't truly know what is going on in all our
detention centers around the world."
[That's correct: You *don't* know what is going on in the detention
centers, yet you try to give the impression that you do know and make
accusations against the U.S. military and the Bush administration that
you cannot support with facts. You have no credibilty.]
Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino said the administration
has "the utmost respect for all these religious leaders."
[Which is more than I can say.]
But, she said, "I'll simply repeat what the president has said many
times, which is that this government does not torture, and we adhere
to the international conventions against torture. That is our policy,
and it will remain our policy."
[Yes, and those who make accusations of torture should shut their
mouths until they actually have some evidence of torture. That goes
for the European Union, too. They said the other day that they had no
evidence of torture by the U.S., yet they continue to claim torture
has taken place, although they cannot provide a time, place or a name
for any act of torture on the part of the U.S. In their minds, we are
guilty of torture and they are not going to let the facts alter their
On its Web site, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture urges
Congress and the president to "remove all ambiguities" by prohibiting
secret U.S. prisons around the world,
[Holding prisoners in secret prisons is not torture.]
ending the rendition of suspects to countries that use torture,
[That means the U.S. will have to house a lot of prisoners because
there are a lot of countries in the world who use torture. Even the
United States, according to some. Sounds like a "Catch-22" situation
granting the Red Cross access to all detainees
[The Red Cross has an office at Club Gitmo and has access to all the
prisoners there. To date, they have not provided any evidence which
would back up your claim that the U.S. is torturing prisoners there or
and not exempting any arm of the government from human rights
[To my knowledge, no arm of the U.S. government has an exemption
from observing human rights. You provide no example of such a thing,
so it appears this is just another dispicable accusations without
McCarrick said last night that he had signed on to "the general
principle" that torture is unacceptable but had not seen the new
organization's specific proposals. Gushee said he is "not sure that
everyone who signed the statement would concur with that platform,"
though he said he, personally, does.
[Yes, torture is unacceptable. It is also counterproductive.
Fortunately, the U.S. does not practice the torture of prisoners,
according to the Bush administration, and there is no evidence to
refute their claim. So put up some evidence to support your
accusations, or shut up.]
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