With the advent of the “War on Terror,” the Wisconsin Council of Churches has joined the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (www.NRCAT.org) in advocating for the elimination of the use of torture by U.S. military forces and clandestine operatives.
Even though President Obama issued an executive order banning torture, congregations and other organizations must continue their anti-torture work in 2010.
In order to end torture completely, investigation, legislation, and other actions are needed to follow up on the executive order. And recent polls show that a majority of Americans do not believe that torture is always wrong. Learn more.
Ending Torture: Our Nation’s Unfinished Business
The Wisconsin Council of Churches joins with NRCAT to encourage congregations and people of faith to support actions to advance the cause of ending U.S.-sponsored torture forever:
- Passing federal legislation granting the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to all detainees in U.S. custody. Learn more.
- Securing a comprehensive investigation, a Commission of Inquiry, into the use of torture by the United States since September 11, 2001. Learning from the past is the best way to build a torture-free future. Learn more.
- Urging the President and the Attorney General to ensure a thorough investigation of the CIA’s alleged torture experiments. Learn more.
Activities for Congregations
- Show the 20-minute NRCAT video “Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever” and organize a one-hour discussion, using the guide with background text and sample questions. View the 7 NRCAT videos on this topic on YouTube: “Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever“
- Hold a 4-session small group class using the Way of Torture, Way of the Cross – study action resource. This four session adult study will help congregants reflect biblically and theologically on the practice of torture and offers tools for civic engagement. Download a copy of the Leader’s Guide, or order it for $5 from WCC, email here (note: the Guide is a large 2.5MB PDF file).
- Invite participants to sign up for occasional emails to keep abreast of important public policy developments. Click here to subscribe.
Have a table set up after a worship service or discussion class:
- Ask people to complete postcards (or letters) calling for legislation that will assure International Committee of the Red Cross access to all U.S.-held detainees. The post cards can be taken to the local offices of Members of Congress or mailed to their offices in Washington, DC. Download a sample letter (which can be abridged for postcards) here.
- Ask people to sign a petition asking for a Commission of Inquiry. Download the petition here.
Other Things You Can Do
- Sign up for our email listserve to keep abreast of public policy developments related to torture.
- Sign: “Torture Is a Moral Issue: A Statement of Conscience of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture”
- Order banners or bumper stickers for your congregation to display from NRCAT.
June is Torture Awareness Month
June 26th is United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Get more details and download resources for activities you can do in June or other times during the year.
Further resources and Information
- National Religious Coalition Against Torture
- Amnesty International “Frequently Asked Questions about Torture.”
- Human Rights Watch
- Human Rights First
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Books and Articles
- Editorial by Executive Director Rev. Scott D. Anderson in the Capital Times, May 11, 2012
- “The Truth about Torture,” Charles Krauthammer, The Weekly Standard, December 5, 2005.
- “Why Evidence Obtained from Torture Should Never Be Admissible,” Jack Balkin, Yale Law School, Friday, December 16, 2005
- Theology Today (journal) Theme issue on Torture, International Law and Theology, vol. 63:3 (October 2006)
- Torture: A Collection, ed. Sanford Levinson. Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Torture and Eucharist, by William T. Cavanaugh. Blackwell Publishing, 1998.