the national religious campaign against torture

Remember the good old days when religion meant more than entertainment, partisan politics and the demonization of gays? Well, it looks like there might still be a little glimmer of hope left. Check out this press release I just received:

National religious leaders will hold a teleconference tomorrow, June 7, at 3:30 PM EST to announce a campaign to abolish U.S. policies permitting torture and inhumane treatment.

They will specifically discuss a statement to be published next week in the op-ed pages of the New York Times. The statement, “Torture is a Moral Issue,” is signed by 27 religious leaders from across the faith spectrum, including Dr. Rick Warren, Rev. Ted Haggard, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, President Jimmy Carter, Elie Weisel, Rabbi David Saperstein and Dr. Sayyid Syeed.

This campaign is especially timely given yesterday’s news that the Pentagon has decided to omit a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans “humiliating and degrading treatment” from new detainee policies. As the Los Angeles Times reported, this step “would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.”

WHO: Religious leaders who have signed the “Torture is a Moral Issue” statement, appearing in next week’s New York Times, will offer statements and field questions, including:
— Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, D.C.
— Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
— Dr. Glen Stassen, Professor of Christian Ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary
— Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director, Islamic Society of North America

WHEN: Wednesday, June 7, 2006, at 3:30 PM EST

WHERE: Call-in number: 888-387-8686
Conference ID: 3775956 #

Two thoughts. One — It’s about fucking time. Two — It doesn’t surprise me at all that Carter’s involved.

As I’ll be at work, I won’t be able to listen. If one of you feels like dialing in though, please take good notes and leave a comment.

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