At a rally on the morning of January 11, 2008, Richard L. Killmer of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture spoke to a protest rally on the sixth anniversary of the opening of the American indefinite detention center at Guantanamo Bay. You can listen to Killmer’s remarks yourself by clicking here, or read the transcript below:
“In the 19th Century Alexis DeToqueville said, after a journey to the United States, that ‘America is great because America is good. If America ceases to be good,’ he said, ‘it will cease to be great.’ The religious community and millions of others across this nation are deeply concerned that U.S. sponsored torture and the very existence of the detainee center at Guantanamo (which is today six years old) have diminished the goodness of this nation. The National Religious Campaign Against Torture is a growing coalition of more than a hundred and forty national, regional and local religious organizations created in January of 2006 to end U.S. sponsored torture. The religious community has concluded that torture is a moral issue, and morality requires good behavior. Governments are not behaving well when they engage in torture and cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment of detainees, or when the standards of the U.S. Army Field Manual are not required of the CIA or of contractors. Governments are not behaving well when detainees are sent to Guantanamo where they face torture, abuse, and denial of human rights. Governments are not behaving well when there are secret prisons or when detainees are sent to other countries known to use torture in their interrogation methods. Religions require their adherents to protect the dignity of all people, to treat everyone with compassion including their enemies, to welcome all people, even those with a different religion or tradition, to work for fairness and justice for all, and to give to next generations a world at peace.
“DeToqueville is providing 21st Century Americans with good advice. If we want a great nation, we work to assure that we have a good one. Instead of bad behavior, we work to assure that torture, the prison at Guantanamo, and all denials of human rights are replaced with respect and dignity and justice and fairness. Good behavior is the only way that the next generations might know a world at peace. Torture is a moral issue.”