Some Do Care: National Religious Campaign Against Torture
Elle and Bob write with some despair in reaction to the Washington Post revelation that the Bush administration wrote two explicit memos specifically authorizing the use of water torture against people detained by the United States government:
Well, you see, since it is being done to arabs and other dusky skinned people, it is not torture, since torture only counts if it is done to a person.
We All know that an arab isn’t a person, unless of course he is jewish, or christian.
We also All know, that since Bush, Cheney, and their friends are all good upstanding christians, then they are all of the highest moral character and thus can’t be guilty of anything, and even if they are, then god will forgive them, and who are we to question god’s judgement in the matter?
Ben Franklin had it right, the majority of americans do not deserve liberty, since they sold their souls to Bush Inc. in order to feel a little more secure.
I think Elle is onto something, and I think the key phrase is “other” people. My fellow citizens won’t care about this, because they will always believe that torture will happen to “other” people, not to “us.”
I share Bob and Elle’s frustration with Americans’ acquiescence, with Americans’ penchant to get upset about Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s divorce but not about their own government’s torture of people under indefinite detention.
Fortunately, not all of our fellow citizens are heedless and quiet. Just this morning I spotted this “Torture is a Moral Issue” banner hanging from the Indianola Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio. The IPC and its Interfaith Center for Peace are participants in the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. The NRCAT is organizing visits by clergy to congressional and senatorial offices around the country on November 12, 2008 to confront our nation’s legislators on their inaction in the face of American torture and present a policy direction for the next Congress and administration. Also on November 12 the NRCAT will hold some form of a witness in front of the White House (with details apparently yet to be determined).
I’m not fond of the NRCAT’s division of activism into “actions individuals can take” and “actions clergy can take,” and as as a secular person I don’t fit under the interfaith umbrella of the NRCAT for its actions. But not every political action has to fit me or people like me in order to make a difference in a positive direction. If the National Religious Campaign Against Torture speaks to you, consider joining it.