The Common Good

Uniting to Ban Torture

Those of us who categorically oppose U.S.-sponsored torture were gratified to hear the consensus between John McCain and Barack Obama in their recent debate at Ole Miss.

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Senator McCain said, "We've got to make sure that we have people who are trained interrogators so that we don't ever torture a prisoner ever again."

And Senator Obama suggested that ending U.S.-sponsored torture was key to "restor[ing] that sense that America is that shining beacon on a hill."

But words from the campaign trail don't mean a thing without action in the Oval Office. Faithful Americans-who put our trust in a standard of truth and righteousness that cannot be distorted with political spin-need to affirm a clear moral mandate for our nation: No Torture. No Exceptions.

Last June, the Campaign to Ban Torture (CBT) released a Declaration of Principles for a Presidential Executive Order On Prisoner Treatment, Torture, and Cruelty. The declaration articulated six principles that, if articulated in an Executive Order, would effectively prohibit the practice of torture by any officer of the U.S. government, whether military or civilian.

This declaration was launched by a groundbreaking, nonpartisan coalition. Evangelical leaders helped lead the charge-including Sojourners' own Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, and Chuck Gutenson-joining more than 200 retired generals and admirals, heads of communion and state ecumenical executives, other religious luminaries, and top security experts, including former Secretaries of State, George Shultz, Madeleine Albright, and Warren Christopher, and former Secretaries of Defense, Harold Brown, William Cohen, and William Perry.

And since the declaration's release, thousands of citizens have signed on to the effort, which is being promoted by the CBT coalition of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Evangelicals for Human Rights, and the Center for Victims of Torture.

If you want to help end our nation's moral waywardness on this issue once and for all, you can start today by taking the following three steps.

Tyler Wigg-Stevenson is the director of the Two Futures Project and a member of the steering committee for Evangelicals for Human Rights.

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