Torture is a Moral Issue
April 28, 2008
activism / church / culture
I received the following letter as a resident of Georgia who supports the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Apparently, Georgia is one of ten states that do not yet have a congregation signed up to express opposition to torture.
Atlanta is a city that has an absurd number of churches. It’s impossible to drive more than a mile or two without seeing at least one, and many of them are incredibly large and wealthy, and can certainly afford to buy a banner. There are at least five churches within a mile of my apartment. And yet, the entire state of Georgia doesn’t have a congregation signed up to oppose torture?
Please consider the letter below, should you be in a position to influence a Georgian congregation.
Dear Pastor/Rabbi/Congregational Leader:
I am a supporter of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), an interfaith coalition of more than 160 national, regional and local religious organizations joined together to ensure that the United States does not engage in torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of anyone, without exception. (For more information and to endorse NRCAT’s Statement of Conscience “Torture is a Moral Issue,” visit the website: www.tortureisamoralissue.org.)
As part of my work with NRCAT, I encourage your congregation to participate in the “Banners Across America” project this June. NRCAT is asking congregations of all sizes, from every state and all faiths, to join in a public witness against torture by displaying a banner outside their place of worship during Torture Awareness Month (June).
Click here for complete information about the project and to place an order. You can choose from two sizes and two designs, as well as an option to customize your banner to include the name of your congregation. The cost ranges from $100 to $175, including shipping.
You can also purchase a banner from another source or use one you already have. Just tell NRCAT’s John Humphries (contact info below) that your congregation will display a banner in June, so he knows that your congregation and your state will be participating.
Your congregation’s participation will help to raise the visibility of the national campaign in at least 3 ways:
- It will provide an opportunity for members of your congregation to talk together about the continuing shame of torture as government policy and about the role of religious people in speaking out on this moral issue.
- It will put your congregation on record as opposing torture, in a very public way, and can encourage other local congregations to join you in a collective witness in your community.
- It will help NRCAT document a nationwide religious resolve to end torture through a coordinated media effort to draw attention to specific communities with significant numbers of banners, as well as the breadth of participation across the entire country.
At the end of the project, NRCAT wants to produce a poster with photos of banners hung on a variety of houses of worship. They will deliver a copy of the poster to every member of Congress and the President, and they will make it available for purchase.
You can help NRCAT achieve these ambitious goals by:
- Visiting the Banners Across America webpage (accessible via one of the red boxes in the center of the NRCAT homepage, (www.tortureisamoralissue.org) to get the complete information;
- Encourage your congregation to purchase a banner and display it during June 2008;
- Send NRCAT a digital photograph of the banner hanging outside your house of worship so we can post it on the website and possibly use it for a national poster.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact NRCAT’s Director for Program Coordination, John Humphries, at 860-216-7972 or firstname.lastname@example.org.