March 23, 2007

Torture Statement by NEA

There are few issues that have brought me more sorrow over the last few years than that of torture. I have been repeatedly saddened to hear what is all too often an almost deafening silence from so many quarters of the evangelical community that are often so quickly outspoken on "important" religious issues. The endorsement or at least tolerance of a culture of torture in the armed services and intelligence community of the United States stands in direct contravention of numerous international laws, direct denial of so many principles that stand at the foundation of our demoncracy, and, even more, total denial of the ethics and values that proceed directly out of our Christian faith. The question, Would Jesus endorse torture? seems almost an absurdity. Or maybe not almost. And I have been encouraged over the past years that amongst the relative silence there have been a number of Christian voices who have stood up to the administration and encouraged an about face in terms of policy, and have also served to issue a wake-up call to evangelicals to stand up for what is right. In the past weeks, the National Association of Evangelicals has made great progress on this front, endorsing a statement concerning torture that outlines the pertinent issues and a very clear and important Christian response. It is highly recommend reading, and can be found, along with some great resources, online at I hope this statement permeates the evagelical community, and spurs further study and continued outcry against this sad chapter in our nation's international activities. I hope we as Christians will wake up to the illusions we too often harbor about the assumed "Christian" character of our nation, and will lead the charge for change, and for the respect of the sanctity and dignity of human rights. Not only will this be an opportunity for a consistent and clear Christian witness, but it will be an opportunity for the United States to regain some stature and credibility in the international community that has been sadly lost.

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