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Why Are People of Faith Working to End U.S.-Sponsored Torture?
Tens of thousands of people of diverse faith traditions, including evangelical Christians, mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Quakers, Unitarians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Baha'is, Sikhs, and Hindus, as well as representatives of over 300 religious organizations, are working together to end U.S.-sponsored torture. Notwithstanding points of theological difference, these groups share a basic understanding and affirmation of the inherent dignity of each individual which includes:
Each of these traditions also share ethical principles that people of faith are called to practice:
Religious institutions are called to embody these values and to engage in these tasks because of the authority they bring to issues of morality. Religious traditions emphasize ethical behavior as a demonstration of faith in action. They also provide leadership in secular society, playing an important role in influencing issues of morality at the national, state, and local levels. Furthermore, the infrastructure they provide supports the millions of people who covet justice and peace for all of God's creation.
Alexis de Tocqueville, the French historian, politicist, and observer of 19th century America, observed that "America is great because America is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." It is important for people of faith to impress upon Americans and our leaders in Washington that America's goodness, and hence its greatness, is seriously compromised by the practice of torture, or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments of detainees.