Judicial and penal institutions play a fundamental role in protecting citizens and safeguarding the common good (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2266). At the same time, they are to aid in rebuilding “social relationships disrupted by the criminal act committed” (cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 403). By their very nature, therefore, these institutions must contribute to the rehabilitation of offenders, facilitating their transition from despair to hope and from unreliability to dependability. When conditions within jails and prisons are not conducive to the process of regaining a sense of a worth and accepting its related duties, these institutions fail to achieve one of their essential ends. Public authorities must be ever vigilant in this task, eschewing any means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the human dignity of prisoners. In this regard, I reiterate that the prohibition against torture “cannot be contravened under any circumstances” (Ibid., 404).
| -Pope Benedict XVI
|"I'm concerned that we, as a nation, are unwilling to draw the line on torture. We should be able to point to that line with pride. To cross it would be to vacate our integrity and violate the human dignity of those whom we thus choose to victimize."
||- Rev. William J. Byron, S.J.
Sellinger School of Business and Management
Loyola College in Maryland
|"The deliberate torture of one human being by another is a sin against our Creator, in whose image we all have been created. This practice should not be condoned or allowed by any government. It must be condemned by all people of faith, wherever it exists, without exception."
||- Archbishop Demetrios
Primate, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
|"My Christian faith does not allow me to compromise on this issue. Torturing another human being, a child of God, is evil, plain and simple."
||- Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar
National Council of Churches USA
|"I signed 'Torture is a Moral Issue' because I understand the Christian faith to require vigorous efforts on behalf of human dignity, wherever it is threatened--friend or enemy, wartime or peacetime, my government or somebody else's government. I also understand that evangelical Christians, of which I am one, have enormous power in this culture, and I wanted to put myself clearly on record against torture precisely as an evangelical. I signed the statement because I believe that the United States has a fundamental legal and moral obligation to refrain from any form of torture even as we also have a legitimate right to self-defense. Finally, I signed the statement because I am very much concerned that torture, or acts approaching torture, are still occurring."
||- Dr. David P. Gushee
University Fellow & Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy
|"What we must face squarely is this: whenever we torture or mistreat prisoners, we are capitulating morally to the enemy-in fact, adopting the terrorist ethic that the end justifies the means."
From "Inhuman behavior: A chaplain's view of torture," The Christian Century, 4/18/06.
|- Rev. Kermit D. Johnson
Chaplain (Major General), U.S. Army (ret.)
|"There is a special dignity in every human being that comes from the fact that we are brothers and sisters in God's one human family. It is because of this that we all feel that torture is a dehumanizing and terrible attack against human nature and the respect we owe for each other."
||- Theodore Cardinal McCarrick
Archbishop Emeritus of Washington
|"In the years leading up to World War II, Karl Barth lamented that the German church wasn't awake to what was going on.'...the Church permanently finds itself in an emergency,' he said, but often is asleep at the wheel. I worry that we similarly are slipping into patterns of national behavior about which the American church is unaware, silent, or worse, complicit. I hope this statement on torture will help us wake up."
||- Dr. Brian McLaren
|"The international community expresses shared moral belief through international law. International law absolutely prohibits torture, as well as cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. The United States was once fully in support of these international laws and the moral principles upon which they are based. We can be again."
||- Mary Ellen O'Connell
Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law
Notre Dame Law School
|"All of humanity is created in the image of God. Torture is a profound violation of this principle."
||- Rabbi David Saperstein
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
|"The Bible teaches that all of us sin, and power corrupts especially when dealing with the weak and vulnerable--which surely includes prisoners. Biblical Christians know we need the restraint of law, and want to be law-abiding. It's not enough just to be against torture; we want the U. S. to be a law-abiding citizen of the world, respecting international law."
||- Dr. Glen Stassen
Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics
Fuller Theological Seminary
|"I have heightened sensitivity to the torture issue because the central symbol of my faith is an instrument of torture. While on that torture machine Jesus cried out to God on humanity's behalf, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.' 2000 years later, we still don't know what we are doing."
||- Dr. Leonard Sweet
E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism
|"The Koran clearly emphasizes the dignity of all human beings that must be maintained at all costs."
||- Dr. Sayyid Syeed
National Director, Office of Interfaith & Community Alliances
Islamic Society of North America
|"If we condone torture, we yield the moral high ground to our enemies and encourage anyone who hates us to stoop to using that subhuman level against us. We reap whatever we sow."
||- Dr. Rick Warren
Founder and Pastor