It is time that the truth about U.S. government-sponsored torture sees the light, that our nation openly deals with the legal and moral consequences of our past policies, and that once and for all, we relegate torture to where it belongs -- shameful history never to be repeated.
On Monday, July 8, prison inmates across California began a peaceful hunger strike to protest the inhumane conditions of their confinement related to solitary confinement -- a practice where prisoners are confined 23 to 24 hours a day in a small, windowless cell.
The United States has a history of providing important moral leadership in many areas. But by shrouding our tortured past in secret, we endanger both our country's moral legacy and our national security.
A non-governmental, bipartisan task force recently completed a two-year investigation into the U.S. government's treatment of 9/11 detainees, concluding indisputably that the United States government engaged in illegal torture.
I want a future community for my grandchildren which is marked by health and wholeness. By working to end the practice of the solitary confinement of youth, I hope to contribute to that kind of community.
As much as we try to remove the years of U.S.-sponsored torture and indefinite detention from the forefront of our political consciousness, Guantanamo Bay remains a vivid American symbol representing a rejection of the rule of law and a threat to our national security.
Whether the movie actually implies that torture led to bin Laden, or whether, as the filmmakers suggest, that idea is completely outlandish, it is true that a significant portion of the public continues to believe that torture is effective.
The Attorney General closed his statement last week by arguing that the investigation "was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of examined conduct." When will the propriety of that conduct be examined? And who will be held responsible for these acts?
Hundreds of people of faith across the nation undertook a 23-hour fast, symbolizing the 23 hours per day that tens of thousands of prisoners, inmates and detainees are warehoused in solitary confinement.
On Monday, May 21, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture joins with Amnesty International USA and the Center for Constitutional Rights in delivering more than 60,000 names of people who have signed statements urging President Obama to issue a formal apology to Arar.
As a nation founded on religious and moral values, we cannot begin to move past the shameful use of torture until we ensure that U.S. government-sponsored torture never occurs again. Justifications for the use of torture impede us from this important task.
As people of faith, we know that torture is always and unequivocally wrong. God created all people with dignity and worth, and we grieve knowing that inflicting harm and cruelty on another human being scars and diminishes us all.