RLCC comment follows this blockquote:
The deliberate torture of one human being by another is a sin against our Creator, in whose image we have all been created.Â This practice should not be condoned or allowed by any government.Â It must be condemned by all people of faith, wherever it exists, without exception.—Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
All of humanity is created in the image of God.Â Torture is a profound violation of this principle.–Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
The Qu'ran clearly emphasizes the dignity of all human beings and that must be maintained at all costs.–Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director, Office of Interfaith & Community Alliances, Islamic Society of North America.
I'm concerned that we, as a nation, are unwilling to draw the line on torture.Â We should be able to point to that line with pride.Â To cross it would be to vacate our integrity and violate the human dignity of those whom we thus choose to victimize.–Fr. William J. Byron, S.J., Loyola College, Maryland
My Christian faith does not allow me to compromise on this issue.Â Torturing another human being, a child of God, is evil, plain and simple.–Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, United Methodist minister, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Outgoing General Secretary, National Council of Churches of Christ, U.S.A.
What we must face squarely is this:Â 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 the article, "Inhuman Behavior: A Chaplain's View of Torture," The Christian Century, 4-18-06.–Rev. Kermit D. Johnson, Chaplain (Major General), U.S. Army, Retired.
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 what we sow.–Dr. Rick Warren, Founder and Pastor, Saddleback Church.
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.Â 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, Emeritus Archbishop of Washington.
I have a heightened sensitivity to the torture issue because the central symbol of my faith is an instrument of torture.Â While on that torture machine, Jesus cried out to God on humanity's behalf, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."Â 2000 years later, we still don't know what we are doing.–Dr. Leonard Sweet, Methodist minister and E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism, Drew University Divinity School.
I signed "Torture is a Moral Issue" [the Declaration of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture] because I understand the Christian faith to require vigorous efforts on behalf of human dignity, wherever it is threatened–friend or enemy, wartime or peace, my government or somebody else's government.Â 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.Â I signed the statement because I believe 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.Â Finally, I signed the statement because I am very much concerned that torture, or acts approaching torture, are still occurring.–Dr. David P. Gushee, Baptist Minister, founder of Evangelicals for Human Rights, and newly appointed Professor of Christian Ethics, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University.
The international community expresses shared moral belief through international law.Â International law absolutely forbids torture, as well as cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.Â The United States was once fully in support of these international laws and the moral principles on which they are based. We can be again.–Mary Ellen O'Connell, Catholic layperson and Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law, the School of Law, University of Notre Dame.
In the years leading up to World War II, Karl Barth complained that the German Church wasn't awake to what was going on.Â . . . "The church permanently finds itself in a state of emergency," he said, "but is often asleep at the wheel."Â I worry that we similarly are slipping into patterns of national behavior about which the American Church is unaware, silent, or, worse, complicit.Â I hope this statement on torture will help us wake up.–Dr. Brian McClaren, founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church and well known author in the "Emerging Church" movement.
The Bible teaches that all of us sin, and power corrupts especially when dealing with the weak and vulnerable–which surely includes prisoners.Â Biblical Christians know we need the restraint of law, and want to be law-abiding.Â 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 H. Stassen, Baptist layperson, founding board member of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, longtime peace and justice advocate, author, and Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary.
If you know of other statements against torture by faith persons, please send them.Â We must make our voices heard–and heeded.
RLCC Comment: While it is completely right and required that people speak out against torture, it is also equally important that the definition of torture be understood as a spirit that does all things antichrist. To say one is against torture but be against anything for which Jesus stood is hypocrisy and selfishness (one and the same). Therefore, upholding all the righteous concepts stated in the article above (and they are not all righteous) is to uphold the whole of the New Commandment. Are all of those being called leader here prepared to bring forth the Christian Commons?
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.
Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)