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’Reject practice of torture,’ religious leaders tell President-elect Obama


A broad coalition of religious leaders, including Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, has written to President-elect Barack Obama asking him “to restore our nation’s moral standing in the world by rejecting the practice of torture.”

Backed by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), the religious leaders represent a diversity of faith traditions. In their January 9 letter, the 34 leaders noted that “torture is incompatible with the tenets of our faiths and is contrary to international and U.S. law” and underscored that “respect for the dignity of every person must serve as the foundation for security, justice and peace.”

On January 11, NRCAT began its “Countdown to End Torture: 10 Days of Prayer” campaign, designed “to unite the religious community in a final push” to ensure that President-elect Obama makes the signing of an executive order ending torture one of his first official acts in office.

NRCAT describes itself as an organization “committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”

Along with their letter, the religious leaders enclosed a Declaration of Principles for a Presidential Executive Order banning torture. “We respectfully ask you to review this Declaration of Principles and issue an executive order on Inauguration Day or as early as possible,” the leaders say in their letter to Obama. “We believe such a step will help the United States to regain the moral high ground and restore our credibility within the international community at this critical time.”

A NRCAT-led delegation will meet with the Obama transition team on January 14 “to emphasize the message and sentiment contained in the letter,” a media advisory said.


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