.- Twenty-seven religious leaders, including Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, have signed a statement urging the United States to abolish torture immediately, reported the Washington Post.
A new group, taking the name, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, was formed in response to allegations of human rights abuses at U.S. detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The group’s statement, titled “Torture is a Moral Issue”, is being published in several newspaper advertisements.
The statement says torture "violates the basic dignity of the human person" and contradicts the U.S.’s most-cherished values. "Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed?" it asks.
The religious leaders are urging Congress and the president to "remove all ambiguities" by prohibiting secret U.S. prisons around the world, ending the rendition of suspects to countries that use torture, granting the Red Cross access to all detainees, and not exempting any arm of the government from human rights standards.
Cardinal McCarrick said he had signed on to the general principle that torture is unacceptable but he had not seen the new organization's specific proposals, reported the Post. Fr. William J. Byron, former president of the Catholic University of America, is also among the signatories.