“We have watched and read with horror, shame, and anger the new reports about atrocities committed by our country’s representatives in the name of national security,” Sinkford and Clements wrote. “The accounts underscore the urgent need for action. We hope you will fully support ending all forms of U.S.-sponsored torture and help restore America's tarnished image.”
The April release of several internal memos documenting the Bush administration’s government-sponsored torture prompted Clements and Sinkford to issue the letter.
“The use of torture is antithetical to our nation’s cherished ideals,” they wrote. “The mere suspicion that our government engaged in this practice has done incalculable damage to our nation’s standing. With the release of these memoranda, that suspicion has hardened into certainty.”
The UUA’s General Assembly called for an end to U.S.-sponsored torture in 2005 and passed an Action of Immediate Witness to that effect in 2007. The UUA has a history of defending civil liberties and produced a Statement of Conscience in 2004 opposing many policies that were being promoted as part of the “war on terrorism.”
The UUSC, an independent human rights organization affiliated with the UUA, has been a leader in the fight against the use of torture. The UUSC and UUA have collaborated for several years on the UUSC’s STOP (Stop Torture Permanently) Campaign, which calls for an end to U.S.–sponsored torture.
Sinkford and Clements are also founding members of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
- UUA and UUSC Presidents Send Joint Letter to President Obama. April 29, 2009, letter urges full inquiry into U.S.-authorized torture. (UUA.org)
- UUSC, UUA Call for Torture Investigation, Urge Obama to Restore Nation’s Tarnished Image. Includes additional resources from the UU Service Committee. (UUSC.org)
- National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Interfaith coalition is urging congregations and religious organizations to call for torture inquiry. (nrcat.org)
- Listen to an audio recording. Right click to download or click link to open audio file. (uuworld.org)