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In case you missed it, this month is “Torture Awareness Month,” organized by the Religious Left, chiefly by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT). For more targeted emphasis, this Sunday will start a “National Week of Action Against Torture, Guantanamo and the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act),” with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, Council on American-Islamic Relations and CodePink.
NRCAT is a coalition of Mainline Protestant denominations, left-leaning evangelicals and Catholic caucuses, and Muslim groups like the Islamic Society of North America.
Opposing torture should be laudable except that the Religious Left, since 9-11, has developed a very peculiar, narrow interest in “torture” that is almost exclusively confined to the U.S. War on Terror. And “torture” seems to include by their definition not just horrific acts of physical pain traditionally defined as torture but also the sustained detention of terrorists and any even implied coercive acts against them beyond the reading of Miranda Rights.
The latest additions to the anti-torture campaign include activism against any long-term solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and against all “anti-Muslim bigotry,” with a presumably wide definition of what qualifies as “bigotry.” The Religious Left and its allies additionally want a “commission on inquiry” to further spotlight and ultimately prosecute the special villainies of the Bush administration. To be fair, the Religious Left is also critical of the Obama administration for failing to cancel the U.S. War on Terror, essentially confirming the Religious Left’s pacifist assumptions.
Needless to say, the Religious Left largely has no deep interest in more indisputable acts of torture by scores of reprehensible regimes around the world. Their understanding of political correctness precludes ongoing, serious criticism of Islamist, Marxist, or Third World liberationist regimes. The anti-torture week will feature a march from the U.S. Capitol on June 24, with demonstrators clad in orange jumpsuits in solidarity with Guatanamo captives, whom NRCAT sees only as victims.
Anti-torture activists this month are armed with anti-torture prayer, courtesy of NRCAT. “We confess, gracious God, that we, as a nation, have permitted the practice of torture,” it intones. “Give us the courage to investigate our nation’s use of torture, to understand our own complicity and to seek healing for both the tortured and the torturer.” An NRCAT teaching resource for religious groups calls for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate U.S. torture. A sample sermon cites an official of the far-left Center for Constitutional Rights, who declares: “Our nation tortured because of the American people, we allowed it to happen, I allowed it to happen, you allowed it to happen…We all knew what was going on in Guantanamo… We saw photos.” He cites the Abu Ghraib photos as the exemplar of U.S. detention policies without noting that Abu Ghraib violated those policies and perpetrators were prosecuted. “We did not do enough eight years ago, we did not do enough six years ago, or four years ago, or even two years ago, and the men are still imprisoned there,” he laments.
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