I recently ran across this speech via a link in an Episcopal weblog that I often read:
Of all the scandals that currently beset us, there is one that history is likely to judge most harshly, namely, the official authorization of torture abuse by the Bush administration. As the Abu Ghraib photos have shown with unforgettable horror, serious violations of international law have followed in its train. Let us be clear that torture is not just one issue among others. It is a profound assault on the dignity of the human person as created by God. It is therefore inherently evil. It violates a person’s body, and terrorizes his mind, in order to destroy his will. The strongest of presumptions stands against it — not only legally and morally, but also, from a religious point of view, spiritually. At the same time, authorizing torture poses a direct threat to constitutional government. As Columbia law professor Jeremy Waldron has urged, the issue of torture is “archetypal.” It goes to the very heart of our civilization. Whether torture is permitted or prohibited is a question that separates tyranny and barbarism from the rule of law.
Nothing less is at stake in the torture crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it profit us if we proclaim high moral values but fail to reject torture and abuse? What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed? A nation that rewards and protects those who promoted torture is approaching spiritual death.
— George Hunsinger’s speech to the Eisenhower Foundation
We will remember the victims of torture and abuse and oppression in our prayers, and reflect on what more we might do.