Text of the statement from Utah faith leaders regarding torture

Published: Thursday, Nov. 24 2005 12:05 a.m. MST

We, the leaders of several religious communities in Utah are calling on Congress and the President to rule out "any and all use of torture" of war prisoners as an option for the U.S. government or its agents.

We affirm the Nov. 9 statement from the National Council of Churches, which says in part: "Torture turns its face against the biblical truth that all humans are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). It denies the preciousness of human life and the dignity of every human being by reducing its victims to the status of despised objects, no matter how noble the cause for which it is employed."

The General Assembly of the National Council of Churches and Church World Service voted unanimously to approve the statement (see below) disavowing the use of torture in any form.

We urge the members of our faith communities to contact their respective members of Congress advocating passage of the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill with the "anti-torture provisions" from the Senate's bill be included.

While this statement comes from a national group of Christian churches, we believe that all of our faith traditions can uphold the same intent to "love our neighbors as ourselves," a common thread found in nearly every world religion.

Signed:

The Right Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish, Episcopal Bishop of Utah

Rev. France Davis, Calvary Baptist Church, Salt Lake City

Father John E. Norman, Roman Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City

Rev. Carla Gilbert, United Church Christ, Congregational, Ogden, Utah

Rev. Tom Goldsmith, Salt Lake Unitarian Church

Ms. Dee Rowland, Roman Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City

Ghulam Hasnain, Muslim Community, Salt Lake City

Rev. Scott Weisser, First Baptist Church, Salt Lake City

Rev. Catherine Putnam, Wasatch Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City

Rev. Marvin L. Groote, Executive Congregational Consultant, Utah Presbytery

The Very Rev. William Maxwell, Dean Emeritus, St. Mark's Cathedral, Salt Lake City

Ms. Raven Simons, Utah Pagan Clergy Association, Salt Lake City

Rev. David Henry, Wasatch Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City

Pastor Kevin James, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ogden

The Rev. Jessica Hatch, Episcopal Community Services, Salt Lake City

The Rev. Len Evans, Grace Episcopal Church, St. George

Ms. Sue Marquardt, Wasatch Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City

The Rev. W. Lee Shaw, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, West Valley City

The Rev. Robin James. St. Mark's Cathedral, Salt Lake City

Rev. Ron Holdsworth, Granger Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), West Valley City

The Rev. Pete Poggemeyer, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Ogden

The Rev. Suzanne Duffield, St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church, Whiterocks

The Rev. Canon Diana Johnson, St. Mark's Cathedral, Salt Lake City

Mr. Thomas J. Schroeder, Clerk, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Logan

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