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NCC praises Bush, McCain,
for taking steps against torture

December 16, 2005, New York – The National Council of Churches praised President Bush and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) Friday for their actions to ban torture by U.S. authorities. 

Mr. Bush promised to sign the ban into law Thursday after rejecting advice from Vice President Dick Cheney and other high administration officials that the provision be vetoed.

McCain, who was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for 5 1/2 years, had insisted that the United States prohibit "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of prisoners, many of them terrorism suspects, following well-known instances of abuse at two facilities operated by American forces, the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.

“By taking this principled stand,” said Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, associate general secretary of the NCC for International Affairs and Peace,  “President Bush reflects the views of the American people that torture can never be morally justified or legally sanctioned by the United States.  We also commend Senator McCain for his tireless efforts to bring U.S. law in line with American values.”

"We've sent a message to the world that the United States is not like the terrorists," McCain said in a separate statement.. "We have no brief for them, but what we are is a nation that upholds values and standards of behavior and treatment of all people, no matter how evil or bad they are. And I think that this will help us enormously in winning the war for the hearts and minds of people throughout the world in the war on terror."

The General Assembly of the NCC and Church World Service issued a statement last month condemning torture as “an assault on the biblical truth that all humans are created in the image of God.”

The McCain amendment, which was attached to both the defense spending bill and the defense authorization measure, would make the Army Field Manual the uniform standard for what techniques are acceptable when interrogating prisoners.

Here is the statement released by the NCC on Friday:

The National Council of Churches USA commends President George W. Bush for his support of the McCain Amendment banning torture of all persons in U.S. custody.   

In November, the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches USA adopted a “Statement on the Disavowal of Torture,” which condemned torture as an assault on the biblical truth that all humans are created in the image of God.  Based on this conviction, in the resolution the NCC “urged the President of the U.S. and all members of his administration to support this legislation by affirming America’s long-standing commitment to refrain from the use of torture.” 

By taking this principled stand, the President reflects the views of the American people that torture can never be morally justified or legally sanctioned by the United States.  We commend Senator John McCain for his efforts to bring U.S. law in line with American values.

Contact NCC News: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252, pjenks@ncccusa.org; or Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350, ltune@ncccusa.org.


 

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