Thursday, April 30, 2009

Response to torture update--my noodging continues

A little over a week ago, I wrote that I was going to contact the Presiding Bishop and our Diocesan Bishop to ask them to support a Commission of Inquiry into the use of torture by the United States. I've heard back from both.

I received this message from the Presiding Bishop's office today:
Bishop Katharine asked that I be in touch with you regarding your email about the NRCAT. You can find Bishop Katharine’s endorsement of a January 9 statement against torture at the following two addresses:

Thank you for your work and witness.
Miguel Angel Escobar
Office of the Presiding Bishop

If you click on those links you will find they are for statements written right around the inauguration calling for an end to torture, not for a Commission of Inquiry. Obviously, I'm pleased about what's been done, but I'll write back again asking if she would support a Commission of Inquiry as well. It may be that she doesn't think that's a good idea, but I'm going to at least ask.

Bishop Marc Andrus responded also, with this message:
Dear Laura,

I appreciate your principled stand, which is one I share and have publicly embraced. The disciplined and on-going effort of the Episcopal Diocese of California to oppose the war in Iraq includes opposition not only to the war in total, but to the many elements, including torture that lead to a judgment that this war is not a just war.

I've read the several opinions related to your letter, and I think the one that I find most compelling is that it would be best if a resolution regarding the diocese's opposition to the United States government employing torture came forward at the next diocesan convention. In this way, we can say with confidence that the diocese, including its bishops takes the stand your suggest.

Marc Andrus

I wrote him back to say that the diocese actually passed a resolution against torture back in 2005, before he arrived, but I have not heard any more since then.

Just a reminder that the National Religious Campaign Against Torture has a ton of ways you can make your feelings known, including encouraging your congregation to endorse a call for a Commission of Inquiry, or participate in Torture Awareness Month in June. And if you think this is a good idea, please pass the word along!

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