June 1

 Torture Awareness Month

Reflection

Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions, in their highest ideals, hold dear. It degrades everyone involved-policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation’s most cherished values. Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable.

Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed? Let America abolish torture now-without exceptions.
US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Prayer

O God, help us to call our country to respect human dignity in every situation. Let justice be done, and let our country be just and fair, never abusing the rights of another human being. Amen.

Action

Hold in prayer as individuals or groups the victims of torture who are in the hands of their persecutors. Go to: www.nrcat.org.

Suggested Reading

There is a saying, ‘Love your friends and hate your enemies.’ But I say: Love your enemies!! In that way you will be acting as true children of God. If you love only those who love you, what good is that?
Matthew 5:43-48

The thought of Jesus being stripped, beaten and derided until his final agony on the cross should always prompt a Christian to protest against similar treatment of their fellow beings. Of their own accord, disciples of Christ will reject torture, which nothing can justify, which causes humiliation and suffering to the victim and degrades the tormentor.
Pope John Paul II

This is a day on which we pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable. This is an occasion for the world to speak up against the unspeakable. It is long overdue that a day be dedicated to remembering and supporting the many victims and survivors of torture around the world.
Kofi Annan

The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their ‘vital interests’ are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the ‘sanctity’ of human life, or the ‘conscience’ of the civilized world.
James Baldwin

Torture is banned but in two-thirds of the world’s countries it is still being committed in secret. Too many governments still allow wrongful imprisonment, murder or “disappearance” to be carried out by their officials with impunity.
Peter Benenson

The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The United States, for generations, has sustained two parallel but opposed states of mind about military atrocities and human rights: one of U.S. benevolence, generally held by the public, and the other of ends-justify-the-means brutality sponsored by counterinsurgency specialists. Normally the specialists carry out their actions in remote locations with little notice in the national press. That allows the public to sustain its faith in a just America, while hard-nosed security and economic interests are still protected in secret.
Robert Parr

Torture is a moral issue. As a person of faith, I was taught that all humans are created in His image. As a Christian, I know that Jesus was a victim himself of torture and informed his followers that “what you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me”.
Susan Kerin

You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.
Mahatma Gandhi

Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.
James Anthony Froude

The line that connects the bombing of civilian populations to the mountain removed by strip mining … to the tortured prisoner seems to run pretty straight. We’re living, it seems, in the culmination of a long warfare — warfare against human beings, other creatures and the Earth itself.
Wendell Berry

We are unalterably opposed to the presentation of the female body being stripped, bound, raped, tortured, mutilated, and murdered in the name of commercial entertainment and free speech.
Susan Brownmiller

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