Christian Piatt 03-24-2016

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Poor people just don’t know what’s good for them. Freedom, after all, is only possible after order is established. If they can’t do for themselves what needs to be done, we’ll do what needs to be done anyway. Protect them from themselves.

As for the radical, his calls for “change” and a better way of life will fade after people are sufficiently fed, safe, and entertained. After all, who has the appetite for revolution when their bellies are already full?

They’ll thank us later.

the Web Editors 11-10-2015

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The Senate passed the annual military bill on Nov. 10 with an overwhelming 91-3 vote, reports The New York Times.

The measure includes provisions that prevent the transfer of Guantánamo detainees to the United States, effectively blocking any attempt to close the terrorist detention facility.

Image via REUTERS / RNS

How far does the U.S. military have to go to provide religious accommodations for locked-up al-Qaida terrorism suspects?

That’s the question before a military judge who is weighing whether female guards should be banned from touching detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Five of the military’s “high-value” detainees asked the judge Oct. 30 to permanently forbid women guards from touching the prisoners. Their Muslim traditions, they say, prohibit women other than their wives or relatives from touching them.

But the two female guards who sometimes shackle or escort the detainees say a ban on touching violates their equal employment rights. They have won support from members of Congress and the Obama administration who called the ban “outrageous.”

Robin Kirk 03-04-2015

What it looks like when we go to Dick Cheney's "dark side." 

Jenna Barnett 12-11-2014
schankz /

schankz /

The release of a 600-page executive summary of the CIA torture report on Tuesday gave confirmation and imagery to many of our saddest suspicions and vague understandings of the CIA’s use of torture. The report, conducted by the Senate Intelligence Committee between 2009 and 2013, reveals that the U.S. carried out post-9/11 “enhanced interrogation techniques” in an ineffective and fear-fueled effort to prevent terrorism. In an attempt to protect our nation, we lost our values, and then tried to destroy the evidence. Still, many shameful specifics are now public knowledge:

Interrogators have exposed detainees to dark, cold isolation, forced rectal feedings, threats to family members, simulated drowning, 180 hours of sleep deprivation, and much more. The Justice Department still hasn’t pressed any federal charges.

This government transparency is new, but the sins are old. Sojourners has advocated for the end and exposure of U.S. torture techniques for years. Take a look at the Sojourners articles below to learn more about the effects of the program and the dreary history that precipitated the report.

David P. Gushee 07-01-2013

Guantanamo reminds us of the fragility of constitutional democracy.

Duane Shank 05-03-2013

A hunger strike by detainees has Guantánamo back in the news. But has the Obama administration been using drone strikes to kill al Qaida suspects rather than capturing them? The attorney who wrote the the first legal justification for using drones thinks so. The Guardian reports:

“John Bellinger, who was responsible for drafting the legal framework for targeted drone killings while working for George W Bush after 9/11, said he believed their use had increased since because President Obama was unwilling to deal with the consequences of jailing suspected al-Qaida members.

"This government has decided that instead of detaining members of al-Qaida [at Guantánamo] they are going to kill them," he told a conference at the Bipartisan Policy Center.”

QR Blog Editor 05-01-2013

President Obama broke his silence to comment on the current hunger strike of over 90 men at Guantanamo Bay. Time reports:

“It’s not sustainable,” President Obama said Tuesday, breaking his silence about the protest against his own government. “I mean, the notion that we’re going to continue to keep over 100 individuals in a no-man’s land in perpetuity.”

Obama repeated a position he has long held: The detention facility needs to be closed, with the prisoners either transferred to third countries if they do not present a threat or to the United States for adjudication. “This is a lingering, you know, problem that is not going to get better,” he said. “It’s going to get worse. It’s going to fester.”

The next steps at Guantanamo Bay are muddled in beaucracy. The President, Congress, and Secretary of Defense all have steps they must take before any real progress can be made.

Read more here.





Helen Schietinger 04-30-2013
by JTF Guantanamo /

A detainee stands in an outdoor recreation yard at Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s Camp IV in 2010. by JTF Guantanamo /

In today’s White House press conference, CBS News' Bill Plante raised the questions with President Barack Obama about the growing hunger strike among prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. “Is it any surprise, really,” asked Plante, “that they would prefer death rather than have no end in sight to their confinement?"

"Well, it is not a surprise to me, “ President Obama responded, “that we've got problems in Guantanamo.”

Last week, a military spokesperson confirmed that the total number of irregularly held prisoners at the U.S. Naval prison at Guantanamo Bay has risen to 92 out of the 166 still in detention.

The Guantanamo prisoners began hunger striking on Feb. 6 after guards confiscated their Korans to examine them for contraband.  The prisoners reported that their Korans had been desecrated by the guards, which a military spokesperson denies. Fueling the strike is the men’s loss of hope of ever leaving Guantanamo alive, most having been held more than 11 years without charge and Obama refusing to free even the 86 cleared for release.

Cathleen Falsani 10-07-2011

Produced by Cathleen Falsani for Sojourners/God's Politics
Photos by Heather Wilson and Carrie Adams/Sojourners
Music by Jason Harrod (used with express permission from the artist)
Song: "For Your Time" from Jason Harrod's album Bright As You, 2006
All Rights Reserved

Eric Stoner 09-06-2011

On his radio show last week, Glenn Beck read a vow of nonviolence, which he said he'd been working on for about a year, and pleaded his followers to take it as well. The pledge itself is actually quite good, and even Gandhian, at parts. Here is an excerpt:

Today, quarters of the Earth are endangered by tyranny, discrimination, barbarism, and subjugation by fellow man. With an understanding of basic rights and equal justice, we must remain loyal to God and deliver the rights which [God's] benevolence has bestowed upon us to those who have been denied the blessings of liberty, justice, and equality. More importantly, we must protect them from being robbed in the future, so that forever the world may be safe, and her people free from malevolence. Together, we must be prepared to do our duty no matter the cost and we must do so inexorably. We must march forth steadfast and unconquerable and defeat the forces of evil not by sword, but through our love for mankind and his creator.

Jake Olzen 04-22-2011
As Lent ends and the Holy Triduum begins, my mind turns to resurrection. Perhaps a bit too soon as the Good Friday death of Jesus and his descent into darkness is still impending.
Duane Shank 11-30-2010
This past Sunday and Monday the news media published their first summaries of the documents they received from WikiLeaks which contained more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables.
Rose Marie Berger 10-25-2010
In the November issue of Sojourners, Rose Marie Berger reviews seve
Jeannie Choi 03-01-2010

Two days after his inauguration, President Obama signed orders to end the CIA’s use of torture as an interrogation tool and to close the notorious Guantánamo Bay detention center withi

"Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow." Isaiah 1:17
Jim Wallis 06-09-2009
Every so often, I will begin the week with a post about something that I believe deserves further reflection and comment from the God's Politics community.
Jim Wallis 05-22-2009
I'm in Germany at the biannual Kirchentag festival of faith of the German churches, so I missed the news and analysis of President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney's spee
Rabbi Arthur Waskow 05-04-2009

One of the central teachings of Torah is that all human beings are made in the Image of God. That teaching and what flows from it are at the heart of Jewish prohibitions on the use of torture -- and perhaps at the heart of Christian opposition to torture as well.

Indeed, the Rabbis