National Religious Campaign Against Torture
At Easter, Christians celebrate Jesus’ rising from the dead. But in light of new revelations of the CIA’s abhorrent acts of torture, it’s the United States that needs resurrection, too.
Details of the CIA’s post-Sept. 11 torture campaign — made worse, if that is possible, by evidence of official deception — are described in key portions of the report on CIA-sponsored torture that the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee voted last week to release.
Though the public has not yet seen the report, current and former U.S. officials who have read it have disclosed information to The Washington Post, Human Rights Watch, and other sources that ought to disturb all of our consciences.
Nothing was tortured more in the making of Kathryn Bigelow’s film Zero Dark Thirty than the truth about torture.
While it’s just a movie, it runs the risk of becoming the basis for a false view of reality for millions of moviegoers who have largely ignored a decade of debate about the efficacy of the United States sanctioning torture.
To dismiss the movie as simple entertainment ignores the impact seeing it has on our perception of reality, even when we understand we are watching actors in a — mostly — pretend setting.
The fact that Zero Dark Thirty was nominated this week for an Academy Award for Best Picture only underscores the importance of understanding what it gets wrong about torture.
In 1998, when former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan announced June 26 as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, he stated, "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."
Earlier this month, The National Religious Campaign Against Torture, one of the founders of Torture Awareness Month, as discussed in Robin Kirk's July 2011 Sojourners article, released a video of interreligious leaders speaking against torture, as well as faith-based study guides that frame opposition to torture. Sojourners also asked Robin Kirk, executive director of the Duke Human Rights Center, to write "The Body in Pain: What do people of faith have to say about torture?" for our July issue.