Email after the 2009 Episcopal Convention

Dear Family and Friends,

Just a few minutes ago the House of Bishops concurred with a previous action by the House of Deputies and passed resolution C020 against torture “in any location in the world.”

The first to speak to the resolution was George Packard, Bishop for Chaplaincies, including the Armed forces of the United States.  A decorated hero from Vietnam, Packard praised the resolution and urged Episcopalians to support all members of the armed forces whose lives may have been injured by Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
For Packard’s remarkable life story CLICK HERE

The second speaker was Catherine Roskam, Suffragan Bishop of New York.  She seconded Packard’s remarks about international torture and pointed out that the second resolve supported the “cessation of torture in American jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers.”  For a description of Roskam CLICK HERE

The Episcopal church calls upon “lawyers who are Episcopalian and dioceses . . . to procure or provide pro bono legal counsel to help defend any Episcopalian in military, police . . . who faces discharge or disciplinary action for refusing to order, engage or assist in torture….”

The Episcopal Church calls “upon the United States government, and all governments, individuals and organizations in any location in the world to comply with the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights . . . enacting policies to prevent the use of torture and extraordinary rendition both domestically and abroad.”

Finally, in response to the National Religious Campaign Against Torture the Episcopal Church calls “upon the President and Congress to devise and implement truth and reconciliation-based methods of accountability to make transparent to the American people governmental practices of torture and extraordinary rendition.”

Needless to say I am deeply grateful to a great many people here at the General Convention — too many to list at this time — whose decency and political wisdom caused this resolution to pass.

The text of the resolution is below my name.  Probably a few words will be adjusted in the final “editing” of all resolutions.

Surely the dear G-d is with and within you always.  Let us hold the torturers and the tortured in our hearts so they may know the love of the dear G-d in their hearts.  They have suffered so much.

George

Resolution:

C020

Title:

Condemnation of Torture

Topic:

Human Rights

Committee:

09 – National and International Concerns

House of Initial Action:

Deputies

Proposer:

Diocese of Newark

Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th General Convention condemn the use of torture and the practice of extraordinary rendition by the United States and any government, individual or organization in any location in the world; and be it further

Resolved, that Episcopalians shall not engage in, order, or assist in the torture of any human being, and shall not counsel the use of torture for intelligence gathering or any other purpose; and be it further

Resolved, that lawyers who are Episcopalians and dioceses are urged to procure or provide pro bono legal counsel to help defend any Episcopalian in military, police, civilian governmental or contractor service who faces discharge or disciplinary action for refusing to order, engage or assist in torture, or for refusing to approve or to provide counsel justifying the use of torture for any purpose, or who faces discharge or disciplinary action for exposing such practices; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention call upon the United States government, and all governments, individuals and organizations in any location in the world to comply with Geneva Conventions and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the administration of Justice, enacting policies to prevent the use of torture and extraordinary rendition both domestically and abroad; and be it further

Resolved, that the General Convention call upon the President and Congress to devise and implement truth and reconciliation-based methods of accountability to make transparent to the American people governmental practices of torture and extraordinary rendition.

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