Faith Leaders Press Obama On Torture Commission

June 11, 2009

Author: Tiffany Stanley

Source: Religion News Service

Prominent religious officials led a march to the White House on Thursday (June 11), urging President Obama to form a "commission of inquiry" into interrogation practices under the Bush administration.

The clerics joined other senior religious leaders and supporters for a "public witness," forming a crowd clothed in robes, collars, hijabs and yarmulkes.

"It is often said the way to move forward is putting behind the past," said the Rev. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, as he stood in front of the White House. "We who gather here today believe the way to the future comes after a full disclosure of truth of wrongdoing."

The rally was sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), which has applauded Obama's executive order to abide by international anti-torture agreements. But the interfaith organization also wants a nonpartisan truth commission to investigate past torture practices, recalling those of post-apartheid South Africa.

"Only by knowing the truth will the American people have the opportunity to develop a strong conviction that torture must never be justified," said Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America.