Tuesday, January 1, 2008

January 11, 2008, marks the sixth anniversary of the first prisoners arriving at Guantanamo Bay, the infamous prison for those suspected of being "enemy combatants" in what is often called the "War on Terror." This is a date that should live in infamy for people of faith and good conscience, everywhere, but most especially here in the United States because it was the opening of "Gitmo" based on a legal fiction developed by lawyers for our government that created the first detention camps for a new class of people without either constitutional rights nor those afforded prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions was created in the name of national security. The location of the camp in this base located on the tip of Cuba was chosen to reinforce that fiction and allow for the use of torture and inhumane treatment of individuals in the custody of the United States government because, in short, the current administration had created a new class of people, those without civil or even human rights.

As people of faith we cannot fail to bear witness to this outrage against the sanctity of human life and the rights of people to be treated with dignity and compassion, even those who are our enemies for indeed our treatment of them should not be dependent on who they are or what they have done, but on who we are and what we believe is right, moral and true. As Americans, we cannot but be outraged that this place of torture, and this blatant denial of the unalienable rights of human beings to be treated according to the rule of law, as well as this abrogation of the minimum standards of treatment of prisoners in what the President himself terms a war on terror, has shamed our nation and placed the US among those pariah nations outside the rules of the civilized world.

On January 11, I urge all people of conscience to join with me and the American Civil Liberties Union in wearing orange to protest the outrage of Guantanamo and demand its immediate closing. How long will we allow this outrage against human decency to continue? How long will it be before we learn that the ends do not justify the means, rather, as Martin Luther King said, "the ends are inherent in the means." Gitmo is anti-American, it is anti-human, it is immoral and America is better than this!

Go to www.aclu.org/closeguantanmo for more information about how you can get involved