Sunday, April 26, 2009

Torture and Beyond

I'm against it! Torture is contrary to what I believe to be a major Christian ethic of love. Even the enemy is created in the image of God. Even the enemy is our brother or sister. Even the enemy is a human being. I remember a scene in "Platoon". Some American soldiers were trying to rape a young girl after torching her village. Charlie Sheen points his M-16 at them and tells them to stop, yelling "She's a human being". They stopped. It is heartening knowing President Obama has stopped torture as a national policy.

Persuasion, yes. We have heard many times from various sources that torture will give you what you want to hear, meaning anything to stop the pain. C.I.A., F.B.I., private operatives in abundance say the same thing. Oh yes, there is the other side; but the overwhelming evidence is torture doesn't work. Persuasion, building a relationship, trust building is effective.

OK, now how do we move beyond torture? The debate is vigorous. President Obama wants to move on and not prosecute anyone for offenses of the past, while many others want a "truth commission" or possible prosecutions in order to hold people accountable, to prove to nations that the United States is a "moral nation".

I believe the way beyond torture is many fold: 1) Reveal the truth through documents and pictures; 2) Establish a Truth Commission consisting of people of the highest integrity and fairness; 3) Make the sessions of the TC open to the public, put them on C-Span; 4) Expect that the outcome of the TC to include recommendations for moving forward. Recommendations could include impeachment of judges, prosecutions, and ....

Significant to our faith are confession, forgiveness, repentance, all leading to reconciliation. In Lutheran tradition, confession and forgiveness are part of our Sunday liturgy. Confession means to be honest about our part in doing injury, whether in "thought, word, or deed". Being open is key to forgiveness. A colleague once said to me, "Things left in the dark get worse". Healing happens through open confession, forgiveness, repentance, then reconciliation.

Dealing with our sordid torture practices, dealing with the truth is painful; but in the end, we will demonstrate moral courage, humility, regret, and a renewed commitment to affirm the humanity of all, even the enemy, and in the process, reconcile our souls with each other and God.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Next Journey

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace, mercy, and peace in Jesus' strong name!

Thank you for your responses. My hope is that this blogsite will encourage conversation among our unique community of conscience on a regular basis. Each of us brings our faith, values, and conscience to the table, gifts of God's grace for the sake of making real the Reign of God in the world.

My thanks to Peter Sawtell and Aaron and Adrienne Ruthnow for doing the heavy lifting a couple of years ago on setting up the Colorado Confession site, complete with blogging capability. Kindly consider this effort as a next step in nurturing the vision.

May I suggest a beginning plan. I will write an initial article or comment, send it out to all, and invite any and all to comment. Each week there would be another article by any signee of the CC. If you would like to write an article, send me your name and we'll schedule your article. Send your intention to: I will respond to schedule your article. How about sending the articless out on Mondays? Just an idea. I will write this Monday.

My guess is that there may be a glitch or two in this new system, but if we are prayerful, patient, and persistent, we can get it right. Finally, if you do not want to be part of any Colorado Confession blogging or communication, let me know. Otherwise, by the grace of God, let's talk!

Blessings and Peace!
Ron Letnes