Torture is Sin: My Speech in Front of Jeppesen

On Friday, November 16, I spoke at a rally in front of a building in downtown San Jose, California in front of the offices of Jeppesen International, a flight planning company that reportedly is in charge of organizing the flights used by the CIA to move terror suspects to countries where they are tortured. The text of my speech is below. This speech was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum on Nov. 19, 2007.

Before I get started I have to say to you that my remarks contain a lot of old fashioned religious language. You see, for me it is painful to be standing here, in the city that has become my home, talking about how my government has chosen to use torture against real and perceived enemies, and about how so few of our elected leaders—both locally and nationally—have had the courage to join us in speaking out against the use of torture. My path to understanding what I feel about torture has taken me back to a religious place I seldom visit.

Ever since the New Yorker broke the story of Jeppesen International’s alleged involvement in the rendition of American-held detainees to countries where they might be tortured, I have been convinced that people of faith cannot talk about the American use of torture in the so-called “War on Terror” until we reclaim the language of morality and sin. Continue reading