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Reform Jewish Leader Commends Compromise on Detainee Treatment
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, noted in response to the agreement reached to support legislation banning cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees in United States’ custody: We applaud the President’s decision to support anti-torture legislation, the Members of Congress who have voted overwhelmingly in support of it, and most particularly, the work of Senator John McCain, who has been an unflinching and courageous voice of morality and reason on this issue.

Saperstein : The compromise between the President and Members of Congress is a crucial step toward repairing our international standing and reasserting our role as a moral beacon among nations.

Contact: Alexis Rice or Liz Kaplan 202.387.2800

Washington, December 16, 2005 - In response to the agreement reached yesterday between President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to support legislation banning cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees in United States’ custody, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

News reports detailing the abuse of detainees in United States’ custody over the last several years have tarnished our image in the world as a moral nation committed to justice and the rule of law. This compromise is a crucial step toward repairing our international standing and reasserting our role as a moral beacon among nations.

Communities from a variety of faith and secular backgrounds have denounced torture as immoral and contradictory to our nation’s ideals. As Reform Jews, we are motivated by the teaching that all humanity is created b’tselem elohim—in the image of God—and is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. We believe that torture is a profound violation of this principle, defiling both the human body and human dignity, and creating a culture of dehumanization that leads to increased human rights abuses.

We applaud the President’s decision to support anti-torture legislation, the Members of Congress who have voted overwhelmingly in support of it, and most particularly, the work of Senator John McCain, who has been an unflinching and courageous voice of morality and reason on this issue. Even as we look forward to the enactment of these provisions, we remember that the struggle to end torture and other human rights abuses across the globe is far from over. The Reform Movement reaffirms our commitment to this goal and recommits itself to the defense of human life and human dignity.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.




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