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Making a Statement Against Torture


November 9, 2006 | bpfna

from Don Sly, a member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT):

We from St. Mary's Parish in Seattle were out demonstrating our displeasure with our Federal Government's posture about torture of prisoners.

We had a couple large signs (about 5' x 5').

One had the unimpeachable statement: "Jesus Said to Visit the Imprisoned. Not Torture Them."

While not strictly true (Actually, around Matthew 25 Jesus said "the Righteous" would enter the kingdom on "The King's" right hand because, among other things, the Righteous had visited those in prison.) the meaning is clear. Besides, you know how poorly we Catholics read the Bible, and so we deserve a little license in our remembering.

Here's the point of all this: Rita, one of our more stalwart and perceptive sign hoisters, suddenly said, "Wait a minute! Why are we out here by the freeway offramp, hoisting these signs as if the signs say something
controversial? Why is not this sign already stuck in St. Mary's lawn, for all the world to see?"

What Rita meant was that in today's world, how can a Christian church NOT have a sign saying how Christ feels about the Law of our Land, which specifically writes the Geneva Conventions outside the treatment of people the Executive is free to designate as "enemy combatants.?" What is the slightest bit controversial about that?

So, now St. Mary's Church has the sign.

Here's what I fanticize every church doing;

The youth group gathers, magic markers in hand, to trace out on a tarp (or whatever you can come up with) the projected image of the words: "Jesus Said to Visit the Imprisoned. Not Torture Them."

Use whatever font you like. Shadow them. Border them. Translate to Hebrew. Spanish. Arabic.

Then, using bits of sponge or actual artist brushes, the kids paint the sign letters in outrageous colors. Or, in black and white. Whatever.

While the letters dry, out comes a scrap 2x4, with two 4-foot horizontal pieces. Fix the tarp to the frame, and taper the bottom of the 2x4. Next, someone gets a big hammer and 10 minutes later there isn't any doubt where that community stands on the issue.

This is a chance for every kid to be a leader...after all, which of us likes torture?

BPFNA is an endorser of NRCAT's statement, "Torture Is a Moral Issue". Read more at

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