NRCAT Coalition Letter to Pres. Obama: Thank You for Ending US Sponsored Torture

February 4, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama
The United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington , D.C. 20016

Dear Mr. President:
As religious leaders, we express our deepest appreciation for your complete, unswerving, and immediate action to end U.S.-sponsored torture. During your campaign you invited the nation to join you in changing the world; you have already lived up to that promise with respect to U.S.-sponsored torture.
We commend not only your Executive Order on the subject, which requires the CIA to comply with the Army Field Manual, closes secret prisons, ends rendition for torture, and provides the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all U.S.-held detainees; we also respect and are thankful for the numerous key appointments you have made of individuals opposed to torture. We appreciate the strength and scope of your words which are unequivocal in your commitment to end U.S. sponsored torture.
Thank you again for immediately taking steps to remove the stain of torture from the soul of our great country. May the historic ideals of our nation – the rule of law and the rights of human beings – which you mentioned in your inaugural speech guide your actions.
With deep appreciation,



Bishop Howard J. Hubbard
Chairman, Committee on International
Justice and Peace, United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops

Rabbi Peter S. Knobel
Central Conference of American Rabbis

Rev. Dr. David Gushee
Evangelicals for Human Rights

Dr. Ingrid Mattson
Islamic Society of North America

Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop
Episcopal Church

Rabbi Steve Gutow
President and CEO
Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Rev. Dr. Stan Hastey
Minister for Mission & Ecumenism
Alliance of Baptists

Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon
General Secretary
National Council of Churches

Charlie Clements
President and CEO
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Joe Volk
Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

Rev. Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church, USA

Suhag Shuka
Managing Priest
Hindu American Foundation

Rev. Dr. John H. Thomas
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies

Rabbi Toba Spitzer
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed
National Director, Interfaith and
Community Alliances
Islamic Society of North America

Rabbi Brian Walt
Executive Director
Rabbis for Human Rights – North America

Archbishop Nicolae Condrea
Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas
Rabbi Gerry Serotta
Rabbis for Human Rights – North America

Jim Winkler
General Secretary
General Board of Church and Society
United Methodist Church

Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Jim Schrag
Executive Director
Mennonite Church USA

Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley
General Secretary
American Baptist Churches in the USA

Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago

Rev. Dr. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson
General Secretary
Reformed Church in America

Rev. William G. Sinkford
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Rabbi Shawn Zevit
Congregational Consultant
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation

Stanley J. Noffsinger
General Secretary
Church of the Brethren

Bishop Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

Rabbi Eric Yoffie
Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi David Saperstein
Director, Religious Action
Center of Reform Judaism