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Today marks the seventh anniversary of the opening of George W. Bush’s Guantanamo concentration camps, which have stained the image of America around the world. Today, in gatherings of people of faith across the United States, prayer will be joined for the end of the regime of torture that Bush introduced. This an initiative of the National Religious Coalition Against Torture, whose website now features a “countdown clock.” It will count down the hours until President Obama’s first workday in office, when we hope and expect he will sign an executive order ending torture. If President Obama does not issue an executive order by 9:00 am (EST) on January 21st, the clock will begin “counting up,” marking the hours that have passed without an executive order ending torture. Here is the NRCAT appeal:
While the clock is counting down, we call on everyone to join in our multi-faith prayer to end U.S.-sponsored torture by including the prayer in a worship service between January 11 and the inauguration. We have developed a 2-sided bulletin insert with the prayer printed on one side and information about the Declaration of Principles for a Presidential Executive Order on Prisoner Treatment, Torture and Cruelty on the other. This brief prayer could be included in regularly scheduled services or as part of special services marking the January 11th anniversary or celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commitment to justice and human rights.
NRCAT will focus much of our media outreach in January on the participation of religious congregations in this interfaith prayer, so please let us know that you plan to participate by clicking here.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”