On Sunday, June 24, Members of the Sparta United Methodist Church gathered outside the church at 71 Sparta Avenue for an end to torture around the world. Led by their pastor and organized by the Church and Society Committee, twenty-four participants prayed together, read scripture, and joined in a hymn to protest the inhumane and degrading treatment of those psychologically and physically harmed by torture.
For many years now, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) has designated June as Torture awareness month. NRCAT believes, “Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions, in their highest ideals, hold dear. It degrades everyone involved—policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation’s most cherished ideals.” NRCAT has focused on bringing to light a variety of inhumane practices from solitary confinement to enhanced interrogation practices.
This year the focus has been on the forty people imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. These individuals have been held for over a decade without charge or trial outside the limited protections of the United States law. Members of the Sparta United Methodist Church wore orange ribbons and dressed in orange in solidarity with the detainees who were sold to the U.S. by their enemies and sent to Guantanamo. Participants in the gathering held up a sign to remind everyone that “Torture is always wrong.”