Prominent Southern Baptist leader Richard Land condemns waterboarding
WASHINGTON, May 06, 2009 (The Oklahoman - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A prominent Southern Baptist leader condemned torture today and said he considered waterboarding to be torture.
"I don't agree with the belief that we should use any means necessary to extract information," said Richard Land, head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.
"For me, the ultimate test is: Could I, in good conscience, do whatever I am authorizing or condoning others to do? If not, then I must oppose the action. If I could not waterboard someone -- and I couldn't -- then I must oppose its practice." Land's comments come amid new scrutiny here of the legal authorization given by Bush administation lawyers for interrogation methods that came to include waterboarding of suspected terrorists captured by the U.S. government.
President Barack Obama reiterated last week that he considers waterboarding -- which simulates drowning -- to be torture. But many, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, have said interrogation methods used in the wake of the 9/11 attacks led to information that saved American lives. Obama ordered the release of documents last month that revealed waterboarding was used repeatedly on at least two suspects.
Land said today that waterboarding "violates everything we believe in as country.
"There are some things you should never do to another human being, no matter how horrific the things they have done. If you do so, you demean yourself to their level." To see more of The Oklahoman, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.newsok.com. Copyright (c) 2009, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.
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