Minute on Torture

Recognizing that of God in every person, we condemn the use of torture for any purpose, either to further the objectives of war or to prevent terrorism. War and terrorism inspire fear, but retaliation and torture do not prevent them. Torture by any means, whether direct or by proxy, is immoral. Torture destroys the humanity of the tortured, the torturer and those who have knowledge of it. It fails to defend the sanctity of life.

Civilized nations agree that these techniques are immoral. As Friends with a commitment to integrity, we call on the United States to honor its treaty obligations to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, their 1977 Protocols, and the U.N. Convention Against Torture. By not honoring these agreements, we endanger our own soldiers and civil society itself; according to military leaders, torture does not lead to accurate information. Failing to maintain our integrity as a nation destroys trust and undermines our ability to lead effectively.

We agree with William Penn, Quaker founder of Pennsylvania, who once said, “A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil that good may come of it.” Let the United States abolish its use of torture now.