When Will “Decent Americans” Do the Right Thing?
Today, I received an email from Steven Watt, one of the attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union who is working to end “extraordinary rendition,” the practice of kidnapping SUSPECTED terrorists off the street, taking them to countries where torture is allowed, and “interrogating” them indefinitely in the hope of finding some useful scrap of intelligence. Watt quotes Khaled el-Masri, an innocent German citizen who was a victim of this practice–kidnapped by the C.I.A. and tortured in another country until finally they admitted they had the wrong person and el-Masri was repatriated to Germany. Germany has protested this abuse of their citizen to no avail. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case against the U.S. government for his treatment. Watt says that el-Masri told him not to lose hope because “one day decent Americans will do the right thing” and end this horrible practice.
My question is when? German citizens did not stop the Holocaust. The dying went on until the Allied soldiers liberated the death camps. Americans and Canadians did not protest the rounding up of citizens of Japanese descent and herding them into concentration camps until the war was over. (In both countries there were also attempts to ship them back to war torn Japan, too.) So, when? When will “decent Americans” close Gitmo, stop torture and rendition, and restore the rule of law? In this country where most consider themselves Christians, I get people telling me not to comment on such things here–that they are not part of Christian discipleship. If such opinions are widespread, no wonder Christians are doing so little to stop these things, now. Instead of leading the way, we are leaving it to secular organizations like the ACLU (which many Christians despise) to “do the right thing.”
If, like me, you don’t think “doing the right thing” on these matters should wait for a new president or some more “politically expedient” time, or decades from now when conservatives tell us that the “war on terror” will be over, or until the parousia, but that we need action NOW, then click here to tell Congress, “Don’t Wait for ’08,” but stop these abuses NOW. Then call them. Then write letters to the editorial sections of your local paper. Then find more ways to speak out. Don’t be silent. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “It is never the wrong time to correct injustice.”
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