Wednesday, September 10, 2008

National Summit on Torture September 11-12 Sold Out at Mercer University Atlanta

An impressive lineup of speakers including prominent scholars, leaders from the faith community, former military officers and a victim of torture are on the program for a sold-out National Summit on Torture at Mercer University’s Atlanta campus September 11-12. Titled “Religious Faith, Torture, and Our National Soul” and scheduled for Thursday and Friday, the conference is being organized by Dr. David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer.

Gushee, who also serves as president of Evangelicals for Human Rights, a conference co-sponsor, said the program is designed to “go to the source of the problem, to diagnose how we got here, and to chart a way forward to a better American future.”

On Thursday at 10:45 a.m., results from a new poll commissioned by Mercer University and Faith in Public Life and conducted by Public Religion Research will be released. Among the findings are evidence that white evangelical Christians in the South are significantly more likely to oppose torture if they rely on Christian teachings or beliefs to form their views and that a majority agree with the Golden Rule argument against torture — that the U.S. government should not use methods against our enemies that we would not want used on American soldiers.

Among the more than 50 speakers, presenters and moderators scheduled to participate in the conference are academics from institutions such as Yale University, the University of Notre Dame, New York University, Seton Hall Law School, Morehouse College, Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University, Princeton Theological Seminary and Mercer. Presenters will also include retired senior military officers, leaders from Christian, Jewish and Islamic organizations, and a Catholic nun who was tortured while serving as a missionary in Guatemala.

Among the other co-sponsors of the conference are the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the Center for Victims of Torture, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Evangelicals for Social Action, Faith and the City, the Islamic Society of North America, Morehouse College, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, No2Torture, Rabbis for Human Rights, Sojourners and Third Way.

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