Unveiling a Powerful Billboard on I-95 in Stratford and I-84 in Waterbury

Special Thanks to our Billboard Partners:
www.IWagePeace.org and
Barrett Outdoor Communications

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John Humphries: 860-236-5175 (h); 615-574-0629 (cell)
Kathleen McTigue: 203- 288-1807(w); 203-314-7988 (cell)

(Stratford, CT) With President Bush preparing to sign the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law on Tuesday, October 17th, Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice, a statewide interfaith network of religious leaders and people of faith established in 2002 is launching a publicity campaign to make sure Connecticut residents know which members of the state’s congressional delegation voted for the bill.

Today, Monday, October 16th, Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice teamed up with IWagePeace.org to unveil of a billboard on Interstate 95 in Stratford. Numerous religious leaders from throughout the state were in attendance for this occasion. The message “They Voted To Allow Torture” will reach 100,000 people per day on the billboard measuring 14 feet high and 48 feet wide which faces southbound traffic between exits 30 and 31. In addition, a second billboard will be placed on I-84 in Waterbury.

Last month Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice (RTPV) organized the state’s religious leaders to speak out against the legislation, calling upon Connecticut’s congressional delegation to stand firmly opposed to any weakening of the United States’ commitment to Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. With the passage of the legislation, they now seek to hold those who voted in favor of the legislation – Senator Lieberman and Representatives Johnson, Shays and Simmons – accountable for their votes.

“As a religious voter, I am concerned about moral values and the rule of law,” said John Humphries, a Quaker who is a member of the RTPV Steering Committee. Humphries noted that the new law guts the War Crimes Act, giving immunity to civilians who ordered or tolerated prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere since 9/11. “Violations of the Geneva Conventions are no longer criminal offenses under US law,” Humphries said. “Torture is an issue that rises above partisan politics and should always be illegal. What we needed was moral leadership, but these politicians failed to provide it.”

Bruce A. Barrett, editor, IWagePeace.org and partner, Barrett Outdoor Communications, Inc., said “This is an issue I feel very strongly about, and I’m pleased to make this part of our IWagePeace.org project. We think it is important to make people aware of how their elected representatives voted on this bill. People need to understand that five former Joint Chiefs – General Colin Powell, John Shalikashvili, John Vessey, Hugh Skelton, and William Crowe – joined 48 other military leaders and openly stated in writing that this bill had no military and posed a real threat to our men and women in uniform*. Yet Senator Lieberman and Representatives Shays, Johnson, and Simmons overruled the generals and voted in favor of the bill. Thanks to these politicians, we have “look tough” legislation that endangers our military, affirms interrogation techniques of no military value and erodes our basic human rights. The people have a right to know these things.”

[View Printable Press Release]

THE NATION: Torture is a Moral Issue

As religious leaders in Connecticut we are deeply concerned, indeed horrified, that Congress is poised to legalize torture. Earlier this week, at a press conference at Hartford Seminary, we spoke in one voice to say emphatically: No torture anywhere anytime--no exceptions. We joined our voices with those of national religious leaders in the National Religious Campaign Against Torture who published an advertisement signed by national figures in Washington's Roll Call on the same day.

We are compelled to speak again because the just-announced Republican "compromise" threatens to compromise the rule of law and the laws of God. Torture is a moral and legal issue; it is also a profoundly religious issue, for it degrades the image of God in the tortured and the torturer alike. Our moral compass is swinging wildly. To tolerate, or worse decriminalize, torture jeopardizes the soul of our nation.

If we were not to raise our voices in outrage at this time, the very stones would cry out... [View FULL Story]

Members of the RTPV Steering Committee:
Rabbi Donna Berman, the Rev. Dennis Calhoun, the Rev. Sonnie Fish, John Humphries, the Rev. Kathleen McTigue, Kasha Ho, Father Tom O'Rourke, the Rev. Allie Perry, the Rev. Susan Power Trucksess.