The Interfaith Peace Project is offering eleven days of reflections for your consideration during the eleven days leading up to The International Day of Peace, September 21st. The theme for this year’s International Day of Peace celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “The Right to Peace – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.” (Please see Thomas P. Bonacci’s letter of September 11, 2018.)
In our reflections, we bring together the wisdom of The Declaration of Human Rights, The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
In today’s refection, we consider Article 5 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As you prepare to observe The International Day of Peace, please consider these reflections. May they inspire and challenge you to be the peace you seek.
The Interfaith Peace Project
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment.
United States Constitution
The Bill of Rights
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Torture & the Death Penalty
“Today, on the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the United States declares its strong solidarity with torture victims across the world. Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.
Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. Beating, burning, rape, and electric shock are some of the grisly tools such regimes use to terrorize their own citizens. These despicable crimes cannot be tolerated by a world committed to justice.”
George W Bush
Statement by the President
U.N. International Day in Support of
Victims of Torture
June 26, 2003
The Roman Catholic Church on the Death Penalty
Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.
Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.
Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”, and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.
Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 2267
Presbyterian Church (USA) on the Death Penalty
In 1959, the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church in the USA stated, “the use of the death penalty tends to brutalize the society that condones it.” In 1978, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the US went on record as saying, “Capital punishment is an expression of vengeance which contradicts the justice of God on the cross.” In 1985, the Presbyterian Church (USA), reaffirmed these positions and declared “its continuing opposition to capital punishment.” Most recently, in 2008 the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) called for “an end to the death penalty.”