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US evangelical group condemns detainee policies

[JURIST] The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) [official website] endorsed [press release] a declaration against torture [PDF text] drafted by 17 evangelical scholars, a move some say signifies an end to US President George W. Bush's alliance with Christian evangelicals. The declaration, written by Evangelicals for Human Rights [official website], noted the traditional relationship between Christianity and "the human rights ethic." The authors also said that the United States has historically led the world in human rights efforts, but "our moral vision has blurred since 9/11. We need to regain our moral clarity." The declaration notes that "the current administration has decided to retain morally questionable interrogation techniques among the options available to our intelligence agencies" and expresses concern with several provisions in the Military Commissions Act [JURIST news archive], including "one in which CIA officials are not required to submit to congressional oversight, and are not held to the same standards as the U.S. military" and provisions which do not "allow terrorism suspects to challenge their detention or treatment through traditional habeas corpus petitions." The declaration concludes with a "call for the legislative or judicial reversal of those executive and legislative provisions that violate the moral and legal standards articulated in this declaration."

Rev. Richard Cizik [official profile], a leader within the NAE, told AP that the association's endorsement of the declaration against torture does not constitute a condemnation of Bush. Cizik said conservative evangelicals support the war against terror, "but that does not mean by any means necessary." The Guardian has more.

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