UUA President Witnesses Against Torture in DC
On June 11, 2009, President Rev. William G. Sinkford of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) spoke outside the White House. Rev. Sinkford joined several other American religious leaders to denounce torture and to call for an independent, non-partisan, Commission of Inquiry on U.S.-sponsored torture. The rally was hosted by the National Religious Coalition Against Torture (NRCAT).
Speaking to members of the media before the event, Rev. Sinkford said, “Whatever our religion or nationality, we have been impacted by witnessing as the American government deprives human beings of their most basic rights. It is imperative that we know the recent history that shapes us.” He continued, “By calling for a commission of inquiry, we affirm our own humanity and take a critical step towards ending U.S.-sponsored torture. We cannot remain complicit in the practice of torture by perpetrating silence.”
Outside the White House, Rev. Sinkford spoke in front of hundreds of protesters including dozens of Unitarian Universalists (UUs) from all over the eastern seaboard, including some from as far away as Carrboro and Chapel Hill, NC. Also in attendance was a member of the Unitarian Union of Northern India. Addressing the crowd, Rev. Sinkford said, “We have a right and a responsibility to know what has been done in our name. Our work as religious people must continue until we have a full understanding of our history and a national consensus that torture is wrong. Dr. Martin Luther King said that when the church is doing its job, it serves as a moral beacon to society. Our religious communities must be that beacon now, standing up for the truth and for the basic human rights of all God’s children.”
The event at the White House was Rev. Sinkford’s final public witness activity in Washington, DC, as UUA President. In the past eight years as President of the UUA, he has witnessed in Washington for an end to genocide in Darfur, against the war in Iraq, for comprehensive sexuality education and increased HIV/AIDS prevention and care. UUs in attendance thanked Rev. Sinkford for his years of work in Washington, DC, and he thanked them for their faithful presence.