What has been coming to light recently about the torture of some detainees during interrogation by some American military persons is devastating. One who believes in the dignity of the human person is ashamed at the low level of decency that we have stooped. With the breaking news of several CIA prisons throughout the world, the scandals of Guitanimo and Abu Ghraib, one can certainly understand the harsh reality of war, the necessity of prisons, the need to accommodate detainees, the importance of questioning suspects, and even the slow wheels of justice. But one can never and must never acquiesce, accept, condone or be silent about torture, even to produce needed intelligence information. Human dignity warrants that no matter what we have done, if we must be imprisoned, we should not be tortured.
It is important to affirm the dignity of each human person from the moment of conception to natural death. Dignity is not negotiable; it does not matter what we have done. We cannot deserve or warrant it. Rather, it is something inherent in every human person, regardless of who they are, what they have done, or what stage of life they are in.
Let us not be fooled by any arguments. Human dignity is not given to some and not to others. All people have the right not to be tortured, not to be killed in the womb, not to be used in medical experiments, and not to be assisted in taking ones’ own life, no matter how convincing the argument goes. One has the right to be respected, even loved and appreciated no matter who they are and what they have done. Human rights are not bestowed by man, but by God.
It is time to restore dignity to every person whether in embryonic form or in old age, born or unborn, healthy or unhealthy, guilty or not guilty. Dignity is dignity. Torture in any form is unacceptable plain and simple. We do not have the right to play God to determine who lives and who does not. Likewise, we do not have the right to determine who gets tortured and who does not. All people have the right to life. All people have the right not to be tortured. This is common sense. This is human dignity.
+Gregory John Mansour
(Reprinted with permission.)