Wednesday, April 25, 2007


When Does Impeachment Become a Matter of Faith?

A Call to Action to Spiritual Progressives

When the fundamental spiritual values of the world’s great religious traditions – compassion, generosity, love – are violated repeatedly by the actions of the highest civil authorities, people of faith must defend those values and work to remove those authorities in accordance with civil law.

When an administration engages in torture, under whatever Orwellian term of art it may employ, we who believe in the sanctity of human life and the fundamental equality of every human being must move beyond opposing torture to opposing the administration that enables it.

When the nation’s religious leaders call a war unjust and issue dozens of theological statements[i] opposing it, yet the administration continues to pursue that war, we must press for an end to the administration.

When prisoners languish for more than five years uncharged and untried in tropical prison camps under the administration’s guidance and authority, we must follow the call to do justice by working to end that administration.

When “justice is turned back, and righteousness stands at a distance, for truth stumbles in the public square,” we must speak truth to power and call for Congressional action.

We have been silent for too long. For those who believe in peace, the time to break silence comes when the executive arrogates from the Congress the power to make war; when it does so contrary to just war theory, contrary to international law, contrary to the United Nations charter, and contrary to the will of the international community. For those who believe that “the truth shall set us free,” the time to break silence arises when the president and vice president continuously use false claims to justify going to war.[ii] For those who believe in the sanctity and integrity of each human being, the time to break silence arises when the administration creates secret prisons, authorizes kidnapping and torture, and disregards the Geneva Conventions as “quaint.”[iii]

Therefore, the actions of the president and vice president having risen to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, we call on the Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against the President and Vice President of the United States in accordance with the Constitution.

At the same time, we call on Congress and the American people to pursue new policies based on a strategy of generosity that recalls one of the great moments in our proud national history: the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe following World War II. Such a strategy at this moment will restore our international standing and rebuild shattered relationships, it will address the life-threatening poverty and hopelessness that are the breeding grounds of international terrorism in parts of the developing world; and it will reflect the best of who we are as a people.

Now is the time for a new national direction. We can wait no longer.

[1] The web site of the National Council of Churches contains links to more than 100 such statements. (See

[1] There are dozens of examples of Bush Administration misstatements about the war, and a growing body of literature documents them. For one mainstream media list that includes several of them, see

[1] Attorney General Gonzales called some provisions of the Conventions “quaint” in a memo to the President justifying the setting aside of the Conventions for the war on terrorism (

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