Christian Leaders Call for Repentance in Response to Iraq Prison Abuse

( [email protected] ) May 14, 2004 02:01 PM EDT

NEW YORK—Many Christian leaders representing different denominations and organizations are outraged over Iraqi prisoner abuse looking at the incident as the result of human depravity. The leaders have expressed the need to repent as a whole nation.

In response to the abuse, Fuller Seminary president Richard Mouw has called the problem one of human depravity and encouraged Americans to repent.

Campus Crusade for Christ's Vonette Bright also called for national repentance and for troops to publicly confess and ask for forgiveness.

Prison Fellowship founder Charles Colson responded to the abuse in his radio broadcast saying, "Our armed forces have always been distinguished by a sense of decency and caring," he says. "There is a streak of decency in Americans. The reason is historic, rooted in the worldview of the founders of this country."

The National Council of Churches along with other human rights groups wrote in a letter to Faithful America calling for a special persecutor to further investigate the abuse acknowledging that the story of abuses in Iraq will continue. The letter wrote:

"But these horrible, disturbing pictures are only the beginning. We now know there are hundreds more pictures and video; of rape, severe beatings, a smiling soldier posing next to a dead prisoner. …

"Even worse, these were not "bad apple" cases. Since 9/11, the US has created an archipelago of torture and illegal detention across the world."

Whereas some groups like the Sojourners evangelical organization is calling for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to resign, World magazine editor Marvin Olasky and publisher Joel Belz say the incident shouldn’t be blamed on Rumsfeld.

"Rumsfeld is not responsible for the perverse acts of a few: Given man's sinfulness multiplied by wartime pressures, every war brings out evil conduct, and only now are digital cameras and Internet advances throwing instant light on dark corners," Olasky said. "Rumsfeld should be fired if he tried to hinder the investigation, and should otherwise be encouraged to take whatever vigorous action is needed to guard against future incidents."

Belz said he blames the scandal on "the coarsening of a culture that took place for a generation and more leading up to the unveiling of such wicked acts."