Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jesus, Our Tortured Brother Today

By Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU

“Jesus Before the Soldiers” by Doug Blanchard.

Jesus, our Tortured Brother,
In this world, so many are
forced to walk your path today —
the suffering and pain, the
humiliation, sense of betrayal
and abandonment,
for those with power, the
Romans of today, continue to
condemn others to modern crosses.

You said that what was done to the least of these
was done to you and so each day,
You are tortured anew.

Jesus, our Guardian of the Wounded and Tortured,
Bid us to look into the secret prisons — the unmarked
graves — the hearts and minds of the torture survivors,
Bid us to wipe the tears of the families of those whose
decapitated bodies were cast into the open sea,
Bid us to embrace the open wounds of the tortured.

Jesus, Guiding Spirit,
Teach us to be in solidarity with those who hang
from these crosses,
Call out to those who torture,
“Know the evil you have done and repent.”
Call out to the rest of us, “What meaning does love have
if you allow torture to continue unopposed?”

In the name of all the tortured of the world,
give us the strength, give us the courage,
give us the will to bring this horror to an end,
in the name of love, justice,
and the God of us all.


TAKE ACTION! To petition the Obama administration to prosecute, to the full extent of the law, all of the parties responsible for the use of torture as outlined in the Senate's report on CIA torture, click here.

About Dianna Ortiz, author of "Jesus, Our Tortured Brother Today": Sister Dianna Ortiz is a U.S Roman Catholic nun of the Ursuline order. While serving as a missionary in Guatemala in 1989, she was abducted by U.S.-backed right-wing forces and brutally tortured. Sister Ortiz chronicled her experience and recovery in her book (co-written with Patricia Davis) The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth. (For Salon's review, click here.)

In early 1995 Sister Ortiz won $5 million in a U.S. civil court case against the former Minister of Defense of Guatemala — General Héctor Gramajo. In its ruling, the judiciary stated that “[Gramajo-Morales]...was aware of and supported widespread acts of brutality committed under his command resulting in thousands of civilian deaths. . . .” and further noted that Gramajo-Morales “devised . . . [and] directed . . . [an] indiscriminate campaign of terror against civilians.” Five years after bringing her U.S. Civil Suit against Gramajo-Morales, Sister Ortiz won a judgment against the State of Guatemala through the Inter American Court of Human Rights where she specified that Gen. Gramajo “made several [official] statements to the effect that Sister Ortiz’s injuries did not occur or were self-inflicted.”

Sister Ortiz is founder of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC), the only organization in the United States founded by and for survivors of torture. TASSC’s current policy campaign is dedicated to repealing the Military Commissions Act of 2006, what the survivors of torture at TASSC call the US Torture Law.

About Doug Blanchard's "Jesus Before the Soldiers": This powerful work of art is part of Blanchard's The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision, a series of 24 panels that, as Kittredge Cherry notes, depicts Jesus as a "contemporary gay man in a modern city as he lives out the dramatic events of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, and his arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection."

To view other panels from the series, click here.

For information about the book version of The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision, click here.

Related Off-site Links and Updates:
How the CIA Torture Program Helped Give Birth to the Islamic State Terrorist Group – Loretta Napoleoni (AlterNet, December 16, 2014).
America, Nation of Torturers: Stop Saying "This Isn't Who We Are" — Here’s the Real Truth – Charles Davis (Salon, December 16. 2014).
Cheney's Tortured (December 16, 2014).
The US Government's Use of Torture is an Indelible Stain on the Nation's Conscience – Editorial Board (National Catholic Reporter, December 12, 2014).
Senate Report: We Tortured Prisoners, It Didn't Work, and We Lied About It – Kevin Drum (Mother Jones, December 9, 2014).
10 Appalling Findings in the Senate’s Torture Report – Luke Brinker (Salon, December 9, 2014).
Obama Condems CIA Torture Past But Stays Quiet on Accountability – Dan Roberts (The Guardian, December 10, 2014).
The CIA Mistakenly Tortured Its Own Informants – German Lopez (Vox, December 9, 2014).
A Nation Awash in Violence Admits to Torture: "We Have Lost Forever the Right to Moral Leadership" – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, December 10, 2014).
"These Are Crimes": New Calls to Prosecute Bush Administration as Senate Report Reveals Brutal CIA TortureDemocracy Now! (December 10, 2014).
What Ferguson, Eric Garner, and CIA Torture Have in Common – Shahid Buttar (Foreign Policy in Focus via Common Dreams, December 10, 2014).
Calls Grow for Dick Cheney and George W. Bush to Be Prosecuted for Torture – Jason Easley (PolitcusUSA, December 9, 2014).
Why the ACLU is Asking President Obama To Pardon Bush and Cheney For Permitting Torture – Jean Ann Esselink (The New Civil Rights Movement, December 9, 2014).
Torture Denial: U.S. Flunks the Religious Acid Test – Peter Laarman (Religion Dispatches, December 10, 2014).
"Corrupt, Toxic and Sociopathic": Glenn Greenwald Unloads on Torture, CIA and Washington's Rotten Soul – Elias Isquith (Salon, December 11, 2014).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Something to Think About – December 11, 2014
Catholics and Torture
Saying "No" to Torture and the Republican Agenda
Praying for George W. Bush
The Passion of Christ (Part 6): Jesus Before the Soldiers


Kittredge Cherry said...

This same painting has been on my mind as I absorbed the latest news about the CIA torture. As I wrote in the book about Doug’s Passion series, “The trauma endured by Blanchard’s contemporary Christ is not an isolated incident, but a theme that recurs in human history and perhaps the human heart. With this image, all victims become one with Christ and receive a chance for compassionate attention from the viewer.”

Your readers may be interested to know that the book version of “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision” was published recently. The book’s new website provides an easy way to view all the images:

Michael J. Bayly said...

Thanks so much, Kitt, for sharing your wise words and for providing the link to the book version of "The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision." I'll be sure to add it to the body of this post.