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Every denomination needs one of these...

Thomas continues to defend terrorist Alejandrina Torres

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Miffed by a letter to the editor at the Evansville Courier & Press that criticized the UCC's hosting of a terrorist art show back in November, United Church of Christ President John Thomas and Linda Jaramillo of Justice and Witness Ministries amusingly respond with a jab at UCCtruths. From the letter:
Interestingly, Kissel's claims about the UCC are lifted, almost verbatim, from a Web site wholly devoted to attacking the UCC, its leaders, its pastors and its churches on every issue imaginable.

In a post-9/11 context, Kissel's inflammatory and repeated attempts to link the word "terrorists" with our church are beyond the pale. Here are the facts.

In November, in partnership with Cleveland's large, respected Cuyahoga Community College, the UCC's Church House in Cleveland was the site of an art exhibition called "Not Enough Space," which introduced our city to the phenomenal works of two exceptional artists who vividly bring to life the faith and perseverance of impoverished Puerto Rican citizens, especially children.

The artists' incredible insights into the beauty of Puerto Rico's people and culture are even more amazing given they are prisoners who have served decades behind bars.

This temporary exhibit, sponsored by our national prison ministries office, was brought to the UCC's Amistad Chapel as one way of demonstrating the church's love and concern for those who are incarcerated, as Jesus has compelled us.

Moreover, while the UCC has constantly condemned violence in the pursuit of justice as unacceptable, the UCC General Synod has had a long history of standing with Puerto Ricans who advocate self-determination for their people and their homeland. In this regard, we stand proudly alongside other respected church bodies, former U.S. presidents and Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

In the case of Alejandrina Torres, a 35-year member of the UCC, church leaders have long acknowledged that Torres was convicted of a criminal offense. However, subsequently, Torres served her entire prison sentence, has publicly renounced violence and actively advocated for peaceful resistance. She completed all of her parole requirements, and she has been fully exonerated by law enforcement agencies, the courts and the federal government.
Thomas and Jaramillo are deliberately lying on a number of points:
  • The purpose of the art exhibition "Not Enough Space" was to commemorate the 25 years of imprisonment of terrorists Carlos Alberto Torres and Oscar López Rivera.
  • The UCC's invitation to the event claimed that Torres and Rivera were "serving long prison terms for acts and beliefs in favor of Puerto Rican independence." What they didn't mention were the convictions they received... seditious conspiracy, interference with interstate commerce by threats or violence, possession of an unregistered firearm, carrying firearms during the commission of seditious conspiracy and interference with interstate commerce by violence, interstate transportation of firearms with the intent to commit seditious conspiracy and interference with interstate commerce by violence, interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, conspiracy to escape, to transport explosives with intent to kill and injure people, and to destroy government buildings and property, aiding and abetting travel in interstate commerce to carry on arson, and using a telephone to carry on arson.
  • The UCC, to anyone's recollection, never condemned Torres' actions. In fact UCC Executives went to Congress to defend the clemency she received. In testimony, Rev. Dr. Thomas Dipko (then an executive with the UCC) watched a video of Alejandrina Torres building a bomb and conceded "If that is an accurate record of the happening and that is in fact what she was doing, the church would wish to, of course, disassociate from it." Someone forgot to tell Thomas and Jaramillo.
  • Where has the UCC "acknowledged that Torres was convicted of a criminal offense"? It wasn't in the invitation and you can't find anything about it on the internet. In fact, Rev. Dr. Thomas Dipko refused to acknowledge the significance of Torres crimes in his testimony to Congress.
  • Torres did not serve her entire sentence and she was never "exonerated by law enforcement agencies." This is a complete fabrication by Thomas and Jaramillo. The FBI, as well as local law enforcement, testified against Torres specific actions in testimony to Congress.
You can also see a video of Jaramillo fawning over her terrorist hero at YouTube. For more details about the exhibit and the crimes committed by the FALN, click here. The facts do not support Jaramillo and Thomas claims at all.

And just to set the record straight, UCCtruths is critical of UCC leaders and the half-wits that believe everything they say - not the UCC in whole. I fully respect the work going on in our local churches.
posted by UCCtruths, Wednesday, August 01, 2007


This is nuts. How can John Thomas make the claim that Torres was "exonerated by law enforcement agencies". Torres was granted "clemency" which not the same as exoneration. Clemency means that your sentence is reduced, but the criminal record still stands and Torres is still considered a felon.
commented by Anonymous David Berndsen, 9:23 AM  

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