03 March 2013

CCR has always been short for Creedence Clearwater Revival for me, but today, it took on new significance as I went to hear Vince Warren, the executive director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, speak.

The New York-based CCR is a 47-year old organization dedicated to protecting human rights as they are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This would seem to be a relatively unassailable notion, but add in that CCR’s work usually means suing the government or the Vatican or huge corporations, and it quickly becomes clear that almost every battle is of  David Vs. Goliath proportions.

Luckily, CCR has much more than a slingshot in its arsenal, including its partnering with likeminded organizations, such as the ACLU or, in the case of the Vatican, with SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused By Priests).  

For me, it’s a hard and discomforting notion to think that the U.S. government is capable of doing really horrible things, especially when we’re in an era where to criticize and question the government, especially on matters that allegedly pertain to national security, is to be accused of being Un-American. In truth, the ability to  criticize the government is one of our most fundamental rights and one of the things that makes me so glad to be an American. 

CCR is on the forefront of fighting against illegal detentions, torture, rendition, and a number of other atrocities. One of its most celebrated victories came a few years ago with Al Odah v. United States when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Guantanamo detainees have the right to file habeas corpus petitions. 

As Warren acknowledged, it can be an uphill fight when CCR is defending the rights of people that may have meant us harm. But everyone has the right to due process and the minute it slides for one group, the slippery slope begins. Again, I don’t want my blog to be overtly political so I’ll stop here, but if you’re interested in seeing the staggering about of human rights violations that CCR is fighting against, go to its website. The link is below. 

Do I agree with every issue the CCR takes on? No, but I am incredibly thankful it is there. 

Why I started this blog.

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