Who Would Jesus Torture?

Ken AshfordWar on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Pew Survey:

The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new survey.


White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified — more than six in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only four in 10 of them did.

And evangelicals wonder why America is turning away from religion….

Of course, the correlation isn’t between religion and pro-torture.  It’s between conservatives-and-religion, and conservatives-and-torture.  Conservatives tend to go to church more and conservatives support torture more.  That accounts for the survey results.

That said, I personally believe that if you claim to be religious AND you support torture, you lose the moral high ground to use your religion as the basis to advocate anything — be it opposition to same-sex marriage, opposition to abortion, etc.

Adam Serwer of The American Prospect laments:

I feel like I should be making some smart remark about how Jesus was tortured, but I’m really too horrified. Of course, that won’t stop me from pointing out the obvious: there is a large number of people committed to preventing consenting adults from having sex or getting married because of their sexual orientation who nevertheless think it’s okay to beat or waterboard people and shove them in tiny boxes.

Glenn Greenwald points out just how far to the right we have moved since Reagan who said this about torture:

Ronald Reagan, May 20, 1988, transmitting the Convention Against Torture to the Senate for ratification:

The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention.  It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called “universal jurisdiction.” Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.