A favorite Psalm sings, “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day.” But when modern “arrows” are explosives, it’s awfully difficult to be unafraid.
Therefore, it might be understandable that fear causes most Americans to feel that torture of suspected terrorists is often or sometimes justified, apart from justice.
However, it’s more than a little confusing when people who say they’re Christians are more supportive of torture than self-identified “unaffiliated” Americans, and it’s downright surprising that those who regularly worship support torture more than those who rarely attend religious services.
Soon, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to release its report from an 18-month probe into the CIA’s use of torture — abuses including long-term isolation and sensory deprivation, extremes of heat and cold, water-boarding, sleep deprivation, forced stress positions and worse. Elsewhere, the Department of Justice is investigating the torture deaths of some detainees, so the issue is again being debated.
It should be discussed prayerfully as well as politically. After all, the Romans tortured Jesus, beating and scourging him and placing thorns on his head and a spear in his side during his crucifixion, presumably because they wanted to extract information about a feared Jewish uprising against the empire as much as inflict punishment. Even if his treatment is seen as destined, his suffering and pain were real, and the brutality shameful.
But there seems to be a feeling — probably fueled by fear — that torture might be needed for national security, so maybe it’s logical, if not exactly defensible. Of course, St. Paul in Romans 3:8 clearly wrote that doing evil to achieve good is forbidden.
Here are the stats given in the article:
Polls say more Americans support some torture than oppose it. The breakdown ranges from 49 percent of the total U.S. population supporting and 47 percent opposing, according to the Pew Research Center, to 60 percent supporting and 39 percent opposing, according to Roper.
Meanwhile, 62 percent of evangelical Protestants think torture is OK; 51 percent of Catholics; 46 percent “mainline” Protestants; and just 40 percent unaffiliated. Read the article here.
And Jesus wept. This is just shameful. You are not prolife if you think abortion is ever morally justified. You are not prolife if you think that torture is ever morally justified. That is the clear and consistent teaching of the Church.
Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. Sin does not erase that fact. Human beings are, therefore, sacred and are to be treated with dignity. Always. Without exception.