Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Religious Right Remains Silent on Torture

Remember the Religious Right? They are the people that are striving for a "culture of life." These are the folks that are fighting against abortion and euthanasia. These are the people that regard every single human life as "precious" unless it's on death row. Well now we learn that the Bush administration has been going to extreme lengths to endorse torture and protect the torturers. This would seem like the kind of issue that good Bible believing, God fearing, Jesus loving Christians should be all over. After all, how can you follow Christ and support torture? How can you stay silent on the issue while a President who claims to be one of your brethren leads his "Christian nation" in a practice that is anathema to all you believe? Put differently, how much criminal activity will you tolerate just to keep your guy in office? Where are Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and D. James Kennedy? Silent. Apparently there is no depth to which the Christian Right will not sink, including the silent endorsement of torture.

Why am I harping on the Religious Right? Because more than any other group in American society it is the Religious Right that has claimed the pedestal of moral absolutism. It is the Religious Right that proclaimed election victory on the issue of values and it is the Religious Right that has engaged on character assignation of untold numbers of Americans when the lives of the accused did not measure up to the Religious Right's moral standards. Now we learn that the President Bush, who courted the Religious Right so diligently with his professions of faith and affinity for the Bible and promises to promote their agenda has fought for the right to torture his prisoners. Will the same voices that screamed so loudly when they learned the President Clinton lied about sex speak out when their own President lies about torture? The silence is deafening.

To those who hold no faith in God it is not unreasonable to conclude that the conservative Christians endorse torture.

From the New York Times:

At the urging of the White House, Congressional leaders scrapped a legislative measure last month that would have imposed new restrictions on the use of extreme interrogation measures by American intelligence officers, Congressional officials say. The article continues... Current and former government officials said specific interrogation methods were addressed in a series of still-secret documents, including an August 2002 one by the Justice Department that authorized the C.I.A.'s use of some 20 interrogation practices. The legal opinion was sent to the C.I.A. via the National Security Council at the White House. Among the procedures approved by the document was waterboarding, in which a subject is made to believe he might be drowned.

">Marty Lederman's blog :
According to this very recent ">USA Today poll (taken last week), 59% of respondents said that they would not be willing to have the U.S. government torture known terrorists even if those known terrorists "know details about future terrorist attacks in the U.S." and the government thought such torture was "necessary to combat terrorism"! And when asked whether "you think it is right or wrong for the U.S. government to use [particular techniques] on prisoners suspected of having information about possible terrorist attacks against the United States," respondents answered as follows:

-- Forcing prisoners to remain naked and chained in uncomfortable positions in cold rooms for several hours - WRONG, 79% to 18%

-- Having female interrogators make physical contact with Muslim men during religious observances that prohibit such contact - WRONG, 85% to 12%

-- Threatening to transfer prisoners to a country known for using torture - WRONG, 62% to 35% -- Threatening prisoners with dogs - WRONG, 69% to 29%

-- And as for Waterboarding ("Strapping prisoners on boards and forcing their heads underwater until they think they are drowning") - WRONG 82% to 18%

-- On "[d]epriving prisoners of sleep for several days," 49% of respondents answered RIGHT; 48% WRONG

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