Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Torture

Christianity Today on Torture and "Torture Lite"
So I do not write to demonize those who believe that protecting our nation's security requires the use of interrogation techniques that could be classified as borderline torture. Nor do I want to get into a technical and detailed argument about particular interrogation techniques to determine if they are torture. What I want to focus on is the idea that, given the war on terror, the gloves should be taken off. Simply put, should our government have the option - even if used only rarely and in extreme circumstances - of torturing?

I believe Christians should say no, on the following five grounds ...
1. Torture violates the dignity of the human being. Every inch of the human body and every aspect of the human spirit comes from God and bears witness to his handiwork. We are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28)...
2. Torture mistreats the vulnerable and violates the demands of justice. In the Scriptures, God's understanding of justice tilts toward the vulnerable. "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry" (Ex. 22:21-23)...
3. Authorizing torture trusts government too much. Human beings are sinful through and through (Rom. 3:10-18). We are not to be trusted, and we are especially dangerous when in possession of unchecked power. This applies to all of us...
4. Torture dehumanizes the torturer...
5. Torture erodes the character of the nation that tortures. A nation is a collective moral entity with a character, an identity that carries across time. Causes come and go, threats come and go, but the enduring question for any social entity is who we are as a people. This is true of a family, a church, a school, a civic club, or a town. It is certainly true of a nation.

Sen. John McCain, who has led the Republican charge against torture, recently said, "This isn't about who they are. This is about who we are. These are the values that distinguish us from our enemies." ...

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