Saturday, May 16, 2009

Christians Support Torture

A recent op ed piece by Lenoard Pitts discussed the results of a recent Pew opinion poll dealing with American's views of torture.  Pitts makes several excellent points that bear restating here:
  1. Between 1933 and 1945 the Nazi regime systematically slaughtered six million Jews.  Yet, for the most part, the Christian church said nothing.  This is especially true of the German church-- although the criticism can be extended well beyond the borders of Germany.  (I have written about the history of the German church during the days of Nazi Germany and the opposition, if you are unfamiliar with the history, you might want to read about it.)
  2. Between 1955 and 1968, the US was awash in violence as forces of "US apartheid" attempted to keep an entire race (all citizens of our nation) in abject poverty and subjection.  The church largely said nothing.  Still, often in the face of continuing racism, the church refuses to speak out.
  3. Beginning in the 1980's, folks with AIDS became modern day pariahs in our society.  The church did not, for the most part, speak out for justice and mercy.  The church largely said nothing.  In the mid 1980's, I was completing a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education.  My placement was at a psychiatric institution.  The other student chaplain found out that several of the residents had HIV/AIDS.  After that, he refused to be around, or (especially) touch those patients.  I kept wondering how he could ever be their chaplain.
Now, a recent Pew poll has found that almost 50% of Americans support torture in some cases. That's pretty sad.  Even sadder is that the least likely to support torture are the secular folks. The most likely are White, evangelical, protestants (62%).

One would think, as Pitts writes, Christians would  be the least likely to support torture.  First, by international law, it's illegal.  Second, by any fair estimate, it's immoral.  Finally, it's a vicious practice that brings Americans "down to the level" of terrorists.

I must say, over the last year, I have written about many things on this blog.  There are days it is hard to continue to call myself a Christian.

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