Thursday, April 30, 2009

On Evangelicals and torture

photo © Adrian van Leen for CC:PublicDomain


Survey: Support for terror suspect torture differs among the faithful

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

More than half of people who attend services at least once a week -- 54 percent -- said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is "often" or "sometimes" justified. Only 42 percent of people who "seldom or never" go to services agreed, according the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

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.


The religious group most likely to say torture is never justified was Protestant denominations -- such as Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians -- categorized as "mainline" Protestants, in contrast to evangelicals. Just over three in 10 of them said torture is never justified. A quarter of the religiously unaffiliated said the same, compared with two in 10 white non-Hispanic Catholics and one in eight evangelicals.

I think this goes back to my theory that "being saved" subconsciously translates into "I can do anything I want, no repercussions.". After all, you're already forgiven of all your sins. Whereas groups who have to "earn" their salvation by actually following the Bible (instead of just reading it over and over again), doing the dreaded "good works", and treating others as they would be treated are less likely to torture. The least likely are those who don't believe in an afterlife, so they have to make this life count.

Problem is, the people who pay for this one are not the believers. It's our men and women in uniform. See, when we don't follow the Geneva convention when we capture the enemy, why should the enemy follow it when they capture our people? Matthew 7:12 actually does directly apply here:

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Funny how the Atheists get this more than the Evangelicals do.


Anonymous said...

Matthew 7:21 applies as well --
"Not everyone that says unto me, "Lord, Lord, will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."

Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is one, and many who are Christians just don't "get it". It's important not to judge Jesus by His followers. As an example, get a load of this email, which was forwarded by an acquaintance of mine who claims to be a Christian. His "answer" is at the bottom:
This test only has one question, but it’s a very important one. By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally. The test
features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will have to make a decision. Remember that your answer needs to be honest,
yet spontaneous.

Please scroll down slowly and give due consideration to each line.


You are in Florida, Miami to be specific. There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding. This is a flood of
Biblical proportions. You are photojournalist working for a major newspaper, and you’re caught in the middle of this epic disaster.
The situation is nearly hopeless.

You’re trying to shoot career-making photos. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water.
Nature is unleashing all of its destructive fury.



Suddenly you see a man and a woman in the water. They are fighting for their lives, trying not to be taken down with the debris. You move
closer. Somehow they look familiar. You suddenly realize who they are. It's Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi!! At the same time you notice
that the raging waters are about to take them under forever. You have two options:
You can save their lives or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the deaths of two of the world’s most
powerful people.



Here's the question, and please give an honest answer...

Would you select high contrast color film, or would you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?

My answer: Neither. I'd use high density digital in RAW format. Or maybe I'd shoot it using an M-16 in .223 caliber.

Annie C said...

You didn't need to be anonymous, you know. But that that was forwarded by a Christian does not surprise.

I am honest about being a liberal, and as Democrat, and I admit that the Bush years chafed, but I never wanted him dead. Out of office, and quite possibly on trial for various and sundry crimes, and then in prison if convicted, but never dead. Yes, it's an important difference.

Sarah said...

Annie C,

I think you missed the point Anonymous was trying to make in his comment.

You're assuming that the man who forwarded that email is a Christian. What Anonymous said is that there are many people who claim to be Christians, but actually aren't, or, they don't know what being a Christian means.

Being a Christian means following the word and deeds of Jesus Christ, as outlined in the Bible. Jesus Christ would NEVER condone torture, or cold-blooded murder. He would do, and did do, the exact opposite. He let himself be tortured, and murdered, to save us.

You're right to be angry at a response like that. I, as a Christian, am as well. Just because I disagree with President Obama's beliefs and goals does not mean that I would not save his life if he were drowning. I'm not sure who the other person is, but I would also try to save her life, as well! Because I am a Christian, and I want to be as much like Jesus as possible.



Annie C said...

Sarah -

Hi. Sorry it took me so long to get back. Life has been keeping me hopping lately.

Nancy Pelosi is a Democrat from California and the Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

As an example, get a load of this email, which was forwarded by an acquaintance of mine who claims to be a Christian.I take that to mean the person who sent Anonymous that e-mail called himself a Christian. That he considers himself a follower of Jesus Christ, he believes the Bible is the word of god, and he claims membership in or alliance with a church of some kind.

As an atheist and not a deity I can only go by what people tell me. If they say they are a Christian, that they follow Christ, believe the bible to be the word of god, and are members of a church, I go with it. That defines a Christian to me.

When I see the sheer amount of corruption and evil perpetrated by Christianity, I have to think the entire system is corrupt. From readying and studying the bible and bible history, I have found that the system is corrupt as written.

I take issue with the idea of being forgiven for the wrong you do with no need for retribution on your part for those wrongs. A system like that can only encourage wrongdoing, not only do you not have to incur punishment, but if you ask for forgiveness you are automatically forgiven and rewarded. You may say that Christ knows your heart, but based on the behavior of his followers, he obviously doesn't know or care enough to change those hearts.

The only conclusion I can settle with is that the whole thing is a myth.

When you look at the history, there is no proof of Christ. The Gospels were written decades after he supposedly lived. The decision of what made up the bible was made by committee centuries after that. It makes far more sense to me, and fits the behavior of Christians through the ages, that the whole thing was set up to justify a power structure and allow for corrupt behavior.

I'm about to make another post on this as well.

Now, Sarah, you seem like a very nice lady, and I thank you for being so polite and for commenting. It's always nice to see a new reader.

Abby said...

I know I'm late commenting on this, but I wanted to just say that I call myself a Christian, and I find torture (of anyone) to be appalling and immoral. I am usually sickened by the idea that friends of mine think this is acceptable, when just during WWII, Japanese soldiers were tried and condemned for the very same act (waterboarding), and Americans didn't justify it then, so why are we so quick to justify it now?
In fact, during the Spanish-American war in 1898, American soldiers were court-martialed for it as well. This was 100 years ago. What has changed in our culture that we find such heinous acts acceptable now when we (by "we" I mean Christians) once found them criminal?
It is disturbing to me.

On a side note, not to be offensive, but aside from the writer's answer, the first comment sounded more like a joke. My husband is a photographer, so this kind of thing kind of resonates with me. Of course, the final answer given is disturbing, to say the least.

(Btw, I'm dropping by from TW, I'm the "first" Abby)