The torture debate has led to much evangelical soul-searching, the Associated Press reports, and has “prompted introspection about faith, ethics, the Golden Rule, just wars, Jack Bauer and Jesus.”
By Raw Story
The AP cites a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey released April 29 which showed that 62 percent of white evangelical Protestants believed that torture can sometimes or often be justified. For the general US public, it was just under half, at 49 percent.
“Those who attend religious services at least once a week were more likely than those who rarely or never attend to say torture is sometimes or often justified in that scenario — 54 percent to 42 percent,” the AP notes.
A number of evangelical leaders have made opposition to torture without exceptions a moral cause over the past three years, part of a broadening of the movement’s agenda beyond traditional culture war issues. Others in the movement, including many Christian right leaders, have largely resisted or stayed silent.
Now, President Barack Obama’s release of Bush administration memos justifying harsh interrogation techniques and a new poll showing white evangelicals more sympathetic to torture have leaders taking stock of whether evangelical opinion has shifted on the topic.
“I have said before that torture is like a bone caught in our throat — we can’t swallow it and we can’t spit it out,” said David Gushee, a professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University in Atlanta and president of Evangelicals for Human Rights. “I think we’re still there.”
More from the AP article:
Gary Bauer, a former Republican presidential candidate affiliated with several Christian right groups over the years, said the discussion should not come down to “Would Jesus torture?”
“There are a lot of things Jesus wouldn’t do because he’s the son of God,” he said. “I can’t imagine Jesus being a Marine or a policeman or a bank president, for that matter. The more appropriate question is, ‘What is a follower of Jesus permitted to do?’”
Bauer said the answer is “it depends” — but the moral equation changes when the suspect is not a soldier captured on a battlefield but a terrorist who may have knowledge of an impending attack. He said he does not consider water-boarding — a form of interrogation that simulates drowning — to be torture.
“I think if we believe the person we have can give us information to stop thousands of Americans from being killed, it would be morally suspect to not use harsh tactics to get that information,” Bauer said.
Full AP article at this link