Taking another quick break from our discussion of non-violence, I thought I would throw in a recent survey done by the research of the PEW FORUM. It is a survey that has been passed around a lot for the last two weeks, but is worth mentioning here in the context of our discussion.
If you haven’t seen it, then let me warn you… it isn’t pretty. I mean, torture of course isn’t pretty (though I wonder if most people in this study have thoroughly thought about its appalling reality), but uglier still is the statistics on its acceptance among regular church-goers.
The survey shows that 62 percent of white evangelicals believe torture of suspected terrorists is “often” or “sometimes” justified. A total of 79 percent of the same group were “okay” with torture if pushed far enough.
And, maybe most disturbing, those who attend church regularly were more likely to rationalize and justify torture than those who do not go to church.
SERIOUSLY? Something is definitely perplexing when the “body of Christ” is the expert at the rationalization of torture, for any reason. What’s next? Waterboarding for Jesus? An argument for a “just war” theology is one thing, but the use of torture (even on those who are guilty of atrocities) would surely seem to go far beyond even those guidelines.
I’d be interested to hear how other Christians in favor of these methods justify this “utilitarian ethic” in light of Jesus. I would hope that the response would be something more Christ-like than a simple, “the ends justify the means.” I welcome your comments with any rationalization that makes an attempt to address Scripture on this topic.
We’ll continue on with our discussion next post (though this topic is clearly related) but take a look at these statistics and see if they look anything like what the followers of the Christ, who was Himself tortured and killed, should endorse. It appears to be a very sad commentary, I’m afraid, of American Christianity’s syncretism with national idolatry and military power.
For another good article on this study click on this short Christianity Today blog by Skye Jethani.
For another good article on this study click on this Christianity Today blog by Skye Jethani.