Saturday, May 09, 2009

Torture and the Religious Right

This is from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

At long last, a prominent Christian conservative has called waterboarding what it is: torture. Last week, Richard Land, an official with the Southern Baptist Convention, said the practice is unethical and “violates everything we stand for.”

“There are some things you should never do to another human being, no matter how horrific the things they have done. If you do so, you demean yourself to their level,” said Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

His comments, though belated, are welcome. He breaks a telling silence about torture among the most politically active leaders of the religious right, who had a tendency to endorse all decisions and embrace all practices of former President Bush. Indeed, Land had nothing to say about waterboarding when Bush was still in office, though many reports confirmed the administration’s use of the practice years ago.
Even as reports leaked out about simulated drownings, chaining prisoners to the ceiling and slamming them against walls, there were few voices raised in protest. Much of America stood by quietly as our ideals were trampled, international law violated and our moral standing eroded.
At the very least, Land and his fellow theologians might have been able to curb the enthusiasm for torture among their own parishioners. Perhaps they could have added to their condemnations of homosexuality and abortion a reminder or two about the words of the Galilean they purport to follow. “Love your enemies,” he said. It’s not a torture-friendly gospel.

-- Cynthia Tucker

I really like her last two sentences. I've never understood how the religious right folks square their convictions with what Jesus actually said.

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