A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Who Would Jesus Torture?

Joe Phelps, pastor of Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky reflects on this question at EthicsDaily.com.
Where is the outcry from those who read their Bible every day before or after they read the newspaper reports that Congress approved this torture? What interpretation of Jesus' words, "Love your enemies," encourages legislating torture? WWJT: Who would Jesus torture?

U.S. churches of all denominations are embroiled over what constitutes a faithful response to a variety of social issues such as homosexuality and abortion. Meanwhile, the soul of our country drifts further afield from the clarion message of the church's Leader: be healers, blessers, reconcilers, lovers, agents of peace.

Jesus' message is belittled as naive by many politicians and patriots. Instead, they advocate an "all's fair in war" strategy that temporarily shelves values they would normally hold dear. This is to be expected, for many politicians and patriots hold different values and see life from a different vantage point than Jesus' followers. My only question for them is, in the words of TV counselor Dr. Phil, how's that working out for you? Has fighting fire with fire been an effective way to contend against hatred?

But to those committed to following Jesus I ask: Where are you? Why aren't you waving your Bibles, quoting chapter and verse, holding protests on the Capitol steps, demanding a hearing?

Earlier this week, I posted excerpts from Randall Balmer's recent article on torture, entitled Where's the Outrage?

One commenter affirmed torture with an "end justifies the means" attitude.

I disagree. Torture is morally reprehensible. Plain and simple, torture can never be justified

In his book, Thy Kingdom Come, Randall Balmer provides one example of how screwed-up the Bush Administration's pro-torture policy known as "extraordinary rendition" is....

Consider the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen born in Syria. On September 26, 2002, U.S. authorities took him into custody at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. He was chained and shacked and accused of being "a member of a known terrorist organization." Under the administration's policy of "extraordinary rendition," Arar was shipped off to Syia by way of Jordan, where he was confined to an underground, gravelike, rat-infested cell. He was tortured by his captors for ten months. "Not even animals could withstand it," Arar said later. The U.S. government could find no evidence to support its charge that Arar was a member of a terrorist organization. No charges were ever filed, and he was finally released, without so much as an apology. (173-174)
I echo Pastor Phelps - Who Would Jesus Torture???


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11:56 PM

Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Clearly, Jesus would torture no one.

To bounce back to an earlier question in the previous torture post, DR asked, "Doesn't the definition of torture matter to this debate?"

And I think it's a fair question, one that needs to be answered clearly, so that no one can say, "oh, waterboarding? I didn't know that was torture!"

The thing is, DR, I have seen that question answered multiple times, as I'm sure Congress has.

Unfortunately, many types of torture have been mocked by many on the Right as "no worse than the hazing I went through in college! har. har. har..." when, in fact, the types of torture they mock are quite horrendous.

Would we want our sons, our daughters stripped and forced into sexually humiliating acts? To be held gasping for life under water until they fear they're dying? Being sent to OTHER countries where they DO torture?

For Christians, I think BDW's question is always a safe one: What would Jesus do? Can you see our savior slapping an enemy across the cheek? Repeatedly?

I don't think that's what He meant when he said "turn the other cheek..."

5:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Liberal Credo...
Hear no evil, see no evil, dump it on some shmuck down the food chain.

7:24 AM

Blogger Dan Trabue said...

Apparently, Mr. Con, you are ignorant about liberals. The credo would be "be aware of evil, do something about it without embracing it."

8:20 AM

Blogger Spirit said...

I've certainly got some way to go before the site about Cheap Vacations meets the standards of your blog.

11:37 AM

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Joe Phelps is a good guy and a leader among progressive Christians in Louisville.

1:48 PM

Blogger foxofbama said...

Maybe Richard Land and Pressler and Criswell.
Or maybe all we can know in this world is if they had a conscience at all, that had to be torture enough.
Then all of us are fallen; it is just how can otherwise good people continue to bankroll a counterfeit as Balmer rightly names him as Land?
Great mystery to me; one I will probably take to my grave

5:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus would not torture, he was tortured. If the SBC and Richard Land support the torture bill, then the church is in trouble. "Alternative interrogations" are torture.

11:13 AM


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