Small Leaders in A New Dark Age
27 September 2006: Start the discussion! »
At the end of the first of the two debates that most recently captured the attention of world opinion, a compromise was reached, but many people voiced their belief that the President of the United States would pay no more than lip service to this settlement. At the end of the second debate there was …
Question & Answer
American response to American torture is perplexing. There can be no doubt
that American government officials, military and civilian, torture. They
may call it by other names but just as "a rose is a rose," so torture is
Setting aside for the moment the fact that the considerable evidence that
most "information" obtained through torture is unreliable, or worse, there
is a fundamental conflict between present day American Christian
Christianity and torture.
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Christ's commandment
cannot be clearer. It is fundamental to Christian belief. It is the
bedrock of the Christian way. Torture cannot be reconciled with Christ's
commandment. One cannot be both a Christian and a torturer. America's
current President proudly and readily announces he is a "born again"
Christian. He is surrounded by persons of similar convictions. Many
Christian "leaders" support him. The President, however, has authorized
torture; he encourages its use even to the point of finding various dubious
and devious ways and means to avoid any attempts to curtail torture by
Americans or their proxies.
Why do American Christians and certain American Christian "leaders" support
torture? (Those people who torture and those people who order, advocate or
tolerate torture are equally culpable.) Many Americans contend that America
is a Christian nation. It would appear so based upon utterances and
statements of America's political elite and on the number of Americans who
profess to be Christians and belong to a congregation whose services they
attend on a regular and frequent basis. Can America be a Christian nation
when it tortures?
Why do American Christians not rise up to strike down those Americans who
torture? When will American Christians demand an end to torture? When will
Christian "leaders" take a public position, such as open letters against
torture? When will Christian preachers condemn torture from their pulpits?
When will Christian say loudly that torture is unchristian and un- American?
When will Christians demonstrate and protest torture in a manner similar to
their actions against choice? If Christians can stir up a storm in Florida
over the "right to die," when will they unleash a tempest in Washington
against torture? The current silence of American Christian is eerily
reminiscent of the silence of earlier generations against the evils of
racism. Perhaps it is to be expected that a people who lynched their fellow
citizens because of their race would torture their enemies.
Thank you for your question. I invite my readers to write to me with their
opinions on this issue. I will publish the best letters in the debate. My
readers must know that they have a better chance of being included in the
debate if they keep their comments succinct.
John Shelby Spong
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