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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Faith and Torture

Torture is an ugly word. That's why we call it enhanced interrogation.

The subject has gotten a lot of attention over the past few years, from "America doesn't torture" to "how else are we going to get the information we need to prevent terrorist attacks" to "it's not effective, because a subject will say anything to get it to stop".

There are some things we can address quickly.

  • America has used torture in the past, and will use it in the future.
  • The American way of torture is a walk in the park compared to the way real pros do it. I volunteered for a waterboarding test, years ago, and while it was nasty it wasn't the worst thing in the world. I would hate to fall into the hands of the Iranians, or the North Koreans, or the Cubans. Death would be preferable.
  • The information received since 9/11 was suspect for two reason. One, yes, some people will do anything to avoid torture. Two, the subjects were sophisticated enough to know that while they would be uncomfortable, they were, in the hands of Americans, quite safe.
But these are practicalities. What about the morality? Can you hurt someone for a cause?

What about if a loved one was kidnapped, and threatened with death? Would you sanction it then?

These are not "extreme" cases. These are tests to find one's moral threshold, because if you can make an exception based on personal feelings...you've bought into the concept.

Which is not necessarily wrong.

What does the Bible say? A bit, actually.

There is the story of the man who was forgiven a large debt by his king, and then went to shake someone else down for a much smaller amount. When the king found our, the chap was "handed over to the torturers". Jesus didn't add an editorial comment about torture being wrong.

There are those who will wind up in the Lake of Fire for all eternity - we've been warned.

God could certainly set up a Hell that would be something like an everlasting high-school history class, but he didn't.

The real Hell is more like being trapped in the locker room by the Goon Squad, and all the coaches have gone home. A bad day out.

Torture. And in this case, God isn't trying to get information from you. If you'll get Hell, it'll be a torture you earned.

And perhaps that is how people of faith might best view it - that someone who has aligned himself with the terrorists, the killers, the kidnappers, has chosen a path that necessarily leads to enhanced interrogation. It was their choice - they could have turned away.

But they didn't, and it's just deserts.

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