Christians for Torture

Ever heard of Chuck Colson? His “How Now Shall We Live” book currently sits on my book shelf. If you haven’t heard the name (And if you’re a Christian I’m willing to bet you have) Colson is a popular Christian Radio host and is founder of Prison Fellowship, a Christian outreach ministry to the prison population and crime victims. Apparently he wrote an article for the Washington Post not so long ago which supplies a Christian justification for torture. Nice! Forget that turn the other cheek stuff, more like turn his cheek over this way so I can jab it with a hot poker.

Read past the break for exactly what he said.

Here’s Colson:

Is torture ever justifiable? Centuries of Christian ethical reflection would lead to the answer “no.” Inflicting bodily or psychological harm on a helpless captive would be inconsistent with the Christian understanding of human dignity. But as with all moral obligations, there may be circumstances for exception.

It is well understood in Christian tradition that while we are supposed to obey the law, there may be times when there is a higher obligation (see Aquinas, Augustine, and Martin Luther King). To rescue a drowning person, a Christian would be justified in disobeying a “no trespassing” sign.

So it is with torture; if a competent authority honestly believed that this was the only way to get information that might save the lives of thousands, I believe he would be justified. That is not moral relativism. It is making a difficult decision when human life and dignity will be affected either way. The Greeks called it prudence.

And I call it disgusting. Like disobeying a no trespassing sign and engaging in “alternative interrogation methods” are the same thing. Colson is setting the groundwork to justify the torture of another human being by Christians serving in the armed forces and US intelligence agencies. What would Jesus do? Water-board apparently. I must have missed that chapter in “How Now Shall We Live”.

 

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