Robertson and Giuliani: The Torture Link

There's a connection between their constituencies, I think. A reader writes:

I was happy to read the article on the Evangelical Outpost condemning the practice of torture. But I was disturbed at many of the comments below the original post. Not silence on the topic of torture, but enthusiastic support of torture. Some even arguing that the government has a mandate to torture in order to keep us safe:

"I think the government is biblically empowered, and even mandated, to cause fear and discomfort to those who conspire to perform evil acts upon innocents. While waterboarding may cause severe discomfort and anxiety, I don't believe it crosses the threshold of "severe pain or suffering" cited in the definition above."

And this one, going so far as to argue that the bible justifies torture:

"Look at Luke 12:42-46:

And the Lord replied, "A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant thinks, 'My master won't be back for a while,' and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful."

Cutting someone in pieces seems a bit more harsh than waterboarding, but here is Jesus describing what will he will do to unfaithful servants upon his return. Now, I am not arguing in favor or against torture; what I am saying is that there is strong Biblical justification for supporting the government's use of torture as a tool in the War on Terror."

Another Biblical defense of torture here. Who would Jesus torture indeed? This is the true voice of the Republican base right now:

I think waterboarding should be a reward for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: OK, you've been good, Mohammed, we're only going to waterboard you today. Let's get you out of those cold electrodes and onto a nice, warm waterboard, OK?

This is instructive because it shows the real motive behind the technique: not to get actionable intelligence, since we know that the evidence procured by torture is always riddled with inaccuracy and untruth - but to exact revenge and to get false confessions for political purposes. And indeed the president has used such confessions for political purposes. And we have no way of knowing if the evidence he cites fully supports the claims he makes. Yes, I'll admit it: I do not believe this president when he tells me he has solid intelligence for something. Fool me once ...

These things start as a joke. But we have learned they are not a joke at all. Christianism - as opposed to Christianity - is quite comfortable with torture, as long as it is wielded by a Master to protect his Servants, and as long as it is used for revenge against what Robertson calls Islamic "bloodlust." When you fuse Christianity with power, it isn't long before Christians start imposing the cross on others rather than taking it up for themselves. God is on their side, remember? And so they can do no wrong. You're either with them or against them, for torture or against America. Get it?

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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