A Letter To The Religious Right

I disagree with almost everything Joe Carter writes in this article, but I commend him for this point:

We religious conservatives must take a firm stand against the practice of torture. Yes, there is a legitimate debate to be had about what exactly is meant by that term. Let's have that debate. Let's define the term in a way that consistent with our belief in human dignity. And then let's hold every politician in the country to that standard. As John Mark Reynolds notes, "Like slavery, it debases two people and one culture: the tortured loses his soul liberty, the torturer claims to be a god, and the culture condones an ugly and wicked act." Our silence on this issue has become embarrassing; our apologies for such practices has become disgraceful.

I don't believe there is a legitimate debate about what torture means. It was defined in the 1994 Convention against Torture, which was signed into US law, as an “act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control.” But at least Carter recognizes the complacency of the religious right on this issue. That Rick Warren did not bring this question up at Saddleback was equivalent to a preacher in the 1850s not bringing up slavery.