December 10, 2014

Torture?

Numerous religious voices have been amplifying the findings from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats’ report on enhanced interrogation techniques that are denounced as torture.

The report and religious reaction rehash a debate dating back at least 8 years, when the National Religious Campaign Against Torture began its ongoing denunciation of Bush Administration post 9-11 detention policies of terror suspects. In 2007 an Evangelical Declaration Against Torture, crafted by a group led by liberal Baptist ethicist David Gushee, was endorsed by the National Association of Evangelicals.

Here’s a critique from Evangelical ethicist Keith Pavlischek of that declaration. And here’s Gushee’s responsive defense.

About 39 detainees the U.S. captured after 9-11 were reportedly subjected to enhanced interrogation during 2002-2007, three of whom were water boarded, and one of whom apparently died from suspected hypothermia while detained in Afghanistan. President Obama signed an executive order against enhanced interrogation in 2009.

Today, the debate is primarily historical, with critics apparently believing that ongoing, repeated exposure and denunciation are purgative. Critics of this process argue that it over simplifies the moral issues, ignores the exigencies of the immediate threat after 9-11, and at this point only aids America’s terrorist enemies with additional propaganda tools, possibly endangering American lives.

Several former CIA directors reacted to the Senate Democrats’ report with a Wall Street Journal op-ed defending enhanced interrogation. Other critiques of the report are from Tom Rogan and Stephen Hayes.

Liberal Episcopalian Diana Butler Bass tweeted this liturgy of atonement for enhanced interrogation. The closing lines speak of a “new security built not on threats of harm or weapons of war, but on the hope of God’s love toward all people.”

IMG_1286-0.PNG

We can be confident of course in God’s love for all people. But until God sets forth the new heavens and new earth, temporal security will indeed require threats of harm or weapons of war.

Enhanced interrogation was a desperate attempt, with bipartisan support, to prevent another 9-11. Its defenders insist, against the Senate Democrats’ report, that it was successful. Even if immoral in full or in part, as some religious voices declare, the 39 captives subjected to it, one of whom reportedly died, should be seen in the larger context of 3000 killed on 9-11, tens of thousands subsequently killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and several million killed in wars globally across the last 12 years, most in unreported wars, such as in Sudan and Congo.

Unvarnished torture affects thousands today around the world, inflicted by dozens of tyrannical regimes, not on murderous terrorists and their accomplices, but often on innocent persons guilty primarily of dissent from the regime.

The sustained zeal devoted by some religious groups against enhanced interrogation of 7-12 years ago seems at best misplaced energy better expended on today’s global and more admirable victims of unalloyed torture.


116 Responses to Torture?

  1. csalafia says:

    This defense of torture is blatantly anti-Christian. Please quit pretending you’re Methodist and just admit you’re nothing but idolatrous nationalists.

    • Namyriah says:

      Never met any idolatrous nationalists in any church I attended.

      On the other hand, liberals like Diana Bass would qualify as idolatrous – like all liberals, they have no need for a righteous God to worship, they worship their own compassionate selves, which is what this silly “liturgy” is all about. It has nothing to do with God or faith, the point is “Look at me! Ain’t I compassionate? If your opinions don’t agree with mine, you must be one of those selfish, evil conservatives – nyah!”

      This isn’t Christianity. This is self-worship.

      • csalafia says:

        We liberals worship a righteous God.

        We worship a God that demands we do NOT visit evil upon our enemies.

        This deference to the state, a state engaged in truly anti-Christian behavior, is nationalistic idolatry.

        • Striker says:

          You’re culpable like the rest of us. The enhanced interrogation was done in defense of our acquisitive way of life. You are no more willing to give up that way of life than the rest of us.

          • csalafia says:

            Actually, I am willing to give it up. Torture is never acceptable, never morally justified, and never something a Christian can accept.

          • Andrew Dowling says:

            Being willing to give up things for morality’s sake is kind of a major point of Christianity. What bizarre religion is worshipped here by Tooley and co.?

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Striker, I can’t speak for csalafia or others who I agree with, but once I learned of the torture, et al (Abugraib Prison), my wife and I joined many (Liberal) friends on the street corners every week, for years, to make aware, to the public, that our Government was doing despicable things that were completely un-Constitutional, and unacceptable to any sane society.

            So don’t say that (we) are culpable. We did not lie down while the rest of the country went mad!

            If it weren’t for Liberals screaming from the mountain tops, the Religious Right would have driven the U.S. straight to Hell in a hand-basket!

          • Neil Bragg says:

            You would love this goofball church in my area. It’s on one of the main streets, and apparently its parishioners don’t have jobs, because on any given day they put on a freak show, holding up signs for “Stop Global Warming” or “Love Is Never Wrong” or other folderol, as if making drivers laugh is going to stop global warming. This is a very liberal gays’n’grays church with a lesbian pastor. She is the only full-time staffer they can afford any more, so I doubt that church will last much longer, but they’ve sure provided some snickers to our local traffic. Seeing the elderly waving rainbow flags makes me want to yell “Why aren’t you spending time with your grandchildren?” Sad to see people in their 70s still imagining they are cool, hip campus radicals. When that drug-addled generation finally dies off, the lefty churches should die with them. In the 1980s and 90s, they seemed bent on self-genocide, giving each other AIDS.

    • Michael C says:

      When you click on your name, and see all the obscenities in your other posts, your use of “blatantly anti-Christian” becomes a bit laughable. Clean up your own act before you lecture Christians.

      Also, there are millions of Methodists in the world, calling all who don’t agree with you “anti-Christian” seems a bit narrowminded.

      • csalafia says:

        One cannot claim to be a follower of Christ and say that torture is ok.

        Please tell me in scripture where Jesus said it was ok to:

        ~ Anally violate prisoners through rectal feeding and rectal hydration
        ~ Threaten to kill and rape a prisoner’s family
        ~ Beat prisoners
        ~ Deny prisoners medical care
        …and on and on.

        Jesus was tortured by a state that had really no legal authority to do so, yet was spurred on by the conservative religious folks, because they believed he or his followers were a threat to the security of the Roman state.

        Sound familiar?

        We have become Rome.

        • Striker says:

          Jesus’ execution would have been one of many. No big deal to the Romans. No reports, no soul searching like we in America are doing in regards to the CIA interrogation methods. So, your parallel to Rome falls short.

          • csalafia says:

            There’s plenty of people in the US, and in the Government, that aren’t soul searching over torture.

            So, no, the parallel is right on. Torture by the state of people deemed to be a danger to the safety of the people….

        • fredx2 says:

          You assume the allegations laid out in the report are true. No thinking person accepts at face value a report issued by only one party.

          If those things were really done, why aren’t the people who did them being prosecuted? They would be if the allegations were true.

          • csalafia says:

            When the allegations are backed up by CIA memos stating the same thing then, yah, one can accept them as true.

            I bet you’re one of those who doesn’t believe any of the 8 Benghazi reports either.

          • Andrew Dowling says:

            The CIA isn’t even denying the actions cited in the Report. Lots of interrogators have come forward.

            Why aren’t they being prosecuted? Many think they should be. The Administration won’t because of politics . . the GOP would go bananas.

        • Jason P Taggart says:

          Sounds like things homosexuals enjoy, so why would those things be torture?

        • speaking says:

          God used the Pax Romana to deliver the word made flesh into the world. It is deeply irrelevant that Jesus gave Himself up to authorities that you consider “real” or, as opposed to what? imaginary authorities? It was part of the PLAN – that saved us all that believe!

        • Gary Butner says:

          I am ever so thankful I left the UMC over 50 years ago.

    • speaking says:

      They did evil, and were plotting more evil. No one questions this.
      Rom 13:3,4 “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”

      The Holy Spirit says it is the job of governing authority to be “a terror” to evil. What do liberal brothers and sisters in Christ say?

      • brookspj says:

        Luther quoted this text right before he sanctioned the mass slaughter of thousands of peasants by the nobility. Be careful.

      • brookspj says:

        “‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

        ‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.* Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
        Luke 6:27-32
        Do not return evil with evil. This is a principle all Christians, conservative and liberal alike should be able to embrace. Torture is evil! PERIOD. It goes beyond protecting the innocent and the fact that the CIA kept these practices hush hush until scrutinized shows that it was never about deterring future attacks. Why keep it secret, then? They knew these practices were wrong. They knew what would happen if word got out about them. It is also the role of government to enforce and defend the law. The CIA broke it. Who’s a terror to the terror?

    • Gary Butner says:

      It’s NOT torture. See my above post.

  2. Kay Glines says:

    My home church withdrew its support for and affiliation with the National Association of Evangelicals, mostly because of issues like this. When a group begins to take the same positions as the post-Christian liberal churches, it is time to drop the name “evangelical” or at least set the name in quotes.

    • brookspj says:

      Yes, heaven forbid Evangelicals ever question anything the Republican Party does, even when their actions clearly go against Christian teaching.

      • Neil Bragg says:

        Where do you guys get this stuff? I’m an evangelical and a registered GOP, and I constantly question the GOP. Maybe you’re projecting – being lap dogs of the DimocRat party, you assume we are lap dogs of the GOP. No way!

      • Claus von Stauffenberg says:

        TO: brookspj

        YOU STATED: “…their actions clearly go against Christian teaching.”

        ~~~~~ You are making an implicit assumption without qualification.

        I will base my reply on the authority of the Scriptures.

        Here is ample instruction that clearly gives government authority the right to take certain action in cases of the taking of a life and to prevent the taking of a life:

        Romans 13:1-7 But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he (governing authority) does not bear the SWORD in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

        Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

        Genesis 9:29 “From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.”

        Numbers 35:31 Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.

        Leviticus 24:17 “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death.

        Matthew 5:21 JESUS: “…whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’

        If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City — set to go off today — and you had a captured terrorist who knew where and when, would you not do anything whatever to make him tell you where and when? Would you pause to look up the definition of ‘torture’? Would you even care what the definition of ‘torture’ was, when the alternative was seeing millions of innocent people murdered?”

        • John Hutchinson says:

          So a); you believe in collective guilt; since you presume that all of the 119 detainees were guilty for 9/11, although a good 25% of those detained were acknowledged by CIA accounts themselves to be wrongfully detained. So shall the whole world pronounce “Death to America” and act upon it so all Americans are guilty for an Assassin-in-Chief President etc.?

          Torture violates the ethos of universal justice of God (as well as ethos of Grace of Christ). It violates due process (2 or 3 witnesses 1 Cor 13:1). It violates equality of treatment between citizens and foreign guests in the custody of America. It violates presumption of innocence. It is absurd to think that a captured terrorist would not compel his organization to change plans. And yet some of those folks were “interrogated” for years after their capture, which is more indicative of salacious cruelty and hate.

          I can quote Scripture too. But I use the full counsel of God and actually understand what I am quoting.

          • Claus von Stauffenberg says:

            TO: John Hutchinson

            So a); You believe that the lives of those who are imperiled and go unprotected at the whims of the cowardly, statistic terrorists should be sacrificed at the alter of the intimidated liberals, cow hearted, philosophies??

            Acts of terrorism go beyond the tragedies of war. When crimes against innocent civilians are committed out of pure hate and have nothing to do with defense of a nation, justice declares that those criminals LOSE their human rights when they stole the rights of life from their victims.

            You referred to “love” in your insertion of 1 Cor. 13. This is way out of context and ignores other relative passages to what powers God has given to governments to protect themselves against terrorist and all criminals who mean them harm. You are attempting to justify “pacifism”.

            Pacifism is unbiblical, because it does not take the whole counsel of Scripture. It does not separate a Christian’s private duties from his public duties, and the role of the State versus the role of the individual.

            I will base my reply on the authority of the Scriptures.

            Here is ample instruction that clearly gives government authority the right to take certain action in cases of the taking of a life and to prevent the taking of life:

            Romans 13:1-7 “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he (governing authority) does not bear the SWORD in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

            *NOTE: In this regard, I believe you are confusing JUSTICE with REVENGE.

            God is to be the judge, and God’s ministering authority, the State. Individuals should not take matters into their own hands. That is God’s job. To do otherwise is to usurp God’s right and to usurp the right of the State.

            Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

            Genesis 9:29 “From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.”

            Numbers 35:31 Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.

            Leviticus 24:17 “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death.

            Matthew 5:21 JESUS: “…whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’

            LUKE 22:36 He (JESUS)said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

            38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied.

            War is never good. But it is sometimes necessary. Why? Because sin is an ever present reality that has to be dealt with.

            “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder” (James 4:1-2).

            At the forefront of much war and conflict is an idolatry that says, “I want more. I want what you have.” “I want to force my will upon you.” And so there are wars and rumors of wars. It is rooted in human sin. Political parties and institutions are not evil in themselves. Evil is ultimately rooted in every human heart.

            Participation in war must be prompted by a just cause or a defensive cause.

            Preemptive war can be legitimate in some circumstances, if it is known that a grave act of aggression is imminent. If a government knows that their nation or another is about to become a victim, it can act to prevent the injustice before it takes place.

            Interrogation is a part of the act of war, just as the justice of taking a life in defense of a nation is an act of war.

    • csalafia says:

      So your church withdrew from the NAE because, well, other churches rightly take the position that torture is counter to Jesus and Christianity?

      Sounds like you need to question your “church”.

      • yolo says:

        57,000,000 abortions since 1973 is counter to Jesus and Christianity.

        • Andrew Dowling says:

          Off-topic.

          • speaking says:

            you should have branded brookspj as off topic for bringing up “questioning” the Republican party. waiting this long makes you look like you are targeting. besides, what is a fake drowning exercise compared to 57 million dead human beings? Don’t you think they are over-reacting out of ideological bent?

          • Andrew Dowling says:

            Waiting . .I just found this article last night.

            Supporting torture is so contrary to any Christian values; yes Tooley and other right wing Christians somehow manage to find justification for any right wing political view or tactic in their Bibles. At least the Catholic churches manage to anger both sides; right wing Protestants simply have their politics come first, and their construct some bastardized theology which makes it all A-OK.

            And this has nothing to do with abortion, although that issue is all about the politics as well. Even conservative Prots weren’t against abortion until the late 70s.

          • Claus von Stauffenberg says:

            TO: Andrew Dowling

            YOU STATED: “…Supporting torture is so contrary to any Christian values”.

            ~~~~~ You are making an implicit assumption without qualification. I will have to reiterate what I posted earlier.

            I will base my reply on the authority of the Scriptures.

            Here is ample instruction that clearly gives government authority the right to take certain action in cases of the taking of a life and to prevent the taking of a life:

            Romans 13:1-7 But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he (governing authority) does not bear the SWORD in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

            Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

            Genesis 9:29 “From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.”

            Numbers 35:31 Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.

            Leviticus 24:17 “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death.

            Matthew 5:21 JESUS: “…whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’

            If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City — set to go off today — and you had a captured terrorist who knew where and when, would you not do anything whatever to make him tell you where and when? Would you pause to look up the definition of ‘torture’? Would you even care what the definition of ‘torture’ was, when the alternative was seeing millions of innocent people murdered?”

          • Claus von Stauffenberg says:

            TO: Andrew Dowling
            NOT off topic !!

            A valid point is being made !!.

            Let me explain: Your position is that it is unchristian to extract information through pain in order to SAVE countless lives, but you will condone abortion that kills countless lives. Hypocricy !!

          • Andrew Dowling says:

            It doesn’t save countless lives, and when did I condone abortion?

      • Gary Butner says:

        Water boarding is NOT torture. I experienced it in the Sixties. It’s very uncomfortable and the subject cannot resist it, but to label it torture is a lie based on ignorance, and not experience. I say that as a Christian minister and theologian. BTW, today I had an appointment with my neurologist, and was surprised when he brought up the subject, without knowing my experience. He was adamant it is NOT torture.

    • Andrew Dowling says:

      Sounds like your home-church has pretty unchristian values.

  3. brookspj says:

    “Furthermore, the mistreatment or torture, and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment or punishment of persons by governments for any purpose violates Christian teaching and must be condemned and/or opposed by Christians and churches wherever and whenever it occurs.”
    United Methodist Book of Discipline 164
    I as a United Methodist and member of Christ’s church universal do hereby condemn and stand opposed to the record of torture and cruelty that the United States government has carried out in the name of national security. I declare that even the threat of terrorism both at home and abroad does not give Christians within the government nor Christians supporting the government license to ignore the teachings of Christ found in scripture and the principles of justice outlined in Christian teachings and traditions. And I condemn the actions of church leaders who out of fear of going against the Republican Party compromise their values and defend these ungodly acts of horror committed by those in power. A man can only serve one master, Mr. Tooley. Who is yours?

    • Neil Bragg says:

      Have you noticed that all the left-wing churches are losing members? People don’t roll out of bed on Sunday to hear a sermon on global warming, or marriage “equality,” or patriarchy.

      • yolo says:

        This is fodder for the left to distract itself from the 57,000,000 innocent people that have been aborted since 1973: http://www.lifenews.com/2014/01/12/56662169-abortions-in-america-since-roe-vs-wade-in-1973/

        • brookspj says:

          Congratulations yolo. You just caught yourself a nice big red herring.

          • yolo says:

            57,000,000 since 1973. You must be so proud to represent Christianity. Anything that men have done since 1973 doesn’t challenge what women have collectively done to the innocent.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            So by those statistics, and your statement, you must hold women in the same low regard that you hold Terrorists?

        • MarcoPolo says:

          Abortion is a personal choice that has nothing to do with YOUR life choices. Not your body… Not your business!

          • Chris says:

            Right, the dead baby’s opinion means nothing.

            You’re basically a Nazi – kill people who are inconvenient. No compassion at all there.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Correct, the fetus has NO cognitive, or legal capability in the matter.
            A woman’s body, and the fetus inside her, has NOTHING to do with anybody but her!
            A personal, difficult decision that rests with the woman, and her conscience. Never, yours!
            If you’re against the practice, then by no means, ever have an abortion, yourself!

      • brookspj says:

        I don’t get out of bed to listen to a sermon period. I get out of bed to worship God and to experience His grace through the Body of Christ. I think too many of us make too big a deal over sermons and not enough over making disciples. I don’t see any way torturing people will bring us any of us closer to sanctification. People don’t want to hear things that challenge them. too bad that’s the essence of Jesus’ teachings.

        • Noel Weymouth says:

          How do you define “making disciples”? Is it “teaching Christians to ignore the Bible, tradition, and common sense, and promote sexual perversion”? that doesn’t fit most people’s definition of “making disciples.” The church doesn’t exist to make people feel good about their sins, quite the opposite.

          • csalafia says:

            Care for the sick
            Treat the immigrant with justice
            Do not return evil for evil
            Love your neighbor…period
            Value the imago dei in every human
            Free the imprisoned
            Liberate the oppressed

            ….you know that stuff Jesus did and talked about.

            Which, btw, didn’t include abortion, gay bashing, opposing marriage equality (in fact, by redefining marriage through his teaching on divorce he supported equality), being pro-gun, pro-war, free-market capitalism, no taxes, anti-environment, or pro-torture.

            Jesus’ teachings turned “tradition and common sense” on its head because people like you, in Christ’s day, used that sort of reasoning to oppress and exclude others.

            If your Jesus looks like the status quo, it’s not Jesus, but an idol.

          • John John says:

            “I and the Father are one”—Jesus, John 10:22

            “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”—Jesus Matthew 15:24

            Hey, csalafia! Yours are popular sentiments but I fear they do not jibe with Scripture. Why should you care? Because you are claiming to know what Jesus taught.

            The Gospels generally are to those under the law, prior to the Cross of Christ. The “house of Israel” knew full well what God the Father thought of homosexuality, etc., so there was no need to restate His position on every sin under the sun.

            If you accept Scripture, Jesus was resurrected from the dead and CONTINUED to speak to and through his apostles. Read the New Testament letters and you will find that God’s will is our (believers’) sanctification, that we “abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3, and many more like it).

            “Equality” is, to me, the hobgoblin of little minds and does not square with any era of recorded history, let alone daily observance. It’s a fiction and completely unscriptural. But it sounds nice and that is enough for people who want what they want from Jesus and nothing more.

            If he were merely a human teacher, no problem. If He and the Father are, in fact, ONE…problem!

          • csalafia says:

            Sorry,

            You can’t put a 20th century understanding of human sexuality on top of scripture and say that’s the way it’s always been.

            Second, if you remove the power dynamic (Leviticus, Romans 1) or the adultery dynamic (1 Thess) from the context those verses come from, you’re guilty of proof-texting.

            Plus…I always find it interesting that RW Christians say homosexuality has ALWAYS been sinful in spite of the fact that homosexual, the word, didn’t appear in an English translation until, what, 1946?

          • Gary Butner says:

            Try sodomite! Greek Strong’s G733, Hebrew Strong’s H6945, Louw-Nida LN88.28

          • Jason P Taggart says:

            Please cite the chapter and verse where Jesus supported “marriage equality.” I must’ve missed that one.

            Btw, the president of the United States supports gay “marriage,” so that makes support for gay “marriage” about as status quo as possible. So, to quote your own words, “if your Jesus looks like the status quo, it’s not Jesus, but an idol.”

            Your pro-gay Jesus never existed. Stick with the one in the New Testament, the guy who told people not to lust in their hearts – which pretty much condemns all homosexuals.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Dear Jason,
            Marriage Equality isn’t about LUST!
            It’s about EQUALITY!

          • Norman Lane says:

            Two men are not equal to a man and woman. Two people of the same sex cannot create a life together. They cannot serve as father and mother to a child. Men and women are different – physically, emotionally, etc.
            Go read up on human biology, men and women are different. I’m amazed at homosexuals’ ignorant of these things.
            If you think equality is all that matters, you should push for the legalization of pedophilia, incest, and polygamy – and you probably will.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Norman, you’ve totally missed the point about Marriage Equality.
            We’re not claiming that two males can reproduce, or anything biologically impossible. Gays and Lesbians deserve the same civil rights that any heterosexual is given. Period!
            Life isn’t as black and white as you seem to believe it to be.

          • Jeremy Long says:

            There is no such verse.

      • Andrew Dowling says:

        SBC and other conservative evangelical churches are losing members too. And your ranting post is completely off-topic.

        • Norman Lane says:

          That is not correct, many conservative denominations are growing.

          ALL the pro-gay churches are losing. Since you liberals have issues with reality, here’s some numbers. Facts are stubborn things, but much better than propaganda:

          Hard data on the decline of liberal (i.e., gay-friendly) denominations, and the growth of conservative denominations, contrasting membership figures for 1960 and 2009. The data for 1960 and 2009 are from the Association of Religion Data Archives
          http://www.arda.com

          Assemblies of God (very conservative)
          1960: 508,000
          2009: 2,914,000

          United Pentecostal (very conservative)
          1960: 175,000
          2009: 646,000

          Church of God (ultra conservative)
          1960: 170,000
          2009: 1,076,000

          Presbyterian Church in America (broke away from the liberal Presbys)
          1973: 41,322
          2009: 341,210

          Evangelical Free Church
          1960: 31,543
          2008: 356,000

          Church of the Nazarene
          1960: 307,000
          2009: 645,000

          Christian and Missionary Alliance
          1960: 59,000
          2009: 432,000

          Mormons (not orthodox in theology, but conservative on social issues)
          1960: 1,486,000
          2009: 6,058,000

          By contrast, the pro-gay “inclusive” liberals are losing big-time:

          Episcopalians
          1960: 3.2 million
          2012: 1.8 million
          The 2012 figure reported at http://www.christianpost.com/news/episcopal-church-continues-downward-trend-according-to-report-107906/

          United Church of Christ
          1960: 2,056,000
          2012: 998,080,000
          More than half its members in 50 years.
          * The 2012 figure was reported in the liberal site The Christian Century.
          http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2013-07/ucc-has-been-progressive-pacesetter

          United Methodist
          1960: 11,026,000
          2009: 7,774,000

          Presbyterian Church USA
          1983 (year of their merger): 3.1 million
          2012: 1.8 million
          The 2012 figured reported at http://www.layman.org/2012-statistics-show-dramatic-decrease-in-pcusa-membership-congregations/

          Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
          1987 (year of their merger): 5.2 million
          2013: 3.9 million
          The 2013 figure reported at http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2014-03/ways-be-lutheran

          Disciples of Christ
          1960: 1.8 million
          2009: 658,000

          A truism for the past several decades is “Liberal churches are dying.” It’s not a truism, it’s a FACT. However, when told that liberal churches are dying, the usual liberal response is “Well, sure, but ALL churches are losing members.” No, ALL churches are not, as the data shows.

          For more info on the membership decline in liberal churches, see Wikipedia, “Mainline Protestantism,” click on “Statistical Decline.”
          No wonder liberals are reality-averse – facts burst the fantasy bubble they inhabit.
          Simply put: turn your church into a social club for gays, and it shrinks.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Oh Joy, Norman Lane, YOU WIN!
            More parishioners must mean WINNING?

            Those numbers only reflect attendance in established denominations. Consider how many more people make up the “NONES”? A rapidly growing sector of society.

      • MarcoPolo says:

        Actually, Neil Bragg, there are millions of good people who attend Church to hear such importance as care for our Earth and Souls.
        Patriarchy, not so much!

        • Neil Bragg says:

          “Earth” churches are losing and will become extinct. That PC crapola is not a pew-filler. Secular churches are losing and made up of losers.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Clearly, there will be Churches of every stripe, since Man and God will forever need one another as much as they both need the Earth…or else it’s all over!

            Strangely, that probably doesn’t worry some Christians.
            Personally, I don’t think our planet will survive Man’s presence beyond the next hundred years.

          • Neil Bragg says:

            Tree-huggers lament “man’s presence” on the earth, but I never heard of one committing suicide in order to make the earth a better place. If they really believed all their nonsense, logically they would reduce the human population, starting with themselves. If you really want to reduce your carbon footprint, there is one sure-fire way to reduce it to zero. But liberals won’t do that, they are blowhards and cowards.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            I initially laughed out loud at your comment! Pretty funny!
            So I thought..why not acknowledge that there are some of us who will embrace the possibility of ending our own lives, should we decide to do so. So, I’ll be sure to notify you in advance of my demise.
            It has always been my hope, that I can die in good health… so you can just guess how those ruminations will go?
            Perhaps I could subject myself to being “water-boarded”, and see just how far the torturer can go before actually KILLING me? Who’s the ‘Referee’ in the room when these EITs were being exercised? The Pope? Your Mother? Jesus? Satan?

            I wish you, Neil Bragg, a long and healthy life!

    • csalafia says:

      For all their fussing about the BoD, it seems the IRD and Tooley are more than willing to throw it away when it comes to guns and torture.

    • speaking says:

      For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.Rom 13 4. They did evil. The CIA bore the sword.

      • speaking says:

        Their “Book of Discipline” may bear weight in their denomination. Use scripture. In context. It trumps.

        • brookspj says:

          ” ‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

          ‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.* Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
          Luke 6:27-32
          If these men were our enemies, I don’t know who is.

        • Ben Welliver says:

          Your average UM doesn’t know the Bible. That’s why I’m an ex-UM.

      • brookspj says:

        God’s not on government payroll.

      • brookspj says:

        Paul is arguing for Christians to obey laws and be good citizens (provided doing so does not make them go against Jesus’ teachings). No where in this text is there evidence that Paul sanctioning torture or inhumane punishments. If that were the case why aren’t we still crucifying people? Furthermore, the irony of you quoting this text is that it tells Christians to obey laws and respect authorities. But by torturing these men the CIA themselves broke the law. They performed acts that made all evidence obtained inadmissible according to the U.S. Constitution. The violated standards set by the Geneva Convention and the UN (both of which have been ratified in the US). CIA broke the law and acted against Christian teaching on both accounts. What’s left to debate?

    • Ben Welliver says:

      I agree, a man cannot serve God and Political Correctness.

    • Claus von Stauffenberg says:

      TO:

      You are displaying your ignorance concerning Biblical teaching with your implict assumption of : “”Furthermore, the mistreatment or torture, and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment or punishment of persons by governments for any purpose violates Christian teaching”.

      Please instruct us as to where God disallows government authority to deal with murder or threats of innocent lives by those who would abolish those lives !!

  4. Noel Weymouth says:

    How sad to be a liberal, afraid to call God “Father,” although that was Jesus’ usual term. This liturgy is so colorless that all it can offer is “God” – not Father, Lord, etc.

    • csalafia says:

      How sad to be a conservative to believe calling God “father” was in reference to God’s gender.

      • Jason P Taggart says:

        If you don’t like “Father,” you must not like Jesus, that’s what he called God.

        Do liberals ever read the Bible? I’ve never seen any evidence that they do. The same people who call themselves “followers of Christ” can’t even bring themselves to use the name for God that Jesus used. So obviously liberals do not follow Christ.

        • MarcoPolo says:

          Jason, keep in mind, the Bible is but ONE book that defines some events in History. It isn’t the ultimate instruction manual, but it is helpful for studying mankind’s evolution through that period in Time.
          So, not everyone (Liberal OR Conservative) needs to read it.

    • MarcoPolo says:

      You’re a real “hair-splitter” when referring to God, Noel!
      Relax, and accept that there are many names for Deity.
      Thank God, where ever She is! …Is what I say!

  5. Aliquantillus says:

    Whom would Jesus torture? In his First Coming he came with a call to repentance, with compassion, the gift of remission of sins, and warnings about the future judgment. But at his Second Coming he’ll come with the full wrath of G’d on all unrepentant sinners, and at that moment he’ll torture all those who have sided with the forces of evil and have not believed in him.

  6. John Hutchinson says:

    Farewell Mark Tooley!

  7. Douglas Belardi says:

    Joshua 8:18-29English Standard Version (ESV)

    18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” And Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19 And the men in the ambush rose quickly out of their place, and as soon as he had stretched out his hand, they ran and entered the city and captured it. And they hurried to set the city on fire. 20 So when the men of Ai looked back, behold, the smoke of the city went up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that, for the people who fled to the wilderness turned back against the pursuers. 21 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city, and that the smoke of the city went up, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. 22 And the others came out from the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. And Israel struck them down, until there was left none that survived or escaped. 23 But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him near to Joshua.

    24 When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword. 25 And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai. 26 But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction. 27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the Lord that he commanded Joshua. 28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day. 29 And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. And at sunset Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city and raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day.

  8. fredx2 says:

    You have to understand why this report occured. Since it is the product of only one party, and that one party did not even bother to interview many who were actually involved in these activities, one must assume it is a partisan work.

    Why would the Democrats do this? I believe they feel that the US has in effect, sanctioned the use of torture by our actions. This is debatable. But the Democrats feel the world must see the US renouncing in no uncertain terms the use of torture, and must set an example against it again.

    so this appears to be simply the Democrats, unilaterally deciding to do this.

    The report is of doubtful veracity. For example, they show a “well worn water board” and indicate this is evidence that it was used for waterboarding more than was admitted by the CIA. But a board is just a board. A weatherboard is just a board the prisoner was laid on. The fact that it looks “worn” means nothing, since the board could have been worn before it began being used for waterboarding. This is the level of analysis,a it borders on the silly sometimes.

    • csalafia says:

      That’s a pretty poor defense, torture apologist.

    • Andrew Dowling says:

      “I believe they feel that the US has in effect, sanctioned the use of torture by our actions. This is debatable.”

      I think if you were waterboarded, deprived of sleep for over a week, or had water forcefully shoved up your anus you might not think this was very “debatable”

  9. Steve Rodriguez says:

    The Bible clearly denounces murder….of innocent blood! The same Bible is replete with war, death, destruction, and implied support of many of God’s chosen to vanquish and harm those in opposition. Jesus would not torture someone, I would imagine, but Jesus does not expect the same from his worldly creation, and our obligation to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. A Christian can easily support policies which defend, and in fact exact revenge, on behalf of the homeland. To not do what is necessary to defend people from evil would be evil in itself.

  10. James Stagg says:

    Excellent post. Thank you!

  11. 'Til Tuesday says:

    This article make me happy that I’m not a Christian. Christians like Mark are now saying that the torture and degradation of human beings is a moral good. Question for Mark Tooley: is there any torture or degradation that is too far for Christianity to endorse? At what point does torture become morally wrong? Would the rape of of a captive female or male to get them to talk be morally acceptable? Why or why not? I’m just trying to figure out what the new Christian standard is between moral and immoral torture.

    • speaking says:

      it is sufficient to say you disagree with the tactics used. Obviously, you would also disagree with the other tactics that you bring up, that are figments of your imagination.

    • Greg Paley says:

      You probably would not enjoy living under Islam. Hardly anyone does. That is what will inevitably happen if our military and our CIA don’t go after jihadi nut cases. Which do you prefer? Americans who rough up jihadis, or jihadis who rough up Americans?

  12. MarcoPolo says:

    Keeping in mind that Mark Tooley was previously employed by the CIA should reveal his allegiance. Just sayin’!

    • Jeremy Long says:

      In other words, he probably knows a lot more about these issues than some elderly artist who runs around bare.

      • MarcoPolo says:

        Whether Mark Tooley’s experience affords him more intimate knowledge than I am aware of, is an obvious understatement.
        But his Christian faith should dictate his choices for associating with an agency that would condone, or even promote such crimes.
        My lifestyle has nothing to do with my judgement regarding cruel and inhumane treatment, because there are plenty of other Naturists that might agree with Mr. Tooley’s approach.

  13. m8lsem says:

    For centuries torture has been largely unproductive, because the prisoner will say whatever he thinks will both bring his agony/fear to an end, and be at least somewhat believable to the torturer. The sturdy one will drag it out to the point that whatever he says will seem forced out of him. The truly clever one will try to implicate someone he knows the torturers trust.
    If we excuse the torture because we a) assume this fellow is one of the bad guys, and b) someone in a class this fellow seems to belong to has done bad things to us, our assumption may well be faulty.
    Some Muslims have done very bad things to us and/or our friends. Some have been very quiet. And a few have criticized the doers. However, it is error to blame all Muslims for the deeds of Al Qaeda or ISIS. It is as much an error as it would be to accuse the Southern Baptists of whatever has been done by Mormons.

  14. Jeremy Long says:

    So what has happened to the churches like those of Ms. Bass, where they have nothing better to do with their time than scan the NY Times editorial page, then construct a liturgy to oppose whatever the NY Times opposes that week? Are those churches drawing people in – converting secularists who are thinking “Gosh, Christians are so compassionate about all the issues that concern me – I think I’ll become a Christian.”

    Torture is horrid, and I hope I never have to witness it or experience it. But then, in a free society, we cannot do without an army – or a CIA – or people willing to do unpleasant things to prevent more unpleasant things from happening. In times past Christians executed and tortured people they considered heretics or witches. Thank God we have moved beyond that. But we have no right to tell the government “Go easy on people who are trying to kill us.” The words of the New Testament commanding mercy, forgiveness, and compassion are mandates at the individual level – they do not work well in international affairs, especially fighting terrorism. Winston Churchill made the wise observation that he admired the Quakers for their nonviolence – but if all England had followed the Quaker way, the English would have found themselves speaking German. In short, you can be a Christian and accept torture by government entities as a necessary evil.

    • MarcoPolo says:

      If we allow our Government to torture anyone, then we, ourselves are condoning it as well. And THAT is still not right!
      Similarly, our government enlisted “outside sources” and “Black Sites” for incarcerating and torturing those who we felt qualified as enemy combatants. Still something to be ashamed of, no matter what religion one practices!

      • Red Mann says:

        Go live in some country where the government doesn’t do anything you disapprove of.

        • MarcoPolo says:

          I’m quite happy living here, but I’m saddened to hear other Americans (such as I presume you to be), declaring that torture is okay!

          When is torture okay?

          If we are to hold any standards at all, we cannot afford to be hypocrites!
          And to your point… there are NO countries that have my full approval in everything that they may do.

          Pleasure to meet you, Red Mann!

      • Claus von Stauffenberg says:

        TO: MarcoPolo

        Critics and defenders of the harsh interrogation methods applied to captured terrorists can argue forever over whether those methods were ‘torture.’ But any serious discussion of a serious issue — and surely terrorism qualifies as serious — has to move beyond semantics and confront the ultimate question: ‘Compared to what alternative?’

        If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City — set to go off today — and you had a captured terrorist who knew where and when, would you not do anything whatever to make him tell you where and when? Would you pause to look up the definition of ‘torture’? Would you even care what the definition of ‘torture’ was, when the alternative was seeing millions of innocent people murdered?

        • MarcoPolo says:

          The “IF” factor you mention is rarely the case. With suppositions like those on TV shows like 24, the outcome over the “ticking time bomb” poses the obvious conundrum for dealing with how to glean actionable information in order to thwart such threats.
          We should honor our agreements to such noble accords, such as the Geneva Convention. Not to mention the Bible!
          “Just War” may be a Christian’s last resort to dealing with an unstoppable aggressor, and I for one, am not against self defense, but this thread is about torture, so I’ll not digress.

          • Gary Butner says:

            You keep repeating the same torture mantra over and over, and I have repeated numerous times that water boarding is NOT torture. I say that as one who has experienced it. Your political spinning is obvious.

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Then, PLEASE, Gary Butner, tell us how it affected your opinion of such techniques?
            If the Geneva Convention, and other rules of engagement state that it IS torture, how do your square it with the Christian faith, and your soul?

          • Claus von Stauffenberg says:

            TO: MarcoPolo

            M.P ——- “I’m not convinced of anything that is quoted from the Bible’s Old Testament” …

            C.V. ——- “In time we hate that which we often fear.” ~ Shakespeare

            Does this mean that, in your unsurpassed wisdom, you approve of the NEW Testament ?

            You still are avoiding explaining by what authority you refute what any of Scripture has to say? You cannot hide behind anything concerning historical accuracy of the Scriptures anymore than you can discount other authentic facts of secular history. The Bible has proven to be more historically and archaeologically accurate than any other ancient book. It has been subjected to the minutest scientific textual analysis possible to humanity and has been proven to be authentic in every way.

            ________________________________________________

            M.P. —— “so please don’t waste time rifling through it’s primitive ??predilections??

            C.V. ——- I suppose that you also would not have me “rifling” through “primitive” history as well because it may contain some information that does not agree with your limited, human, idiosyncratic imaginations. Typical liberalism.

            ________________________________________________

            M.P. ——— “The edict about selling one’s cloak for a sword, sounds like an advertisement from the NRA.”

            C.V ——– Are you forgetting that it was God in Christ who spoke those words? Be very careful ! Mocking God is one of the tools of Satan in his efforts to destroy souls that Christ redeemed.

            Our natural spiritual condition is that we have no knowledge of God, no understanding of God, no desire for God and no hunger for greater truth. Naturally we live each minute as if it was the last possible moment to continue to engorge our most recent whim, which is our natural condition as sinners.

            Following your own heart and saying that it is God who is speaking is idolatry and making yourself as God which leaves you ON YOUR OWN with your life built on the hope for tomorrow yet tomorrow brings you closer to death and is your ultimate enemy.

            The paradigm of a thing to be philosophical about is death.

            I’m guessing you are living your life as if you didn’t know about the certainty of death and accountability to God and His judgment.

            After sin has tainted God’s perfect world, it is not hard to see that, once stripped of its common romanticisms, the world is a foreign, strange and inhuman place; true knowledge from finite, sinful humans is impossible, and rationality and science cannot explain the world.

            JOHN 8:23 JESUS: “He told them, “I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He [Christ], you will die in your sins.”

            You can go through your life as a host to God or a hostage to your ego. Don’t let some pet sin, some negative experience in your life, or arrogant pride rob you of Christ’s forgiveness. Satan would love that.

            God’s love is unconditional and Christ’s redemption is for everyone!

          • MarcoPolo says:

            Thank you Claus for your sincere effort to sell me on Jesus. ‘Tis the Season!

            Yes, the New Testament departs from the old Hebrew world, just enough to make the collection known as the Bible, palatable for intake as a story…. but not History!

            There are many “religions” on this planet, that provide divine guidance for our path through this life. I don’t discount your premise that Christianity is a righteous path, neither do I discount that one will perish to Hades as an Atheist. There is no proof that God distinguishes between religions, (or NO religion).

            I think the recent PBS program: “From Jesus to Christ” did a tasteful job of trying to describe the man, Jesus.
            As was mentioned, there is little Historical documentation to accurately piece together a daily account of Jesus’ life.

            Surely, every Christian believes that the Bible is sufficient, but that depends upon how much empirical evidence one needs to be convinced.

            And just so you don’t think a Buddhist can’t enjoy the same fulfillment in life, it is important to remember that not every religion ends with it’s parishioners being delivered to any place other than the Cosmos.

            And the Circle continues!

            May you and your family enjoy the blessings that this season provides.
            Namaste.

          • Claus von Stauffenberg says:

            TO: Marco Polo ………

            You are making petty and unnecessary objections by splitting hairs to obscure the obvious focal point of the article.

            We all realize there are always variables in any situation you can conjure up.

            I ask you this: You have PROVEN & RELIABLE information confirming a terrorist, and those in complicity, who undoubtedly have valuable information. Would you bury your head in the sand and betray your country knowing unequivocally that these terrorist have information that could save countless innocent lives ?? Please, no sophistry and nothing to avoid commitment in order to mislead, prevaricate or hedge. Thank you.

            In essence, what you are really saying is you believe that the lives of those who are imperiled and go unprotected at the whims of the cowardly, satanic, terrorists should be sacrificed at the alter of the intimidated liberal’s, cowhearted, philosophies by giving legitimate suspects the benefit of the doubt.

            Acts of terrorism go beyond the tragedies of war. When crimes against innocent civilians are committed out of pure hate and have nothing to do with defense of a nation, justice declares that those criminals LOSE their human rights when they stole the rights of life from their victims or have that intention..

            Pacifism is unbiblical, because it does not take the whole counsel of Scripture. It does not separate a Christian’s private duties from his public duties, and the role of the State versus the role of the individual.

            I will base my reply on the authority of the Scriptures.

            Here is ample instruction that clearly gives government authority the right to take certain action in cases of the taking of a life and to prevent the taking of life:

            Romans 13:1-7 “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he (governing authority) does not bear the SWORD in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

            *NOTE: In this regard, I believe you are confusing JUSTICE with REVENGE.

            God is to be the judge, and God’s ministering authority, the State. Individuals should not take matters into their own hands. That is God’s job. To do otherwise is to usurp God’s right and to usurp the right of the State.

            Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

            Numbers 35:31 Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.

            Leviticus 24:17 “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death.

            LUKE 22:36 He (JESUS)said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

            38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied.

            War is never good. But it is sometimes necessary. Why? Because sin is an ever present reality that has to be dealt with.

            “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder” (James 4:1-2).

            At the forefront of much war and conflict is an idolatry that says, “I want more. I want what you have.” “I want to force my will upon you.” And so there are wars and rumors of wars. It is rooted in human sin. Political parties and institutions are not evil in themselves. Evil is ultimately rooted in every human heart.

            Participation in war must be prompted by a just cause or a defensive cause.

            Preemptive war can be legitimate in some circumstances, if it is known that a grave act of aggression is imminent. If a government knows that their nation or another is about to become a victim, it can act to prevent the injustice before it takes place.

            Interrogation is a part of the act of war, just as the justice of taking a life in defense of a nation is an act of war. Terrorist are warmongers.

            The Geneva Convention does not protect terrorists!

            The conventions are intented as an incentive for BOTH SIDES to follow them, not just one of them which the liberals assume

          • MarcoPolo says:

            I don’t disagree with you, Claus, on the self-defense issue. Fight or Flight and self preservation are inherent features of the human being.
            And you are correct about the neglect and disregard by Terrorists for any civil accord. But that shouldn’t become the standard for those who respect law and order.

            I’m not convinced of anything that is quoted from the Bible’s Old Testament, so please don’t waste time rifling through it’s primitive predilections.
            The edict about selling one’s cloak for a sword, sounds like an advertisement from the NRA.

            I say all this within the secure comfort of a stable society, and I don’t take it for granted, so I accept your premise for defense, and hope against hope that we as a nation can stave off the marauding hordes of barbarians should things go awry!

            Just turn off everyone’s electricity and see what mayhem and anarchy ensues! ….God forbid!!!

          • Claus von Stauffenberg says:

            TO: MarcoPolo

            M.P ——- “I’m not convinced of anything that is quoted from the Bible’s Old Testament” …

            C.V. ——- “In time we hate that which we often fear.” ~ Shakespeare

            Does this mean that, in your unsurpassed wisdom, you approve of the NEW Testament ?

            You still are avoiding explaining by what authority you refute what any of Scripture has to say? You cannot hide behind anything concerning historical accuracy of the Scriptures anymore than you can discount other authentic facts of secular history. The Bible has proven to be more historically and archaeologically accurate than any other ancient book. It has been subjected to the minutest scientific textual analysis possible to humanity and has been proven to be authentic in every way.

            ________________________________________________

            M.P. —— “so please don’t waste time rifling through it’s primitive ??predilections??

            C.V. ——- I suppose that you also would not have me “rifling” through “primitive” history as well because it may contain some information that does not agree with your limited, human, idiosyncratic imaginations. Typical liberalism.

            ________________________________________________

            M.P. ——— “The edict about selling one’s cloak for a sword, sounds like an advertisement from the NRA.”

            C.V ——– Are you forgetting that it was God in Christ who spoke those words? Be very careful ! Mocking God is one of the tools of Satan in his efforts to destroy souls that Christ redeemed.

            Our natural spiritual condition is that we have no knowledge of God, no understanding of God, no desire for God and no hunger for greater truth. Naturally we live each minute as if it was the last possible moment to continue to engorge our most recent whim, which is our natural condition as sinners.

            Following your own heart and saying that it is God who is speaking is idolatry and making yourself as God which leaves you ON YOUR OWN with your life built on the hope for tomorrow yet tomorrow brings you closer to death and is your ultimate enemy.

            The paradigm of a thing to be philosophical about is death.

            I’m guessing you are living your life as if you didn’t know about the certainty of death and accountability to God and His judgment.

            After sin has tainted God’s perfect world, it is not hard to see that, once stripped of its common romanticisms, the world is a foreign, strange and inhuman place; true knowledge from finite, sinful humans is impossible, and rationality and science cannot explain the world.

            JOHN 8:23 JESUS: “He told them, “I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He [Christ], you will die in your sins.”

            You can go through your life as a host to God or a hostage to your ego. Don’t let some pet sin, some negative experience in your life, or arrogant pride rob you of Christ’s forgiveness. Satan would love that.

            God’s love is unconditional and Christ’s redemption is for everyone!

  15. Gary Butner says:

    I’m hearing ignorant political rhetoric on this site regarding the subject of waterboarding. I was in the Special Ops during the 60s, and as part of my training I had to undergo waterboarding. Let me make this very clear, waterboarding is not torture. It’s extremely uncomfortable and almost impossible to resist complying with those administering it, but it is not torture.

    Let me ask how many of you would condemn the prophet Samuel for putting Agag to death as we read in 1st Samuel 15? Be careful how you answer that question, because you may be rejecting the Lord.

  16. Beau Jackson says:

    “I realize the tragic significance of
    the atomic bomb … It is an awful responsibility which has come to
    us … We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies;
    and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His
    purposes.” — Harry Truman, August 9, 1945

  17. I don’t think it’s wrong to focus on torture (I refuse to use the euphemism) of 7-12 years ago because there are so many, including Christians, who continue to try to justify it, and because there still has been no proper punishment of those responsible for the torture. However, it is fair to point out that torture has been part of the way the U.S. does business, not just 7-12 years ago, but at least since approximately the end of World War II up to the present (including the current administration). See the article located at http://www.alternet.org/it-wasnt-just-bush-years-obama-oversees-huge-torture-program-today

  18. Claus von Stauffenberg says:

    I am in accord with Columnist Thomas Sowell:

    “Critics and defenders of the harsh interrogation methods applied to captured terrorists can argue forever over whether those methods were ‘torture.’ But any serious discussion of a serious issue — and surely terrorism qualifies as serious — has to move beyond semantics and confront the ultimate question: ‘Compared to what alternative?’

    If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City — set to go off today — and you had a captured terrorist who knew where and when, would you not do anything whatever to make him tell you where and when? Would you pause to look up the definition of ‘torture’? Would you even care what the definition of ‘torture’ was, when the alternative was seeing millions of innocent people murdered?”

  19. Ray Dubuque says:

    Claus von Stauffenberg twice claims to base his belief that Torture does NOT “clearly go against Christian teaching.” on HIS INTERPRETATION OF “the authority of the Scriptures.” Having studies and preached those Scriptures for 50+ years, I beg to differ.

    1st, he does what most conservatives do, he quotes EVERYBODY BUT JESUS to “prove” what “Christians” should believe. His one quote from Matthew completely MISREPRESENTS the point being made by Jesus. He quotes a passage from the FAVORITE prophet of Conservatives “Christians”, Paul which Adolf Hitler was able to use to command obedience from all of those conservatives Christians who were taught to view as “GODS WORD” (in their view).

    Here’s MORE terrible Scripture you conservatives can use to support your cruel outlook on the world:

    + the “god” who the bible says punished many innocent people for the acts of other guilty persons? ( Gen. 3:14-16, Gen. 20:18)
    + the “god” who the bible says killed a large number of people
    simply because they couldn’t control their curiosity about the contents
    of the ark of the covenant? ( 1 Sam. 6:19-20 ) bible says punished children for their father’s sins? ( Ex. 34:7 & 2 Sam. 12:11-12)
    +the “god” who the bible says sanctioned the beating of slaves as long as they could arise at least a day or two after the beating? ( Ex. 21:20-21. &
    Deut. 22:20-21)
    + “god” who the bible says demanded 16,000 virgins be given to soldiers as war plunder ? and
    + the”god” who the bible says demanded 16 virgins be set aside for himself?(Num. 31:31-40)
    + the”god” who the bible says required an unbetrothed virgin to marry her seducer? (Ex. 22:16)
    + the”god” who the bible says required that a woman found not be a virgin on her wedding night be stoned to death, at her father’s front
    door? (Deut. 22:20-21.)
    + the”god” who the bible says called for the death penalty for all
    those failing to observe the sabbath commandment? [ This has so many
    ramifications that we devote a whole web page to it at http://whatkindofgod.org/sabbathobservance.html .]

  20. Ray Dubuque says:

    How sad that so-called “Christian conservatives” in the U.S.A. are preventing our nation from joining the more CIVILIZED countries of the world when it comes to brutalizing fellow human beings!!!

    • Dan Trabue says:

      The nations that you call “civilized” were the nations that unleashed Nazism, Fascism, and Communism on the world.

      Only a fool would believe that Europe should be some kind of role model for the US. Their track record is not good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *