Conservative Christians are invoking their God-given right to support torture. Somehow, this does not surprise me. After all, conservatives are people who like to ignore the transcendental and instead refer to the Bible as a cosmic penal code.
The Catholic Church has an unfortunate history in these matters (as do the Protestants) but I don’t think anyone should claim those episodes as templates. Or as truly Christian. But that’s just me!
The author quotes Thomas Aquinas reducing criminals to beasts. Maybe Tom was just having a bad day:
Perhaps before he had a chance to clarify his writings on the matter, St. Thomas Aquinas declared he would write no more. On 6 December 1273 he reportedly experienced a long episode of ecstasy during Mass, and later said that such things had been revealed to him that his previous writings seemed nothing in comparison.
You see? He had a transcendent experience that put his writings in a whole new light.
This has always been the problem with religions. Somebody has a transcendent experience, he or she tells their friends, who eventually try to form a group and try to codify the sublime. It’s silly. And conservatives do love their rules, so when you give them authority to use a Bible as a blunt instrument, they’re never happier. Imagine how disingenuous the author of this statement must be:
If we choose not to torture someone so we can save a life, then we are placing the dignity of the criminal over the life and dignity of the innocent person who is about to die.
You have to love that. You’re not “choosing” to torture, the circumstances force you. It’s actually the Christian thing to do! But here’s the hole in that little scenario: The times of which we speak are not episodes of “24.” Nope. There is no timer on a nuclear bomb, we do not “know” anything. We torture on the off chance we’ll get some useful information. And if the person we torture gives us gibberish (because he’s being tortured), let’s torture him some more.
For many years now, representatives of our nation (propped up by the bed-wetting night terrors of our neocon establishment) used this morally bereft argument to torture. And conservative Christians embrace it! The author argues at great length and with a deep fervor that God wouldn’t have a problem with torture. She quotes the Old Testament (conservatives love the Old Testament — none of that pesky “turn the other cheek” stuff) to illustrate that God is actually quite bloodthirsty. So there!
You know, you can argue all you want about torture (incidentally, we did sign the Geneva Conventions, promising not to use it), but don’t go fucking blessing yourself over it. Just don’t.
Everyone knows the Devil can quote Scripture for his purposes — and in this case, does.