Letter: Torture can’t be partisan issueOn May 1, the Washington Post published the results of a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
By: David Harris, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
On May 1, the Washington Post published the results of a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Fifty-four percent of people who attend church at least once a week said that using torture on suspected terrorists was “often” or “sometimes” justified.
In contrast only 42 percent of non-churchgoers approved of using torture.
The reporter, Susan B. Thistlewaite, former president of the Chicago Theological Seminary, speculates that possibly religious people, especially white, evangelical Protestants, tend to be culturally conservative and supportive of the Republican Party.
But more likely, she thinks, the widespread Christian doctrine of salvation through severe pain and suffering has led many to believe in the “penal theory of atonement,” as illustrated by the popularity of Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of Christ.”
I find it incredible that anyone calling himself a follower of the nonviolent Jesus could support torturing a fellow human being, no matter what others say and whether or not torture actually produces any useful information, which seems highly unlikely.
This should not be partisan issue.
Barack Obama’s recent waffling on closing Guantanamo Bay prison and on exposing those responsible for endorsing torture under the previous administration is no more acceptable that the policies of Bush and Cheney.