Torture Banned!

January 22, 2009

Our new president wasted little time in taking action to ban torture with an executive order. This is good news that should be celebrated by all Americans. Although other issues will be differently, on this point Barack Obama is more pro-life than George W. Bush. Two years ago, I wrote a column critiquing Christians who were defending the use of torture. Hopefully, that type of argument will soon be a thing of the past.

10 comments

  1. I think I'm seeing justice falling down like rain...

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  2. Unfortunately, the rightwing media and the "Christian" defenders of torture were all up in arms, today.

    However, Evangelicals for Human Rights and the National Religious Coalition Against Torture joined civil liberties groups like the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and the Center for Constitutional Rights in mostly praising the Executive Orders--but cautious that they might not go far enough.

    In other good news, the Senate is reintroducing legislation that would ban these practices--and its harder for future presidents to overturn legislation than Executive Orders.

    Now, if we can see those guilty of torture prosecuted for their crimes, I'll really rejoice--and I mean those who gave the orders, even if they came directly from Bush and Cheney.

    No one is above the law and torture is not "civil disobedience." (And those of us who do protest injustice by means of civil disobedience expect to be punished. It's part of the price of conscience.)

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  3. Let's judge our new leader on the whole first week of his reign:

    Now we can protect the terrorists from getting all wet, and offer to pay for their wives' abortions!

    Oh, the terrorists are pro-life when it comes to their own offspring, so they might not be interested. But they're not pro-life with their adult lives, since dying for the cause of jihad means salvation for many of their kin.

    What a fascinating dichotomy! We can protect their adult lives from discomfort, while offering to help kill their innocent unborn.

    Whining, liberal, hypocritical pacifism has its new hero in the White House. You appear to be crazed local Fan Club presidents.

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  4. Thanks for all the comments!

    Michael: Sadly, you are correct. More work will be needed to keep our nation headed on this course.

    CD: Would you please pay attention to the facts. I wrote this post before Obama's reversal of the "Mexico City policy" and that is why it is only focused on torture. And if you actually read it, you would have noticed that I acknowledged that there would be areas where he would be less pro-life than Bush. As you know, I believe we should be completely pro-life, including not only the issue of abortion but also torture and other issues. Are you willing yet to admit that torture is wrong or are you only partially pro-life? And, by the way, not everyone tortured was actually a terrorist.

    As for your name-calling, it is unethical and illogical. I would hope you would try to engage in more appropriate discourse. Usually when someone resorts to such attacks, it is because they are unable to actually engage an issue on the facts.

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  5. Brian,

    Your calendar point is well-taken. However, one of the comments I responded to was made after reports of the "Mexico City" policy reversal.

    I didn't and don't call names, I describe behavior editorially--just like you do on many occasions. The practice is neither unethical nor illogical. You just employed it in lecturing me, in fact!

    I'm watching carefully for your post lamenting Obama's anti-life decision of Jan. 23. When is it coming?

    Obama "less pro-life than Bush"? I'm laughing at that description.

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  6. CD: Thanks for acknowledging the timeline here because that is important context.

    Didn't call names? What about "crazed local Fan Club presidents"? That would be name-calling and is unethical and illogical. Until that point, you could have gotten away with arguing why we were supposedly wrong, but that is where you crossed the line and where your response is different in tone than mine.

    You should know by now that I don't post about everything that happens. I won't necessarily have a post just on that issue, but have addressed it right here. What about the question I asked you? Are you willing to say that torture is also wrong and anti-life?

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  7. Torture may be wrong, depending on the motive for the action. But it's not anti-life. No life is taken. Further, when the motive is right, lives may be saved. It's then pro-life.

    It's an easy distinction.

    I said "APPEAR to be crazed local Fan Club Presidents." I referred to the consequential perception of the individuals' ill-held opinions, not to the individuals themselves.

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  8. CD - except you know nothing about any of us or our opinions except what you have assumed from short comments.

    I believe torture *is* anti-life. I believe life is more than having a beating heart and working lungs. It is about having worth and dignity. When we engage in torture, we strip people of that — or at least seek to.

    And I can't feel good about any decision where the ends have to justify the means. It doesn't justify anything for me. I can't believe we've done the moral or right thing by taking another's life — even metaphorically — in order to POSSIBLY save my own.

    Misguided? Maybe. But I want my life to be more than being medically alive. And my Christian faith leads me to believe that my life is not worth more than another's, even if that other is labeled the "enemy."

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  9. Jennifer,

    Your thoughts are well-stated and taken.

    I agree that life is "more than having a beating heart and working lungs." But life also is nothing without that beating heart and working lungs.

    Unfortunately, terrorists don't consider their victims' quality of life--only ending their victims' lives. So, I believe we are just in, and must be, striving to protect our citizens' beating hearts and working lungs through interrogation means which still preserve the beating hearts, lungs and limbs of those caught trying or succeeding in killing us.

    How do you feel about our government legitimizing, and even aiding, those who choose to snuff out the lives of innocent unborns who have beating hearts and working lungs? Not just here at home, but now abroad as well.

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