Christians, Torture, and the Golden Rule

| 9/15/2008 4:48:55 PM

CrucifictionAlthough Jesus was tortured and murdered, a majority of white Southern evangelical Christians believe that torture is often or sometimes justified when pursuing terrorists, according to a new poll by Faith in Public Life and Mercer University. Among the general population, a smaller percentage (48 percent) of respondents believe that torture can be justified. White evangelical support of torture was much lower when the questioner appealed to the “Golden Rule,” asking respondents if  “the U.S. government should not use methods against our enemies that we would not want used on American soldiers.” A slight majority (52 percent) agreed that the government should not.

The torture and killing of Jesus should motivate all Christians to oppose torture, Jimmy McCarty writes for the God’s Politics blog. Waterboarding and other interrogation techniques currently being employed by the US government are unchristian, according to McCarty, and followers of Jesus have a responsibility to speak out.

For more coverage of torture from Utne Reader, visit

Gordon Shephard
9/18/2008 12:12:29 PM

Ferdinand Sauseure, the father of Semiotics (the study of symbols and significance) long ago (at least it was long ago by today's standards) pointed out that the relationship between sign (as in "Christian") and significance (as in "do unto others as you would have them do unto you") is entirely ARBITRARY. Why anybody would expect anybody else to subscribe to their, or any-third-body's, definition of anything is beyond me.

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