The evidence continues to mount. America is torturing suspected terrorists. The reports are too wide and too detailed – too readily confirmed – to be ignored any longer.
Those in charge of defending the status quo continue to endlessly parse the definition of “torture,” of course. They evade questions about the mistreatment of people by giving answers to imaginary questions about the Geneva Convention, a treaty that can be lawyered into legally justifiable exception after exception.
But we all know – its happening. And where America isn’t doing it directly, it is looking the other way while others do it.
Are we proud of this? If not, why aren’t Christians speaking out? Why is there no massive, visible movement of evangelical Christian leaders in opposition to this practice? Is it because it is okay with us?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an absolute pacifist. Sometimes bad people threaten to do very bad things to others, and states have the right to stop them. But, if, while taking such an action, we become nothing more than another bad guy, we have defeated its purpose.
As I said a few posts back – theology matters. It influences the way we behave. Islamic extremists have their own twisted view of God – one that justifies the mass slaughter of innocent people. But is it possible that our own theology is also flawed – that our own theolgy also, more or less, justifies the same treatment of our own enemies?
Is torture “okay” because – according to our own theologies – God is going to end up torturing these people in much worse ways for a much longer time, anyway? Do we think that God will treat them exactly the same way, eventually, so why not make it sooner and later?
Are our ideas about the nature of God making it easier for us to look the other way? And how would we respond differently if we believed God was good, that God loved our enemies, that Jesus will do anything – even giving up his own privilege and life – to reconcile himself with them?
For a moment, forget about the atrocities that result from Islamic fundamentalism/ extremism, and consider this: perhaps, to understand why we are so indifferent to increasing reports of the abuse of human beings by our military and intelligence communities, we need to re-examine what we believe about God.