Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Moral Clarity On These Issues

Moral Clarity On These Issues

By Angie Pratt

You can not be a Christian and support torture of any kind in any circumstance.

You can not be a Christian and support treatment of "enemy war combatants" in any way other than the way in which Jeffery Dalmer or Ted Bundy were treated. You can not be a Christian and support the detaining of ghost prisoners without legal recourse under the presumption of guilt – in the absence of evidence. You can not be a Christian and ignore the fact that the practice of rendition, a euphemism for torture by proxy, demonstrates malice aforethought.

Moral clarity on these issues is not debatable.

The country's religious leaders have an obligation to their churches, to their parishioners and to themselves to stand up and clearly state their positions on this subject. Silence relays tacit approval. Not speaking out makes us all accessories to the fact.

Some churches have indeed stood up and found their voices. The Church of Christ is categorically against all forms of torture and the practice of rendition. The United Methodist Church has been outspoken in their believe that America's current policies on the treatment of terrorist prisoners are immoral. The National Council of Churches has issued multiple formal press releases denouncing the "chaos and treatment of prisoners in Iraq".

Where are the formal statements from the religious right on these matters? Where is Pat Robertson's moral indignation on Alberto Gonzales' memos? The fact of the matter is that Pat Robertson has come out in support of the Bush Administrations’ policies on the treatment of prisoners and the nomination of Alberto Gonzales.

Where does James Dobson stand on this matter? James Dobson, whose "Focus on the Family" broadcast is heard by 2 million U.S. listeners each day, hasn't come out against torture. Instead he makes statements suggesting that it isn't an issue. Perhaps this is why Adam Kotsko, a Christian writer, has likened him to a fascist.

Why haven't we heard anything from Billy Graham? The man who is credited with turning around the life of George W. Bush surely has influence. The man who for decades now has accepted donations from Christians from around the world surely knows that torture is never acceptable.

Could it be that these moral leaders of the religious right have decided that their secular political loyalty is greater than their love of Christ? Is it possible that these men of God are ignoring the teaching of Jesus because they have embraced the idea that their religious ends justify secular means? Selective promotion of morals isn’t good enough.

Government, military and religious leaders must be held accountable. A blind eye can not be turned to the fact that words and actions do not match. Accepting a denial with a wink and a nod makes us all as guilty as the perpetrators. The ends do not justify the means. As we all know, good intentions pave the road to hell.

If, as Jesus said, a rich man would have an easier time getting through the eye of the needle than into heaven then surely it would be easier for a rich man to get into to heaven than anyone who has supported torture with word, deed or silence.

Written by Angie Pratt ( Please run as a Letter to the Editor, guest editorial or PoliticalPosts column.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Jan Rivers: The New Zealanders Involved In Brexit

There are a number who have strong connections to New Zealand making significant running on either side of the contested and divisive decision to leave the European Union. More>>

Rawiri Taonui: The Rise, Fall And Future Of The Independent Māori Parties

Earlier this month the Māori Party and Mana Movement reflected on the shock loss of their last parliamentary seat in this year’s election. It is timely to consider their future. More>>

Don Rennie: Is It Time To Take ACC Back To First Principles?

The word “investing” has played a major part in the operations of the ACC since 1998... More>>

Using Scoop Professionally? Introducing ScoopPro

ScoopPro is a new offering aimed at ensuring professional users get the most out of Scoop and support us to continue improving it so that Scoop continues to exist as a public service for all New Zealanders. More>>