Friday, May 08, 2009

Southern Baptists Oppose Torture

The Republican base has been whittled down to a handful of extremists, and they have relied on conservative Christians to keep the noise machine going. The Southern Baptists have been the cornerstone of social conservatism, but even they can't stomach what the Bush administration was up to. From the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission web site:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—There is no room for torture as part of the United States’ intelligence-gathering process, Richard Land said today. He also said he believes the practice known as “waterboarding” is torture and, as such, is unethical.

Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said there is no circumstance in which torture should be permissible in interrogations by U.S. officials, even if the authorities believe a prisoner has information that might involve national security.

“I don’t agree with the belief that we should use any means necessary to extract information,” said Land. “I believe there are absolutes. There are things we must never do under any circumstances.

“For me the ultimate test is: Could I, in good conscience, do whatever I am authorizing or condoning others to do? If not, then I must oppose the action. If I could not waterboard someone—and I couldn’t—then I must oppose its practice.”

Land said he considers waterboarding to be torture because the definition of torture includes the determination of whether a procedure causes permanent physical harm, noting he is unable to “separate physical from psychological harm” in this instance. The practice contravenes an individual’s personhood and their humanity, he said.

“It violates everything we believe in as a country,” Land said, reflecting on the words in the Declaration of Independence: that “all men are created equal” and that “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

“There are some things you should never do to another human being, no matter how horrific the things they have done. If you do so, you demean yourself to their level,” he said.

“Civilized countries should err on the side of caution. It does cost us something to play by different rules than our enemies, but it would cost us far more if we played by their rules,” Land concluded.

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 16.2 million members in over 44,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C. SBC’s Richard Land condemns ‘waterboarding’ and torture

That's about as clear a statement as you're going to see on that topic. Dick Cheney and his band of mutants are pretty much on their own.


Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

It's good the SBC is speaking out against torture and I hope they will also speak out against the pain some kids experience when they are bullied over their often erroneously perceived sexual orientation. Oprah invited the mothers of two innocent eleven year old boys who were repeatedly bullied with sexual orientation slurs at school that resulted in their suicides.

On April 6, 2009, 11-year-old Carl Walker-Hoover's family says he hanged himself after enduring bullying. Just 10 days later, 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera, another victim of bullying, took his own life, according to his family.

Carl's and Jaheem's mothers are speaking out in hopes that what they say happened to their sons will never happen to another child. "Today begins a national conversation on bullying," Oprah says.

...Sexual bullying is really a form of sexual harassment, Dr. Espelage says. "Sexual harassment is calling others these names of 'gay' and 'fag,' and when you do that, directed to boys, it's the most hurtful thing you can do to attack their masculinity," she says. "When you call a girl a 'whore,' a 'lesbian,' it serves the same purpose."

I hope the SBC and others will join the conversation so we might prevent bullying and these tragic results.

May 09, 2009 1:09 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Jim claimed:

“Dick Cheney and his band of mutants are pretty much on their own.”

Please Jim, what did mutants ever do to you? Please don’t malign this much misunderstood group by lumping them in with Dick Cheney – they have enough of a bad rap as it is!




May 09, 2009 6:11 PM  

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