Saturday, October 20, 2007


So, the nominee for Attorney General does reject torture in the abstract. He simply won't say what it is. And whatever we are doing, he says, that's not it.

A friend who works with college students as a chaplain tells me that "better than" 50 % regard the use of torture as necessary, "these days," and approve of it. This is at an elite, liberal arts institution. These are students who profess to be Christians, talking to their pastor.

What's a Christian to do? What's a Christian pastor to say? Who has some suggestions on preaching texts for this unholy mess of a topic?

What has our nation come to that this is not a no-brainer?


Josephine- said...

I don't know, but it is truly frightening. I've read other statistics that the current crop of college students are the most conservative ever, they just aren't rebelling against Mom & Dad, they aren't making a break.

Jan said...

This is truly frightening. You are so right. God and read Joan Chittister's column about this that is linked at my blog for yesterday (under the Dumbledore post).

PamBG said...

The problem is that people want a text that says: 'And yay, the Lord said unto Rekebohejehosathfat "Thou shalt not torture they neighbours"'

Christians need to understand the original Christian tradition of peaceful non-resistence. Turning the other cheek, carrying the solider's pack two miles, giving your debtors your undergarment as well as your cloak.

As long as Christians believe that violence can redeem them, then they will not fully understand the message of Jesus.

I can't point to 'easy answers' but I like Miroslav Volf's two books 'Free of Charge' (about forgiveness) and 'Exclusion and Embrace'. Also, Google 'Girardian Lectionary Resources' and 'Preaching Peace'.

Anonymous said...

A poll done on the subject divided people by religion and determined that atheists were the group most likely to disaprove of torture. Christians, not so much, and conservative Christians, even less.

Go figure.


Anonymous said...

What's a Christian to say?


What's a Christian to do?

Say it loud and frequently until it gets into the thick skulls of our neighbors.

Cecilia said...

Thank you all for your responses. Still trying to narrow in on a text for preaching this.

Pax, C.

Anonymous said...

Torture is glamorized by TV shows such as "24", and by movies. Young Christian (and other) students, with no real historical knowledge but with comprehensive knowledge of pop culture, just go with the flow and agree with The Powers That Be - since most students are less interested in ultimate issues than in Getting Theirs (money, salvation, etc) before some competitor cuts the jobs and money out from under them.

No one reads the stories of individual genocide survivors. The kids may be taught "6 million Jews were killed" in World History II, but they aren't reflecting.

It always amazes me that some Christians don't look in front of them at church and figure out that their Savior was tortured to death.


W said...

some of you might be interested in reading this take on Mukasey by the Brookings Institution: