Monday, October 24, 2005

Christians against Jesus and Americans for Torture

Sound like nutty organizations? Think again.

According to new polling data, the majority of people who claim to be Christians actually hold positions opposite of what Christ taught (see my last post, Confirm This). Sort of like the polling data during the election that showed that most of Bush's supporters held differing views from those of their own candidate. (Remember this?)

Add to this that the Bush Administration is taking a strong stand to protect their ability to torture people by threatening to veto a bill that would ban the practice and you have to wonder what these people consider a moral compass.

See, I was listening to NPR yesterday as I drove up Interstate 81, and on their Inter-Faith broadcast and I heard an interview with Bill McKibben talking about his recent article for Harpers, The Christian Paradox: How a faithful nation gets Jesus wrong. I really recommend you clicking on the link and reading the whole article, it is excellent.

The upshot is that few people who claim to be Christians know much about Jesus and what he actually taught (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, give away all your wealth). Three quarters of those polled thought "God helps those who help themselves" is in the Bible...actually Benjamin Franklin said it and meant it ironically because he knew it is actually counter-biblical. God does not encourage self-reliance, he wants you to rely on Him.

So, as I listened to the radio and read the radical Republican bumper stickers on the gas guzzlers passing my compact car, I thought of some new bumper stickers these Christian Republicans might like to have on their Hummers.

I came up with "Christians against Jesus" and "Americans for Torture".

People could plaster them over their old "Charlton Heston is my President" bumper stickers, since that one is just embarrassing now that Clinton has been out of office for five years.

I'm not criticizing Christians, I am one, after all. I am, just like Jesus, bugged no end by hypcrisy and ignorance, though. I wish more Christians would actually do some of the things Jesus told them to do. It really would be a better world if people would do everything in their power to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and heal the sick. Call me crazy, but that's what I believe, and that is what motivates my politics.

And it isn't just like-minded Christians who feel this way. Also on the same NPR program was a Rabbi from the organization Rabbis for Human Rights. It was very interesting interview and gave me real hope for the Middle-East.

It also alerted me to an important bill that every person who considers themselves a person of real faith should support, especially Christians...and which, ironically, is adamantly opposed by our current President.

I strongly urge all Christains to join me in support of the McCain Amendment to Stop Torture by writing your representative today.

Because, in the language of the President himself, if you aren't against torture, then you're for it. It begs the question...Who Would Jesus Torture?

Does the first President to take such pride in being "Openly Christian" want his very first Presidential veto to be of anti-torture legislation? It's enough to make you want to rid the temple of thieves.

Further reading:


Blogger Archie Levine said...

The only argument that can be made against the McCain anti-torture amendment is that it is not necessary...because the United States has been a signatory of the Convention Against Torture since 1994.

But I doubt that Bush will take that argument, since it would mean he openly admits he's abrogated that one too.

How is torture defined in this treaty we have signed?

"an act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person", for a purpose such as obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation or coercion, "or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind"

It doesn't matter if the Geneva Convention applies to "enemy combatants" in Guantanmo and Abu Ghraib...we already put our signature on an agreement not to do that to anybody.

But, who cares about's just a United Nations treaty and the United Nations is as obsolete as the League of Nations, right?

Kofi Annon is corrupt so that means we can be as corrupt as we want without criticism and also we can disregard anything the UN says. Except that one resolution about Saddam. That one we still care about.

Don't you miss the view from the moral high ground...anybody?

Anybody at all?

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Joshua said...

We shouldn't torture people, for all the reasons that McCain speaks of and many more, simply because it's wrong, it doesn't solve anything and it lowers who we are.

It's wrong to torture and by the way, isn't Saddam on trial for torturing and killing? How are we better than he is, if our soldiers are doing the same?

11:37 AM  
Blogger R said...

They seriously need to reprint this over at Bring It on. I can't believe I am laughing so hard over something that is so deadly serious. Thank you Archie. That was priceless. I've been saying all of these things to my friends FOR YEARS. (Except not as well) Especially about Benjamin Franklin being the author of "God helps those..." Ignorance is dangerous.
..Who would Jesus torture?
I love it.
P.S. I've been writing those letters via Amnesty International for a while now. Suggest everyone join.
Gotta gave me a lot of homework to read tonight.
Brillant post Archie. Per...

5:54 PM  

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