Old Time Radio at OTRCat!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tortured Logic

Much of the fuss about the "torture" of terrorists, or non-military combatants, comes from the fuzzy thinking of the religious - both right and left - who somehow conflate the State with the Kingdom of God. This is not a biblically tenable position, for while the State "is a servant of God to you for good" (Romans 13:4), it is not presented as the Kingdom of God. This distinction is important. Were I to be a Roman householder with bondservants, they would be the servants of the household, not members of my family. While individual members of the government may be Christian, the government is not. While individual citizens of the country may be Christian, the country is not. A "Christian consensus" may hold sway in the Body Politic, but this does not make it Christian. The Kingdom of God is wholly Other than the kingdoms of mankind.

I believe that it says much of our society, and the echoes of former Biblical influence upon it, that so much effort has been put into finding non-lethal, non-maiming methods of persuading terrorists to part with intel. Torquemada and his ilk had quite an arsenal of effective persuasion; we could have gone with those, but instead, we have developed methods that leave the subject perhaps wet and breathless, perhaps emotionally shaken, but still whole. War is a nasty business, terrorism worse still, and that we still seek not to cross the line into Inquisitionville must needs be recognized and trumpeted.

Ooooooh, I'm wet.

Ooooooh, there is dog breath, and I'm scared.

Ooooooh, they shot the guy in the next cell, so I'll talk....Ah, they didn't really. Boy is my face red.

Ooooooh, they say that they will take out my family if I kill another three thousand of their citizens.

Seems rather tame, doesn't it? But even if it doesn't, the State, the governing authority HAS the authority to do that, and worse:

For if you practice evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword in vain; for it is a servant of God, a revenger for wrath on him who does evil. (Romans 13:4)

Much of the torture teapot-tempests are brewed from emotional squeamishness, not the accurate intel from God's Word. That said, what our interrogators do does not approach what has been ID'd as torture historically: beatings, maimings, burning, impromptu surgery, rape. Read some history, then maybe you will understand. The name "Club Gitmo" isn't as far-fetched as you thought.


MacLaren said...

I think you're dead wrong on this one.

I definitely DON'T want the state exercising anything that even approaches torture. Do you realize who these people are?

I also think it's shameful that the Church is generally leaning pro-torture. I don't see any justification for it anywhere in the Scriptures.

The Aardvark said...

That's the trick, isn't it? Acts that in the past wouldn't pass muster as pat-a-cake to an Inquisitor (say, waterboarding or sleep deprivation) has been re-defined as "torture" today. That is a major issue- calling something torture that is primarily distasteful.

As to whether-or-not we want the State exercising such, well, I'm in the boat with you. The Scripture appears to be clear on the business of capital punishment (although we all suffer from Capitol punishment, now), but I am not sanguine about our current government exercising the option. Nonetheless, Paul writing in the midst of the oppressive Roman regime penned that dratted Romans 13 business about swords and ministers and suchlike. The authority does not bear the sword in vain, and I don't think they give manicures with it. Jesus was savagely tortured, yet the Scriptures spend no time excoriating the Romans for doing so.

Please don't misunderstand.... I do not want the state to be doing vile, damaging and nasty things, yet warfare exists.. Do I realize who these people are? Yes. They are precisely the same people who always sit in the seat of power, except this crowd is more mediocre than most.

Neither do I want to line myself up with the liberal mouth-breathers who change the meaning of words Humpty-Dumpty fashion to push their agendas. Scripturally there are more points toward the State's authority to punish malefactors, whatever that punishment entails, than not. That our penal system has self-consciously sought to avoid any resemblance to a Biblical system of restitution / punishment is part of the problem. Perhaps a game of "What Would (King) David Do?" would be good. How have God's leaders handled crime / terrorism?

My main beef is religious wooly thinking, esp. that which confuses church and state. If they wish to object to a practise, then let them do so legitimately.

Now go eat some cheese dip.

Oh...I am going to have around $9K in radio ad time. We must do ads.

The Aardvark said...

I am fascinated that a society that made "Fear Factor" a hit TV show is squeamish about something like waterboarding.

Would I want to be waterboarded? No.

Neither do I want to lie in a coffin with snakes, nor blow up major parts of a cityscape.