RSS
Churchgoers and torture
Is torture un-Christian? Many regulars in the pews don't think so.
H

ere’s “some terribly depressing news,” said Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic. According to Pew research, more than half of Americans who attend church at least once a week said torturing suspected terrorists is “often” or “sometimes” justified, while only 42 percent of people who don’t attend regular services agreed. “So Christian devotion correlates with approval for absolute evil in America.”

Not only that, said Rod Dreher in Beliefnet, but evangelicals are more pro-torture than white mainline Protestants, and the more frequently people go to church the more pro-torture they seem to be. “What on earth are these Christians hearing at church?! Very sad indeed.”

This is not really so hard to understand, said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. “Evangelicals are more likely to be conservative, and conservatives are more likely to support coercive interrogation, ergo evangelicals are more likely to support coercive interrogation.” And remember, these techniques are done to stop future attacks, “which is about as pro-life as you can get.”

Pew’s research is meaningless, said Paul Chesser in The American Spectator. They don’t even define what practices people are supposed to consider torture—“waterboarding? Insects in the room?”—so there’s no way to compare the beliefs of one group to those of another. This study says more about the researchers’ “hatred for traditional Christian beliefs” than anything else.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week