OK, I first want to say that I am still thinking through this topic, so I have little to give you in this post concerning my opinion. I promise to follow up with some thoughts after a discussion, which I am hoping will occur here.
I read an article yesterday that repeats oft-heard allegations that the U.S. is torturing prisoners it is holding in Guantanamo Bay. The allegations come from a military judge who is overseeing the trials of the prisoners who are being held there. You can read the entire article at the link below.
The questions I want to pose are:
- How should Christians feel about the repeated allegations that the U.S. is torturing these prisoners?
- If it is true, is it OK?
- How does Christ’s command to “love your enemies” apply to war-time situations? Does it apply at all?
- Should Christians be as concerned with possible human-rights violations of war prisoners (if you believe these are human-rights violations) as they are with other human rights issues (i.e. abortion, gay marriage, freedom of religion, etc.)?
Let me know what you think.
How should Christians feel about the repeated allegations that the U.S. is torturing these prisoners? I think Christians should find out the facts on whether the allegations are true first because it does not represent Christian values. Is America even a Christian country? Or do we say “God bless America” by habit?
If it is true, is it OK? In my opinion it is not ok. You have these ppl locked up … what more do you want from them? They are not outside and should not be communicating with the outside so they should pose no threat anymore. I think it is out or bitter or resentment that torture may be happening.
How does Christ’s command to “love your enemies” apply to war-time situations? Does it apply at all? I don’t think it applies to war times because there are many storied where God lead his people against their enemies when they came up against attacks. In everyday life, regular enemies and war time enemies takes on a diff meaning and significance.
Should Christians be as concerned with possible human-rights violations of war prisoners (if you believe these are human-rights violations) as they are with other human rights issues (i.e. abortion, gay marriage, freedom of religion, etc.)? Yes – I think we should aim to treat everyone the same across the board. It sounds utopian but it is not meant to be easy.
I wish American Christians were more concerned about allegations that our government is using torture. Whether or not they are true, the reputation of our nation is tarnished by these allegations alone.
I believe that torture is never okay in any circumstance. Politically this is so because torture violates our constitution, as well as national and international law. Pragmatically this is so because torture rarely produces any true or valuable information. Ideologically this is so because a violation of one person’s human rights threatens the human rights of every other person because it becomes increasingly more difficult to draw any sort of clear line as to who can be tortured and who is safe. Theologically and, most importantly, I believe this is so because human rights violations defy the intrinsic value which every individual possesses as an image-bearer of God. Acts of torture dehumanize people, denying their likeness to the Creator and His love for them. For this reason, torture has virtually the same theological implications as murder, which is clearly and indisputably prohibited in the Bible. This leads me to the conclusion that torture is immoral and never justified by God.
I wish Christians cared just as much about torture as they so about other issues. I wish they were just as vocal about stopping torture as they are about stopping abortion, which is an issue of equal importance. We all know that Christians can have a power political voice. I wish we would use it more in this issue.
1)How should Christians feel about the repeated allegations that the U.S. is torturing these prisoners?Prayerfully concerned petitioning God’s wisdom for our leaders in Government.
2)If it is true, is it OK? No … Not at all. The U.S. attorney general defended this country’s treatment of terror suspects against criticism from Europe and elsewhere, saying Tuesday that the United States abhors torture and respects the rights of detainees.
Alberto Gonzales also said the U.S. did not transport terrorism suspects to nations where it was likely they could be tortured.
3)How does Christ’s command to “love your enemies” apply to war-time situations? Does it apply at all? The way it did last time; in the Gulf War. Iraqi military laid down their arms in surrender and were instantly “safe, …and free!”
4)Should Christians be as concerned with possible human-rights violations of war prisoners (if you believe these are human-rights violations) as they are with other human rights issues (i.e. abortion, gay marriage, freedom of religion, etc.)?Yes, With regards to the citizen of the wartime country; America has never fought to subjugate; but to Liberate. America has always restored a defeated foe only to see that nation flourish in liberty and freedom. I see this as a direct result of the influence of the life of Christ on society.
Abortion, homosexual unions and freedom of religion confuse the issue for the most part. Wartime combatants have a “right” to die for their country…sure.
Thank you for your input. Your thoughts are very helpful as I and others think through this issue.
I am not sure why you think that bringing up the issues of abortion, gay marriage, and religious freedom blur this issue. These, along with the issue of torturing prisoners of war, are issues of human rights. As Christians, we are very concerned about the rights of the unborn, the claims by the gay community that they have the right to marry, and our own right to worship and hold our beliefs. If torturing prisoners of war is a violation of human rights, and many believe it is, then Christians should be just as committed to protecting these prisoners as we are in guarding every other issue of human rights. Is torturing prisoners of war a violation of human rights? If so, we as Christians cannot accept it and should do everything we can to make sure it does not happen. While I believe that prayer is a good start, I also believe that there is more that we can do. We do not stop at prayer when it comes to abortion. We do much more when the issue of gay marriage comes up. We would not simply pray if our religious freedoms were threatened.
If one could metaphorically draw a circle on the ground and say as long as you stay inside this circle of socially accepted behavior you can enjoy certain rights. Those individuals who defiantly militate against society moving outside their circle of protection, forfeit rights and in extreme cases their right to life.
I think a big problem in the Islamic detainee situation is we are not fighting an identifiable military where rules of engagement can be decided on. These don’t wear uniforms. They hide in with women and children. They use women and children as shields and as vectors for bombs to kill people in mass. Granting these the same rights as the American citizenry is not possible. These cannot be reasoned with or appeased. They cannot be re-rehabilitated. Do you know of a way to force them to make a right choice so they can be returned to society? No other nation in the world wants these dangerous individuals.
That’s why I said pray. Jesus is the only answer.
I agree that criminals forfeit cetain rights, but does that mean they forfeit all of them? Do criminals have any rights? I do not think if a person believes that torture is wrong that he/she must also believe that these prisoners must be totally set free and not put on trial as criminals. Remember, these prisoners have not been found guilty by a court. As Americans, I think we would say that everyone deserves their day in court regardless of their crimes. Have they forfeited their rights even before being found guilty?
There must be probable cause or they wouldn’t be detained. Islam is pretty straight up on what their objectives are. These were taken off the battlefield. These are made up of extreemly intelligent extreemly dangerous individuals who would probably not be found guilty of wrongdoing under Sharia; Most Sunni Muslims follow Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki or Shafii, while most Shia Muslims, the Twelvers, follow the Jaafari school of thought. These may walk free.
Islamic law is now the most widely used religious law, and one of the three most common legal systems of the world alongside common law and civil law. This will be interesting to see how this turns out.
United States abhors torture and respects the rights of detainees, but it seems to have been found guilty in the court of public opinion.
Probable cause or not, they have not been tried. If you were detained as a suspect of a crime and not tried, what rights would you have? As you said, this is not a traditional war with a traditional battlefield. Many of these people were arrested because of information that suggested they were involved in criminal activity, not because they were caught in the act. Some have been detained for long amounts of time and then just released because of lack of evidence to bring them to trial.
I am not saying that the accusations of torture are true. I am asking how Christians should respond to the allegations. Should we care or is it OK?
We should most definitely care, as we move farther and farther from our founding Christian influences it seems the value, the respect for human life-all life, is growing increasingly paltry.
The eternality of the soul is seemingly not considered. Who will genuinely care if not the Christian. We must be vigilant.
Christianity in America if indifferent to the use of torture is vain pageantry.