Obama Closes Gitmo – Who Is Acting More Christian Now?

President Obama signing executive order

President Obama signing executive order

President Obama has signed an executive order that will shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center.  This detention center has come under frequent attack during the Iraq war with accusations of improper treatment of detainees there.  It is alleged that the CIA has used torture in an attempt to gain intelligence in the war on terror.

Here is an article discussing Obama’s executive order: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090122/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_suspected_terrorists

I have posted a few entries on this blog discussing how Christians should feel about the use of torture.  This discussion also led into the discussion of whether there is ever a time a Christian should be supportive of war.

While it is my opinion that there are times and circumstances which justify the use of war, I do not believe that the use of torture is ever appropriate.  The Bible, which is the Christian guide, tells us that ALL people are created in the image of God.  To torture a person is to treat them as sub-human.  I do not even think it is ever appropriate to torture an animal.  Torture of any kind degrades the fact that everything is the creation of our God.  We should seek to honor Him with how we treat His people and His creatures.

Also, the U.S. has agreed to abide by international law, which condemns the use of torture.  Whether or not one can justify torture for any reason, the U.S. has said they will not use these methods.  If we say it, we should abide by it.  Scripture is clear that when you enter into a covenant, even an improper one, you should seek to honor that covenant.

Lastly, as someone commenting on this blog stated, there is really nothing to gain from the use of torture.  The intelligence we need can be gained from less severe methods.  Why damage our international image by using such methods?

It is interesting to me that a Democratic president seems to be the one taking the moral high road in this situation.  Maybe this should be a reminder to us all that their is not a Christian political party and that we need to be willing to hold our leaders accountable (even Republicans) to do the right thing.

What are your thoughts?

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5 Responses to Obama Closes Gitmo – Who Is Acting More Christian Now?

  1. Bill N. says:

    There are several other issues at stake here.

    Gitmo has in the popular mind been equated with torture. To equate closing Gitmo with stopping torture requires a false synthises… Are or are not the prisonors terreroists? Does or does that not need to be determined through a court system? In what trials at Gitmo have taken place, more then a few of these prisoners have freely confessed they did engage in the terrorist acts alleged against them.

    As “the power that is” President Obama has an obligation to protect the citizens of the United States against such acts, and to use his “power of the sword” to bring the perpetuators of those acts to justice… That responsibility does not demand torture of those prisoners but it does demand incarceration until such time as innocence or guilt can be determined in a court of law….

    Yes… A case can and should be made to stop any torture. But that dosen’t nessecarily mean the Gitmo has to be closed as a place to keep such suspect and self-confessed terrorists incarcerated… I personally believe ther are compelling national security reasons for keeping these people at Gitmpo, and not on the U.S. mainland… We can disagree on that, but to only use “torture” to justify the closing Gitmo is short sighted and the closing itself is an issue open for debate apart from any questions of torture…

    Any comments on the report that Gitmo prisoners that have been set free are now once again activily participating in thier terrorist organizatins?

    Shalom…

  2. Tim Farley says:

    Bill N.:

    You are correct. Closing Guantanamo Bay does not necessarily mean that it ends torture. We are not even sure if true acts of torture are taking place there. We only know of allegations. I commented on one of my previous posts that the guilt or innocence of these prisoners needs to be determined through a court process, which is why I did not restate it here. I mentioned there that these prisoners have not sacrificed any of their rights until they are found guilty. I am not in favor of releasing prisoners without trying them. I am only stating that the treatment of these prisoners needs to be done according to international law (and biblical standards). I suppose that Gitmo could remain open for practical reasons, but I believe its closure sends a symbolic message to the international community that the U.S. is not a nation that tortures prisoners of war.

  3. Kelsey says:

    Great post!
    I’m excited that Gitmo is finally being shut down- it was a national embarrasment.

    Also a good reminder that politicians of both parties can make good and moral decisions. I guess it might also be a good time to remember that Christians can belong to either political party without being a “bad” Christian, since neither party can claim to be “God’s party”, and both have been known to take biblical AND non-biblical stances on different issues.

  4. Tim Farley says:

    Kelsey:

    Thanks. I think you stated my point clearer than I did concerning the differences between the political parties. It is important to realize that neither party is “God’s party.”

  5. Jeff says:

    If I were president, I would have closed Gitmo down as well. It is merely a symbolic step, none-the-less it does send a message to the international community that the U.S. is open to change on this issue. There are still several more substantive issues to be resolved, including:
    1) Determining the proper judicial procedure for the inmates (each of the accused deserves a writ of habeas corpus).
    2) Where to house them once Gitmo is closed
    3) What to do with those inmates that are not welcomed back to their native country but that country’s government
    It will be interesting to see the response of the international community, especially those in the Mideast.

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