The Southern Baptist Convention’s leader for their Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Richard Land, has come out against waterboarding and declaring it torture.
He said, in part:
“It violates everything we believe in as a country,â€ Land said, reflecting on the words in the Declaration of Independence: that â€œall men are created equalâ€ and that â€œthey are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.â€
â€œThere are some things you should never do to another human being, no matter how horrific the things they have done. If you do so, you demean yourself to their level,â€ he said.
â€œCivilized countries should err on the side of caution. It does cost us something to play by different rules than our enemies, but it would cost us far more if we played by their rules,â€ Land concluded.” [Source: ERLC]
I originally came across this announcement from a OneNewsNow.com e-mail news summary update. OneNews is news aggregator with a intentional slant to American-Evangelicalism (really, more Fundamentalist in perspective). Here is their report. Within the article, they sponsored a poll as to whether the reader agreed with Mr. Land’s opinion. As of 7:11 AM Eastern, May 10, 2009, the results show that 85% of the nearly 18,000 respondents to the poll disagreed with Mr. Land that “waterboarding” is unethical and is torture. That is an amazingly high number, even knowing the kind of readers that regular this website. Only 9% agreed with Land, and I’m one of those respondents.
The comments to Mr. Land’s announcement are fairly typical, with some praising him and some condemning him. What I don’t understand is how those who condemn him do not realize the corrupting effect this kind of behavior has on our own national soul (let alone the individual souls of the 18 year-olds who are either commanded to or given permission to torture another person). Those who comdemn Mr. Land may not care about the soul or body of the individual being tortured, but they should be concerned about the damage done to us.
Here is one typical comment:
Does Mr. Land not understand that we are dealing with pure evil straight from the depths of hell that is clothed in human skin? Why do I care if Satanâ€™s own minion (aka your garden variety terrorist) has a problem with being tortured? Our responsibility to ourselves is far greater than whatever feelings of decency we have towards pure, unadulterated evil….
Jeff may be a “good” Southern Baptist, a “good” Christian family man, but Jeff doesn’t know Scripture or the elemental teachings and commands of Jesus Christ – the one to whom he would claim to have given his life.