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That wasn’t so hard, now, was it?

March 12, 2007

“Who would Jesus torture?”

The answer has always been obvious. But over the last five years, it has grown more and more difficult to hold one’s head erect while admitting to being both an American and a Christian. Through those years, virtually all the self-proclaimed patriots and “Christian leaders” in the national public arena have insinuated that there is no more perfect exemplar of the imitatio Christi than the delightfully manly, almost George-Bushlike, Jack Bauer. A robust approval of torture, and a loyal defense of the torturers, have sometimes seemed at least as central to the catechism of The Faith, American style, as the Incarnation or the Resurrection.

Now, finally, the Christians without the megaphones in hand have spoken. The National Association of Evangelicals has forthrightly condemned the use of torture in the war against terror. Bolder than the United States congress, it has made it clear that it is unacceptable to weasel our way into the practice of torture by passing the buck with renditions; or by excusing some of its forms as merely “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment”, and therefore morally permissible. Unlike every sitting Republican senator, and a third of the Democrats, they have also reached deep into their souls, and found the gumption to take exception to indefinite detentions without charges or trials.

See the LA Times summary here, or the endorsed document itselfhere.

For too many years, the evangelical churches in America have been largely in a state of rank apostasy. Bush regularly placed his whole trust in Mammon and Moloch, and when he did, theologically conservative churches either fell to their knees at his side, or held their silence. It is an inexpressible relief to watch this frail green shoot of spiritual health poking up through the long-scorched earth.

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