Thursday, February 03, 2005

My Response to "The Theology of Torture", Sojourners Magazine/August 2004

The Theology of Torture, Sojourners Magazine/August 2004: Jim Wallis has a challenging article. His main point is that torture is just the natural consequence of empire. Empire, or as I call it, Dominion is wrong because fallible man cannot be trusted with such power. I feel it is important to respect those I disagree with, so let me first look for mutual agreement.

"Christian theology is uneasy with empire ..."
  • I agree; some, but not all.
  • If one looks, one can find a great deal of "dominion theology".
  • Note, I am not endorsing such theology, merely acknowleging it.

"The Christian view of human nature and sin suggests that we are fallible creatures..."
  • That is an understatement.
  • We are certainly fallible creatures, and all our institutions and theologies are fallible.
  • Only God is good, perfect and holy.

"Christianity implicitly teaches that empire is not the best strategy to fight terrorism ..."
  • The best strategy is prayer, obedience and humble sacrifice.
  • The second best is prayer, obedience and war.
  • We failed to use the first method, now we are called by God to use the second.

"TRUTH-TELLING is also central to Christian theology, which teaches that falsehood has consequences."
  • Bush and all his people are without falsehood.
  • They believed and acted on fallible reports on WMD.
  • Nearly every country and advocate in the world believed the same.
  • Many suggested that Saddam would use such weapons in war or give them to terrorists.
  • On the otherhand, Bush's critics have repeatedly used falsehoods trying to demoralize our weaker leaders and citizens. I can provide many, many examples if requested.

"Darby is a moral hero who should be held up to our children as a role model for what to do when their peers are bowing to pressure to do the wrong thing".
  • While I support the war, I neither support nor condemn the interrogation techniques used in the prisons.
  • But I do applaud Darby (and Wallis) for raising these unpopular issues.
  • I wish we would become a nation of such champions rather than the ankle-biters I see in the news.
This is a valid as a warning, but it cannot be used as an excuse for inaction. The US does not seek permanent, or destructive dominion. As we proved through the last 100 years, we seek absolute surrender and temporary dominion. We desire to rule long enough to "reboot a failed system"; when it is sufficiently moral and stable, we gladly get out of the way. America has proved it's intentions in the Civil War, in Japan, Germany, Italy, the Philippines, Kuwait, Korea, etc.

In every case our temporary dominion over our enemies has replaced an evil, corrupt, coercive dominion with a self ruled system less evil, corrupt and coercive. Each of these enemies have been our Allies since. Throughout history there has never been a dominion as reluctant and benevolent as America. We are not perfect and have much to repent of, yet our dominion has proven to be the greatest blessing an enemy has every received.

ps. I not really that pro American, I have lived in Taiwan that last 12 years for Christ's sake. These are just the objective facts of history.