God's Politics

God's Politics


Sister Helen Prejean: On Values Voting

posted by jmcgee

We’ve asked other members of the God’s Politics Blog team to respond to the question that Jim Wallis and Ralph Reed debated last week: “What should values voters value most?”

When voting, I look for political candidates with a proven record of support for certain values. I also look for cautionary signs that lead me to avoid a candidate like the plague. What are those values and those warning signs? Here’s a working list:

* I look for candidates whose spiritual beliefs harmonize with the practical way they pursue policies and programs for a sustainable lifestyle with Earth and justice for people, especially destitute people and minorities.

* I’m wary as all get out of candidates who talk a blue streak about God, who, they claim, favors the U.S. as the “elect,” invested with divine authority to destroy “evil doers” such as Muslim terrorists or convicted felons on death row.

* I hate seeing politicians use God and religion to invoke fear of gay people, which quickly translates into prejudice and abrogation of their civil rights. (Have you noticed how often the issue of “gay marriage” surfaces during election time, then drops from sight until the next election?)

* I trust candidates who see our national budget as a “moral document”, as Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, referred to it, and who are outraged by the $400+ billions spent annually on instruments of destruction and war. Every month we pour $8 billion into the war in Iraq. Think what could happen if we poured those resources into reinvigorating public education, libraries, and the arts; universal health insurance; affordable housing; and alternatives to incarceration. Presently two million people are incarcerated in the U.S., more, per capita, than any other nation, and over half of those are imprisoned for non-violent crimes.

* I don’t trust candidates who claim to be “pro life” simply because they publicly state their opposition to abortion. What good is that if they do not also work vigorously and consistently to create social conditions in which healthy babies are born, children cared for, and families thrive?

* I look for “pro-life” politicians to list “eradication of poverty” as a top priority. Poverty in our nation is on the rise. During the last six years those living at or below the poverty line in the U.S. rose 17 percent. To allow even the existence of poor people in this rich nation, much less poverty on the increase, is totally unworthy of us as Americans and certainly not pro-life.

* I greatly fear candidates who advocate turning over responsibility for our poor and needy to religious volunteers and so-called “faith-based initiatives” while diminishing government’s rightful and necessary responsibility for the social welfare of all of our citizens. The code word here to watch for is “tax cuts,” especially when tax cuts are weighted to benefit the wealthy.

* I look for candidates who see us as global citizens, respecting and promoting international agreements which address our planetary crises (global warming, deforestation, depletion of potable water) and human rights (the Geneva Conventions, the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the U.N. Convention against Torture). In the wake of 9/11 we desperately need political leaders who turn to dialogue and diplomacy as first and necessary steps for building peace rather than turning immediately to dropping bombs and sending in the troops as the way to get our “enemies” to submit to our demands at the negotiating table.

Finally, I look for candidates who have the wisdom of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who teaches that we will never win the “war against terror” by using violence. Such a war is un-winnable, he says, “as long as we have conditions in the world that make people desperate. When you are a father and you see your child go to bed hungry, something happens to you.”

Sister Helen Prejean is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille and a prominent anti-death penalty advocate whose work was featured in the film Dead Man Walking. Her most recent book is The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(50)
post a comment
curiouser and curiouser...

posted September 27, 2006 at 4:05 pm


“I hate seeing politicians use God and religion to invoke fear of gay people, which quickly translates into prejudice and abrogation of their civil rights.” Me too, Sister. Me too! “(Have you noticed how often the issue of gay marriage surfaces during election time, then drops from sight until the next election?)” Yep. Sure have noticed that. Thanks for highlighting it.>



report abuse
 

Will

posted September 27, 2006 at 4:27 pm


Thank you for your strong words Sister and for your inspiring Christian witness to those on death row. I particularly appreciate your care and concern for all those marginalized by the politics of fear. Please continue to share your voice on all these important matters.>



report abuse
 

Michael Hayes

posted September 27, 2006 at 5:03 pm


Sister Helen, Thanks you for sharing your thinking with us. Your “voter values” coincide well with the values Jim Wallis identified in “God’s Politics”. I wish there were a way that enthusiasts for this broad set of values could “find one another” in our legislative and congressional districts and states. Then we could speak to candidates and elected officials in a coordinated and effective way… and we could feel empowered to “change the wind”.>



report abuse
 

Bill Samuel

posted September 27, 2006 at 5:28 pm


Sister Helen, that’s a wonderful list. I’m glad you included the budget as a moral document, and focused on the issue of military spending (completely ignored by Sojourners in its budget campaign last year). That issue, unfortunately, has dropped below the radar screen for a number of years now. All 100 Senators and all but a handful of Representatives support devoting over half of the relatively controllable part of the budget on the machinery of death. It’s a rare major party candidate for Congress who will speak out on this devotion to death. (And I rarely vote for major party candidates, having to stick to independents, third party candidates, and write-ins to find people I can vote for in good conscience.) We need to figure out how to get this issue higher visibility. The Friends Committee on National Legislation faithfully tries to work this issue every year, but there is a dearth of active support from other faith groups, or social justice groups.>



report abuse
 

Tereese Radenbaugh

posted September 27, 2006 at 6:00 pm


I really don’t agree with many of the Sister’s comments. I believe our country is in danger from outside enemies and from within. I believe our country needs to respect our leadership and pray for them, defend our country from attack, and care for our country before we try to care for the world. I believe in less government programs that give welfare and more volunteer Christian faith based programs giving to the poor and spreading the Word. I believe this world is temporary so focusing on global warming and poverty as priorities over defending our freedom is not logical. I believe in setting our eyes on heaven and getting the Word out to as many as possible and that means defending our freedom.>



report abuse
 

curiouser and curiouser...

posted September 27, 2006 at 6:59 pm


Tereese, “I believe our country needs to respect our leadership” I believe your “leaders” have do do much more to EARN that respect. It should not – EVER – be automatic. “I believe in … spreading the Word.” “I believe in setting our eyes on heaven and getting the Word out” You seem to have forgotten that America is NOT a theocracy. “I believe this world is temporary” You are entitled to your beliefs. They will leave a much harsher world for your children though, as in: “so focusing on global warming and poverty as priorities over defending our freedom is not logical.” America has lost so much freedom under Bush already, and his treatment of this “temporary” world of ours may mean you won’t have much of a world, let alone freedoms, to leave to your children.>



report abuse
 

gww

posted September 27, 2006 at 7:37 pm


Perhaps it is time for a third party that represents Common Sense and Common Values and is committed to standing up to extremism. We moderates tend to be complacent and our voices are not heard over the passionate voices of the right and left. My first vote would be to make Sister Helen’s list the party platform. Thank you, Sister, for speaking out.>



report abuse
 

Michael Hayes

posted September 27, 2006 at 9:04 pm


If we enthusiasts for “God’s Politics” values, as Sister Helen has so well expressed them, could “find one another” in our legislative and congressional districts and states, we could coordinate our present, separate contacts with candidates and elected officials. We could begin to “change the wind”, because we would then realize that “… we are the ones we’ve been looking for…”. That we could do. Forming new political parties might be beyond our capabilities… for now…>



report abuse
 

Tim

posted September 27, 2006 at 9:41 pm


Tereese, After reading your blog I can’t help but feel that you have forgotten where your loyalty should be. As a Christian you are called to “serve only one master.” You can’t therefore, put our country, and the people of our country before other people around the world. Everyone is a child of God and He calls us to love and care for the “least of these” not simply the “least of these Americans.” (Which we are not doing anyways. Your post was based off of fear and as Christians we should not be afriad of anything execpt God. I challenge you to look at your beliefs and decide if you are seving God or our country.>



report abuse
 

HuckFinn

posted September 27, 2006 at 10:31 pm


Prejean: I hate seeing politicians use God and religion to invoke fear of gay people, which quickly translates into prejudice and abrogation of their civil rights. The fundamental meaning of marriage is not a “civil rights” issue: http://www.cpjustice.org/stories/storyReader$1178 (Have you noticed how often the issue of gay marriage surfaces during election time, then drops from sight until the next election?) You can thank the activist Massachusetts Supreme Court for hurtling this issue to the national forefront. I don t trust candidates who claim to be pro life simply because they publicly state their opposition to abortion. Does this include all the Democrats who claim to be “personally opposed” to abortion while thwarting even the most modest measures to discourage it? What good is that if they do not also work vigorously and consistently to create social conditions in which healthy babies are born, children cared for, and families thrive? This is a fair question to pro-life conservatives. An equally fair question to pro-choice liberals is: “What good are the most favorable social conditions if you’re hacked to pieces in the womb?”>



report abuse
 

curiouser and curiouser...

posted September 27, 2006 at 10:43 pm


Huck, When the tagline of your source material as ‘proof’ that “marriage is not a “civil rights” issue” begins with “Serve God.”, we immediately ignore it. YOUR faith’s tenets do not get to trump mine. America is NOT a theocracy. And to be “personally opposed” to abortion” means that one wouldn’t have one for themselves. Those that say it probably feel they don’t get to impose their personal values on others and make that choice for them. Or deny them the choice to begin with. And as for your “fair question to pro-life conservatives”, a better question is why are so many ‘pro-life’ ‘conservatives’ in favour of the death penalty?>



report abuse
 

HuckFinn

posted September 27, 2006 at 11:10 pm


curiouser: When the tagline of your source material as ‘proof’ that “marriage is not a “civil rights” issue” begins with “Serve God.”, we immediately ignore it. Is that a sign of your liberal open-mindedness? Try actually dealing with the content. And as for your “fair question to pro-life conservatives”, a better question is why are so many ‘pro-life’ ‘conservatives’ in favour of the death penalty? Probably for the same reason many are not pacifists: Not all killing is murder.>



report abuse
 

Erin

posted September 28, 2006 at 12:08 am


I have only checked out two of these comment links and I am beginning to see why Huck Finn is on here… to stir it up… OK… interesting. Side note: Huck Finn have you ever looked into the social construct of the book Huckleberry Finn? Fascinating case study in post Civil War, social and racial rights… Now to my point… while all killing may not be murder… all killing results in death (the destruction of life) and I believe the frustration that I have is that often conservative Christians are both pro-life and pro-death. War causes the death of innocent people. Let’s not get nit-picky about innocent. Since when has diplomacy become a place for the weak willed? Diplomacy can be amazing… and is generally only successful when complex, brilliant minds come together to think broadly, critically, creatively and long term about the difficult issues of our day. I also read the link you put up on the issue of gay marriage not being a civil rights issue. Hmm. Too much to say here. I will say this: marriage is not simply two people who can procreate through sex. What about couples who can’t have children? What about hetero couples who adopt children? What about couples who have one partner who is disabled and unable to have sex? Two satanists can get married. Heck, pedophiles (if never caught) can get married… how “blessed” is that? Gay marriage: what should be the bottom line for us as followers of Jesus? the Sacredness of covenental committment. I am not sure a governmental law will magically or mystically make marriage more or less sacred. When 50% of all Christian marriages end in divorce… I am not sure marriage is all that sacred in our consumer society, to begin with. Bottom line for me: gay marriage isn’t the problem. I find Helen’s words well balanced, but then again, I am probably biased. But I do think we need more Christians with reasonable and balanced things to say. We seem to have too many Christians talking and making idiotic comparisions between Hillary Clinton and Satan (just a recent example). Which in general does not ever help to promote healthy and loving dialogue.>



report abuse
 

Wolverine

posted September 28, 2006 at 1:11 am


I loved the reference to tax cuts as “code”. As if there’s something awful underneath tax reduction that we conservatives dare not mention. Look, there’s no code. “Tax cuts” means tax cuts — letting citizens keep more of their hard-earned dollars to care for their families, run their businesses, spend, save, and invest. That doesn’t always mean the government has less. Yeah, I remember Grover Norquist likes to talk about “starving the beast” — I was there when he said it. But real economics is more complicated than Grover’s rhetoric. Prudent cuts in tax rates have been known to produce increases in government revenue as a growing economy will result in a deeper pool of funds for the government to draw from. An in the process, the growing economy will create more jobs that the poor can use to leave poverty. Look, you don’t have to like the entire conservative agenda, but don’t confuse tax cuts with hostility to the less fortunate. It’s a bit more complicated than that.>



report abuse
 

Sandimouse

posted September 28, 2006 at 1:13 am


I am amazed how many people are so much concerned about safety – at the expense of freedom AND most of all of LIVES on BOTH sides. I wonder how they all would feel if we had mandatory military service for ALL – including themselves (if they are the appropriate age), their children, grandchildren, friends children etc?>



report abuse
 

gww

posted September 28, 2006 at 2:18 am


Erin – very, very well said. This blog has demonstrated that there really are a lot of “reasonable and balanced” Christians among voters. I can feel my chronic cynicism improving. And to Michael, I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps this blog will somehow lead to a venue for connecting those of us with compatible views. I’m in!>



report abuse
 

HuckFinn

posted September 28, 2006 at 2:25 am


Erin: What about couples who can’t have children? What about hetero couples who adopt children? What about couples who have one partner who is disabled and unable to have sex? First, these cases are exceptional. Second, such couples can still be suitable parents. Procreation is but one aspect of male-female complementarity, though perhaps the most wondrous.>



report abuse
 

HuckFinn

posted September 28, 2006 at 3:28 am


Side note: Huck Finn have you ever looked into the social construct of the book Huckleberry Finn? Fascinating case study in post Civil War, social and racial rights… You mean there’s a book by this name???>



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted September 28, 2006 at 5:09 am


“Not all killing is murder…” Then one can assert that neither is terminating all pregnancies.>



report abuse
 

HuckFinn

posted September 28, 2006 at 6:15 am


Then one can assert that neither is terminating all pregnancies. So you acknowledge that “terminating pregnancies” involves killing? I submit that this can only be justified as a last resort to save the life of the mother.>



report abuse
 

MNW

posted September 28, 2006 at 4:11 pm


Dear Sister Helen, Can you write a diary and tell us what you think about torture? Did you ever, in your wildest imagination, think that the United States of America would legalize torture? Can you explain how ANY Christian can support a president that tortures other humans? Can you explain how ANY Christian can support those who passed a law to legalize it in the USA? I don’t get it. I don’t get how any Christian can now support this president. It’s quite obvious that he has already tortured people (given that the torture bill includes provisions that pardon him for any crime he might have committed in this arena dating back to 9-11-01…and for the fact that this bill wasn’t even a thought until the Supreme Court ruled that he was in violation of the Geneva Convention) and that he plans to continue to torture people. I certainly don’t see Christ in any of it. Can you explain?>



report abuse
 

curiouser and curiouser...

posted September 28, 2006 at 4:37 pm


HuckFinn, “Is that a sign of your liberal open-mindedness? Try actually dealing with the content.” The “content” is irrelevant to the discussion. I am already a person of faith. My question was and is, why should the tenets of YOUR faith trump mine? Would YOU ever “consider the content” of a religion that opposes what YOU believe? Would you allow THAT religion’s tenets to be imposed into the laws governing YOU? I doubt it.>



report abuse
 

RHEMA

posted September 28, 2006 at 5:32 pm


First of all, every voter is a values voter, because everyone that casts a vote does so based on some value system. The thing is that values is an indication of your priorities, the things that you weigh heavier than others. If you value what other people do in their own homes and bedrooms (gay marriage) more than what we do for humanity, then you are what the Bible refers to as “a busybody in other men’s matters.” Now, I’m not saying that I advocate or support so-called, “gay marriage,” that’s not what this post is about. What I am saying is if that is what’s on the top of your list then you have no life, not according to what Jesus commissioned. You are nosey. You are dictatorial. You need to refocus. All voters should vote based on what improves their lives and economic situation, and what improves the general welfare. The top cause of divorce these days is not infidelity and it’s definitely not “gay people.” It revolves around finances. If it’s not cited as the cause, monetary problems can cause friction in a relationship that leads to other problems like abuse, coldness, and yes, spite that can result in infidelity. But the Bible was exactly right when it said that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” So, what should be most important to “values voters”? Since every voter is a value voter as I have stated, the most important thing for voters to do is to take an audit of their entire life and make a list of priorities and vote on those. The thing I have come to realize is that most of those people who are all about wedge issues like gay marriage, are financially well-off, so maybe they have time to go down to Florida and stand outside of Teri Schiavo’s hospital room for a week. Then there are those who get sucked into that foolishness because their church is going along with the agenda of the corporatist Republican party, and they think it’s right even though they don’t benefit from it at all. I heard one woman calling into Dobson’s show crying because she and her husband could afford living expenses any more. Of course she never blamed it on the GOP economy. She never had the wherewithal to understand that since she was doing well in the 90s and she now isn’t that just maybe it has something to do with the political party that she supports so much. She needs to make a list of her priorities, and see if she values paying her bills and eating more than going after abortion clinics.>



report abuse
 

RHEMA

posted September 28, 2006 at 5:36 pm


///…she and her husband “could not” afford living expenses any more.>



report abuse
 

HuckFinn

posted September 28, 2006 at 9:43 pm


MNW, “Waterboarding” pales in comparison to the cruelty of terrorist thugs. Moreover, our soldiers are routinely subjected to it as part of their military training, which indicates that it’s a common practice that they expect to encounter if captured. Are we guilty of “torturing” our own soldiers?>



report abuse
 

MNW

posted September 28, 2006 at 10:31 pm


“Waterboarding” pales in comparison to the cruelty of terrorist thugs. Torture is torture, Huck. September 11th does not give anyone the authority to run roughshod over our principles and values…even the President of the United States. No comparison is necessary. Torture, in any form, is an attack upon the values we hold dear as a nation. it is the deconstruction of the valued principle that all humans have inherent dignity. This bill that is being passed is nothing but a “get out of jail free” card…or at least, that’s what these short-sighted, idiotic Republicans in Congress and the White House think it will do. But in their haste to protect Dear Leader, they fail to comprehend the laws of the country and the US Constitution. You see, constitutionally speaking, any treaty signed by the United States becomes the law of the land. The Congress doesn’t have the right to simply legislate away certain parts of that treaty they disagree with. If the Congress disagreed with the treaty then they don’t sign it until it conforms to their liking. George W. Bush will be held to account for his war crimes. And yes, Huck, waterboarding is torture and covered as a war crime under the Geneva Convention…as noted in the war crimes trials of the Japanese and the US testimony to that affect. In other words, Huck, the United States testified in war crimes trials of the Japanese that waterboarding was indeed a form of torture and was defined as a war crime. Moreover, our soldiers are routinely subjected to it as part of their military training, which indicates that it’s a common practice that they expect to encounter if captured. Great! They’ll be prepared for the inevitable liklihood that it will now be used to torture them…though I don’t think anyone can be prepared for being tortured by an enemy…no matter how much someone has been “tortured” by their friend. Are we guilty of “torturing” our own soldiers? Not according to the Geneva Conventions…as I doubt there’s a clause concerning self-inflicted torture.>



report abuse
 

Rick Gausling

posted September 29, 2006 at 4:26 am


I wrote this approximately two years ago. It says many of the same things you are saying in a slightly different way. It is simply entitled: “My Jesus” My Jesus There is a saying What Would Jesus Do? My Jesus does the following. My Jesus is concerned about the sanctity of human life. My Jesus is concerned about the sanctity of the lives of the people who are living on this earth, children living without food or families, women who struggle to make it on a moment by moment basis, innocent people who are killed on a daily basis in the name of war, people who kill one another over a few bucks or turf. My Jesus suffers with these people. My Jesus is not involved in politics. My Jesus does not care what party you belong to. My Jesus is more concerned about each and every human life, not how he/she could corner the world s oil market. My Jesus does not fight a war for oil. My Jesus does not bomb anyone. My Jesus sees no just means for any war. My Jesus does not believe in holy wars. My Jesus does not care what religion you are or if you even belong to a religion. My Jesus especially does not care what form of Christianity you belong to. My Jesus does not believe Catholicism is the one true religion. My Jesus believes there are many ways to God, not just Christianity and not just through religion. My Jesus believes we have really screwed up this whole religion thing. My Jesus weeps when people are divided over religion; killing and fighting wars in the name of religion. My Jesus weeps over racial division. My Jesus weeps over the hatred caused by this racial division. My Jesus is concerned about all of the problems that the continent of Africa faces. My Jesus finds ways to end the starvation and civil wars which plague that continent. My Jesus believes we should pour money into the continent to deal with AIDS and warfare and starvation. My Jesus thinks we should take care of the planet he/she has given us to live on. My Jesus does not believe in a capitalistic system that makes money for a select few at the expense of others who are suffering to stay alive. My Jesus does not demand more and more money out of parishioners so churches can build bigger and bigger and more elaborate buildings. My Jesus is concerned about building your soul. My Jesus sees only your soul; not your race, religion, nationality, political affiliation, sex or sexual preference.>



report abuse
 

HuckFinn

posted September 29, 2006 at 6:22 am


They’ll be prepared for the inevitable liklihood that it will now be used to torture them Now? You think this is something new? My father went through this training 40 years ago. What’s new is the silly notion that if we play nice, our enemies will follow suit.>



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted September 29, 2006 at 6:31 am


Rick, Is your Jesus cool with my being a conservative? Just checking…>



report abuse
 

Rick

posted September 29, 2006 at 2:49 pm


Hi Kevin, I think a I already answered your question. My Jesus does not discriminate. My Jesus is not political. As people we seem to confuse our belief system with who Christ is. Rick>



report abuse
 

MNW

posted September 29, 2006 at 3:21 pm


Rick, My Jesus is the same as your Jesus. Can I have your permission to copy that and share it? It’s beautifully written and speaks the truth of Jesus as I know him. Bless you.>



report abuse
 

MNW

posted September 29, 2006 at 3:24 pm


Now? You think this is something new? Are you trying to claim that legal torture isn’t new in the United States? My father went through this training 40 years ago. Yeah, and your point is? What’s new is the silly notion that if we play nice, our enemies will follow suit. No, Huck. What’s new is that people like you think it’s ok that torture is legal in the United States and that it’s ok that the United States treats its prisoners with the same contempt and indignity as our enemies. Just because our enemies do stuff (and our soldiers are “prepared” for it), doesn’t mean that it’s right, moral, or just. Because it isn’t…in any way, shape, or form. What you’re advocating is that we lower our standards to theirs…and in that…they win.>



report abuse
 

Brian

posted September 29, 2006 at 4:07 pm


What’s new is the silly notion that if we play nice, our enemies will follow suit. That suggestion i not new, but is long-standing and has been repeated by numerous military personnel, including 5 former Joint Cheifs of Staff. During the first Gulf War, thousands of Iraqis raised the white flag early in that conflict, knowing they would be treated fairly. Paul Reickoff, an Iraq War vet, recalled his commander telling him that an enemy that knows the US will treat him humainly is more likely to give up the fight. Our enemies can not defeat us militarily, and they will all come to know that. This measure sends a signal that we absolve our moral superiority – and invite them to become reckless, putting our troops in more danger.>



report abuse
 

MNW

posted September 29, 2006 at 6:14 pm


Paul Reickoff, an Iraq War vet, recalled his commander telling him that an enemy that knows the US will treat him humanely is more likely to give up the fight. Wow! Just wow! THAT is one of the best arguments I’ve heard yet for demonstrating that the policies of this administration and it’s pet Congress are making us less safe…not more.>



report abuse
 

Mark Chaszar

posted September 29, 2006 at 6:27 pm


I think we’re off point. This “sister” has spoken out against the faith she says she is a part of. Look at her response to the the gay marriage question. Why would anyone listen to this woman at all? She is an apostate, and makes no qualms about it.>



report abuse
 

Jeff

posted September 29, 2006 at 7:03 pm


I agree with Bishop Tutu’s comment: …we have conditions in the world that make people desperate. When you are a father and you see your child go to bed hungry, something happens to you. Unfortunately, most of the conditions that make the world desperate are caused by corrupt governments which will wield their tyrannical control until the Free World intervenes on their behalf. The answer isn’t to NOT intervene (and yes I mean militarily); the answer is when you intervene to do it right (something neither the Bush Administration has done or the rest of the Free World has the moral will to take to heart). Jeff>



report abuse
 

MNW

posted September 29, 2006 at 8:11 pm


Why would anyone listen to this woman at all? Why would anyone listen to you? I recognize the spirit of Christ in Sister Helen’s words. I recognize only contempt for others in yours.>



report abuse
 

HuckFinn

posted September 29, 2006 at 10:54 pm


MNW, How can you seriously suggest that harsh interrogation of terrorists (not soldiers) puts us “on the same level” as those who behead civilians on video and set off bombs in crowded marketplaces?>



report abuse
 

MNW

posted September 30, 2006 at 1:22 am


How can you seriously suggest that harsh interrogation of terrorists (not soldiers) puts us “on the same level” as those who behead civilians on video and set off bombs in crowded marketplaces? “Harsh interrogation”? It’s called TORTURE, bubba…and no amount of your Republicanesque semantics is going to change that FACT. And it’s quite easy to place it on the same level. It used to be of some importance that this country respect the dignity of all human beings. But yesterday the United States Congress decided for the rest of us that the only thing that matters is our “safety”. But no amount of torture is going to provide us any safety, bubba. Torture is only going to provide one thing, a degradation of our sense of what is moral, just, and right. It doesn’t matter, bubba, what our “enemies” do. In the discussion of what is right, what is moral, and what is just, what our “enemies” do is of no significance. So, to your question as to being “on the same level”…you’re either just, moral, and right…or you’re not. As of yesterday, the United States no longer operates under a code that is moral, just, or right. It operates under the same code as the “enemy’…whatever it takes to “win”, is all that matters…everything else is secondary. And in that, we are playing on their field…not ours. And it is on their field that we will lose. It’s when we play on the field of justice and honor and integrity that we win…but we no longer can claim those as ours…they don’t even exist in this “war”.>



report abuse
 

MNW

posted September 30, 2006 at 1:37 am


One more thing, Huck… Do you understand WHY justice, honor, and integrity don’t exist in this “war”? It’s because WE haven’t brought them to the “war”. Certainly, you didn’t think the “enemy” would, did you?>



report abuse
 

MNW

posted September 30, 2006 at 1:44 am


And another thing… It’s my honest and deeply held belief that the reason why justice and honor and integrity are not a component of this “war”, is because those “directing” this war have no sense of justice, honor, and integrity…and never learned what it means to BE a soldier that respects justice and honor and integrity. They either pretended to be a soldier…or avoided the opportunity to be one completely.>



report abuse
 

Sarah

posted September 30, 2006 at 2:09 am


My understanding of Jesus seems to be more confused than some of the people here. He was humble, yet said He was the only way to salvation. He was peaceful, yet His father seemed quite comfortable with war. He was remarkably unclear about the role of the government in poverty issues and immigration. Fortunately, he was clear about a lot of things too. He was clear that his people were responsible for being his hands in the world, and for sharing his love and his word. He was clear that the Church needed to prioritize the taking care of the marginalized. Has the Church abdicated these responsibilities and given them to the government? Given the limits and incentives of government, I’d feel better if the Church started following its own calling with more vigor instead of merely calling on the government to take care of the issues that we know we are supposed to address.>



report abuse
 

HuckFinn

posted September 30, 2006 at 4:33 am


And it’s quite easy to place it on the same level. Apparently John McCain, who suffered real torture in Vietnam and can no longer raise his arms above his head as a result, understands otherwise. By contrast, Khalid Sheik Mohammed is safely in custody, with his bodily functions still intact. Is sheer moral idiocy to equate his captors with him or his 9/11 cohorts.>



report abuse
 

MNW

posted September 30, 2006 at 5:28 am


Apparently John McCain, who suffered real torture in Vietnam and can no longer raise his arms above his head as a result, understands otherwise. John McCain may have suffered real torture, but that doesn’t alter the immorality of torture. By contrast, Khalid Sheik Mohammed is safely in custody, with his bodily functions still intact. Is sheer moral idiocy to equate his captors with him or his 9/11 cohorts. The moral idiocy is in thinking that there are shades of gray in regards to morality. You’re either humane or you’re not. You either respect human dignity or you don’t. You can’t kinda sorta respect human dignity. You either do or you don’t. If it were so important for the United States to torture people in order to obtain “information” regarding potential terror attacks, then why did we not torture people after the first WTC attack? Why did we not begin torturing people after the bombing of the USS Cole? Why didn’t we start torturing people after the bombing of the embassy in Kenya? After the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon? After the Iran hostage crisis? Why is torture now required to make us “safe”? Has our government been negligent in keeping us safe for 30 years? Was torturing people a recommendation of the 9-11 Commission? Should we blame ourselves for 9-11 because we didn’t torture people in order to prevent it? You can continue to argue all you want, bubba…but nothing is going to change the fact that torture does not make us safer. It only makes us torturers. It only makes us immoral.>



report abuse
 

RHEMA

posted September 30, 2006 at 9:07 pm


Kevin, The Conservatives of Jesus’ day were the chief priests, the scribes and the pharisees, the ones who set him up and convinced the people to condemn him to the cross. The Conservatives of our day are the businessmen in the pulpit who would rather use religion to get a tax cut than to actually do some good. Conservatism favors the rich and the wealthy, and are the goats that Jesus decribes in the book of Matthew. If you want to be a goat, then call yourself a conservative with pride. As for this whole stupid conservative excuse that it’s alright if we torture people because they are brutal, in the words of Ghandi: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” If you know the Bible, then you can think of a scripture where Jesus said something similar.>



report abuse
 

Erin

posted September 30, 2006 at 9:11 pm


Did I miss something? What is with the “bubba” stuff? I mean I agree with you MNW and generally on this blog seem to disagree with HuckFinn (despite the fact he names himself after one of my favorite books)… just wondering. I have several friends who are in the police. All will verify that interrogation with torture tactics rarely, if ever, actually ends up getting truthful and useful information. All the CSI and Law & Order shows, while entertaining, are just fiction. Torture doesn’t work. So… just on a pragmatic level. We need to be smarter than that. But on another level… How can a Christian even begin to defend torture? WWJD?… I know what He wouldn’t do: torture. Jesus barely cared for his own safety… let alone cause the pain or death of someone for his own gain. When the guards came to take him and his followers tried to defend him with the sword… he told them not to… Mark C: Luckily, though, it is our relationship with Jesus that saves us not our perfect theology. Our “sister” can major in the major and minor in the minors and she is saved… even if you don’t agree with her… She hasn’t given up her entire belief system (do you know what apostate means?)… she questions how we interpret it. Questioning is always good. Jesus encouraged the hard questions. We are all in a process… before you decree who you believe is apostate or saved… please take the plank out of your own eye…>



report abuse
 

MNW

posted September 30, 2006 at 10:47 pm


What is with the “bubba” stuff? LOL! My bad…that should have said “Huck”. “Bubba” is a guy on another thread who is also advocating torture.>



report abuse
 

Mike N.

posted October 6, 2006 at 2:14 am


Then there are those who get sucked into that foolishness because their church is going along with the agenda of the corporatist Republican party, and they think it’s right even though they don’t benefit from it at all. I heard one woman calling into Dobson’s show crying because she and her husband could afford living expenses any more. Of course she never blamed it on the GOP economy. She never had the wherewithal to understand that since she was doing well in the 90s and she now isn’t that just maybe it has something to do with the political party that she supports so much. Why be so simplistic about it? I don’t listen to Dobson (nor any other “talk” show regardless of political bent) so I have no idea what the woman actually said, but could it be at all possible that she and her husband just don’t know how to handle money? I am continually amazed at the number of people in this country who are financially illiterate, who have no concept of saving for a rainy day, who max out their credit cards and pay the minimum due. I personally know people who are making large salaries, but are only one or two paychecks away from financial disaster. I worked with a guy who made over $100,000/year and was constantly complaining how tight things were. It never occurred to him to drive his BMW for 10 years instead of 3 (or better yet, buy a less expensive car), sell his McMansion and move into a more modest home, quit buying lattes at Starbucks or bring his lunch from home. I’m not defending Bush by any means, but living below your means, putting money away for the future, learning how to invest and making sound fincancial decisions are not rocket science concepts.>



report abuse
 

Mike N.

posted October 6, 2006 at 2:19 am


Paul Reickoff, an Iraq War vet, recalled his commander telling him that an enemy that knows the US will treat him humanely is more likely to give up the fight. That’s why the Germans in WWII went out of their way to surrender to US troops rather than surrender to the Soviets.>



report abuse
 

M Joseph

posted December 4, 2013 at 3:03 am


Sister, you seem to fear more than love. You seem to fear the horrid, than love the Good. I must respect your desire for people. I believe it to be noble. But you seem more troubled by what you do not like than what you like. I have personal suspicions about you, but I will leave them to myself (that you are carrying lots of crosses). As a Catholic nun, where do you see beauty? Let us fear less and love the Good more. Let us work to feed the people both spiritually and physically. Fear Not!



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting God's Politics. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 11:14:07am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Why I Work for Immigration Reform (by Patty Kupfer)
When I tell people that I work on immigration reform, they usually laugh or say, "way to pick an easy topic." Everyday it feels like there is more fear, more hate. Raids are picking up in Nevada, California, and New York. A number of senators who supported comprehensive reform only a few months ago

posted 12:30:52pm Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Audio: Jim Wallis on "Value Voters" on The Tavis Smiley Show
Last week Jim was on The Tavis Smiley Show and talked about how the changing political landscape will affect the upcoming '08 election. Jim and Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state, debated and discussed both the impact of "value voters" on the election and what those values entail. + Down

posted 10:11:56am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Verse of the Day: 'peace to the far and the near'
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will lead them and repay them with comfort, creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them. But the wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss u

posted 9:35:01am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Daily News Digest (by Duane Shank)
the latest news on Mideast, Iran, Romney-Religious right, Blog action day, Turkey, SCHIP, Iran, Aids-Africa, India, Budget, Brownback-slavery apology, Canada, and selected op-eds. Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail » Blog action day. Thousands of bloggers unite in blitz of green

posted 9:31:25am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.