A powerful statement against waterboarding; a powerful indictment of Christian silence in the face of torture… all from a very evangelical evangelical:
During the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on his nomination as attorney general, Michael Mukasey was asked “Is waterboarding constitutional? Mukasey answered: “I don’t know what is involved in the technique. If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.”
Since Michael Mukasey is unsure, let me clear it up for him: Yes, waterboarding is torture. And torture should never be legal.
Even more disturbing than the idea that a future attorney general doesn’t know what’s involved in waterboarding is that we live in an age when a familiarity with torture techniques is to be expected of our leaders. How did we get to the point where such a question needs to be asked of an attorney general? Who allowed our country to succumb to such fear and moral cowardice that we parse the the meaning and definition of “torture?”
I blame myself, and implicate my fellow Christians. We have remained silent and treated an issue once considered unthinkable–the acceptability of torture–like a concept worthy of honest debate. But there is no room for debate: torture is immoral and should be clearly and forcefully denounced. We continue to shame ourselves and our Creator by refusing to speak out against such outrages to human dignity.
He is precisely and absolutely right. The prophetic voice of Christians in government and in the public arena is impotent if it cannot conclude that torture is wrong.