Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Why Didn’t Ashcroft-the-Christian Stop The Torture?

posted by swaldman

ashcroft.jpgWhen George W. Bush was running for President, Christians hoped that having a devout man in the White House would lead to more a more moral government..
But Bush wasn’t the most interesting test of the theory. Though his faith was important to him, it never had nearly the depth of another member of the team — John Ashcroft, the Attorney General. Devoutly religious, Ashcroft led daily Bible studies as Attorney General. In deference to the Bible, he banned the word “pride” form his official correspondence. “I don’t particularly care if I do what’s right in the sight of men,” he has said. “The important thing is for me to do right in God’s sight…The verdict of history is inconsequential; the verdict of eternity is what counts.”
But recently released documents show that senior Bush adminsitration officials authorized torture not only in principle but in repeated, specific instances. In the middle of interrogations, captors would turn back to officials in Washington for approval of particular steps. Mark Danner, author of a new book Torture and Truth, explains that CIA briefers regularly updated the National Security Council’s Principals committee which included Dick Cheney, Condelleezza Rice — and Ashcroft. “As the interrogations proceeded, so did the briefings, with George Tenet, the CIA director, bringing to senior officials almost daily reports of the techniques applied.” Many of the key memos justifying torture also went through Ashcroft.
I’m not saying this was an easy position for Ashcroft. As the chief law enforcement official, he felt an urgent personal responsibility to stop terrorist attacks. He likely made a morally utilitarian calculation that the ends in this case justified the means. Many people did.
But what Ashcroft never did, apparently, was ask: What Would Jesus Do?
There’s no record of him challenging the practices on either practical or moral grounds. We have no reports of him airing the Christian case against torture, which has even been embraced by moderate evangelicals and conservatives like Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. (To torture someone made in God’s image is, they argued, counter to the message of the Bible).
Ashcroft did reportedly question whether people at his level should be involved in the blow-by-blow decision making but his qualms seemed to be more about protecting the White House from blame than stopping the behavior. “Why are we talking about this in the White House?” he reportedly said. “History will not judge this kindly.”
In Never Again, his book about his years as Attorney General, Ashcroft doesn’t mention torture or “enhanced interrogation” at all. He doesn’t ackowledge wrestling with the ethical issues, even by way of justifying the decisions. The closest he comes is a phrase defending the right to “ask probing questions” of suspected terrorist detainees.
On one of the greatest moral questions of the administration — and arguably one of the greatest challenges to Christian ethics of the last decade — he has nothing to say.
For sake of argument, let’s say Ashcroft shouldn’t have brought his religious beliefs into his decision-making. Perhaps we want our Attorney General to completely submerge his religion when dealing with policy. Indeed, on other occasions Ashcroft apparently went against his personal beliefs in order to enforce the law — as when he had federal marshals protect doctors who perform abortions.
But if that’s the case, I’m left wondering: what is the value of having a religious person in office? I don’t mean that as a snarky rhetorical question. I’m honestly perplexed: if ever there was a situation when we actually could have benefited from having a self-righteous, moral, Bible-reading, God-fearing Christian in the room to morally challenge utilitarian thinking, the discussions about torture would have been it.
Perhaps John Ashcroft’s flaw was not that he was too Christian on the job but that he was not Christian enough.



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Silver

posted April 6, 2009 at 12:23 pm


The entire Christian religion is based on the torture and death of one innocent man.
If it was good enough for the son of God, it’s got to be good enough for a bunch of Afghans and Arabs, right?



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robert

posted April 6, 2009 at 12:32 pm


He didn’t stop it because Ashcroft, like most so called Christians, is a phony moralist. People like him love to tell others how to behave so they can live in smug satisfaction – while never having to to follow their own preachings. Their beliefs are truly shallow with no depth of soul – just held high to make themselves feel good.



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Alan

posted April 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm


The current definition of “Christian” by most self-described Christians is shockingly self-serving. It has very little to do with sacrifice, making hard self-choices, and staying to true to Jesus’ teachings;
…It has everything to do with sanctimoniously pointing out the flaws of others, attempting to look publicly pious, and using its group power for self-benefit.
Under this description, there is NO benefit to having a self-described “religious” man in office. In fact, it just adds to the potential danger.



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Gretchen

posted April 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm


… and therein lies the problem. My experience is that Christians see their ideology rather than seeing actual, living, breathing human beings.



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sewells

posted April 6, 2009 at 12:38 pm


I am very unclear about whether the christian god, who ordered the slaughter of innocents on numerous occasions, would have had a problem with torture. This article presumes some benevolent nature incapable and intolerant of evil that is not supported, in my view, by actually reading the bible.



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Your Name

posted April 6, 2009 at 12:40 pm


The problem is that Christianity itself has a long history of torture used in the pursuit of “good” ends. The Spanish Inquisition was run by the Church, not by the government of Spain. Moreover, in Christianity as currently understood by most fundamentalists, God is a torturer. God operates an establishment, Hell, which exists only for the purpose of delivering eternal conscious torment to those who choose not to believe correctly. So, it’s hardly surprising that Ashcroft as a Christian would not condemn torture; it would be condemning too much that is fundamental to Christianity.



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George

posted April 6, 2009 at 12:50 pm


Many Christians throughout history have done horrible, downright unspeakable things.
I wish people, especially Christians, would allow this to soak in more thoroughly: being Christian is no protection from doing un-Christian, atrocious things.



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C3

posted April 6, 2009 at 12:51 pm


Uhm….because he was torturing Muslims?



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Your Name

posted April 6, 2009 at 12:53 pm


“Indeed, on other occasions Ashcroft apparently went against his personal beliefs in order to enforce the law — as when he had federal marshals protect doctors who perform abortions.”
Right, the “Christian” approach would have been to condone the murder of the doctors.



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Billinvirginia

posted April 6, 2009 at 12:54 pm


The God of Numbers 25 is just as much the Christian God as the God of John 3:16.



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goethean

posted April 6, 2009 at 1:09 pm


> Why Didn’t Ashcroft-the-Christian Stop The Torture?
What on earth would make you think that he would? Evangelical Christianity, just like ultra-orthodox Judaism, fundamentalist Islam and right-wing Hinduism, *has never* been about emulating Jesus, and has always been about appealing to the most basic, aggressive, violent instincts of low-class, low-intelligence, often racist people. Nothing in the history of evangelical Christianity would maje you think that Ashcroft or any of the Bushies would have an moral qualms or scruples about any evil deed. They are the moral equivalent of toddlers.



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CAVOSIE

posted April 6, 2009 at 1:14 pm


Wrong question. The correct question: Why didn’t he follow the law?
As a country, we cannot allow an official’s personal religious beliefs to trump their legal duties. Torture is illegal. That’s all Ashcroft needed to say.
In this instance, religious beliefs and the law would have produced the same result but for Ashcroft’s hypocrisy. But that won’t always be the case–as in the abortion doctor example.
This is, I think, exactly the point you are trying to make. While expressions of religion MAY illuminate a person’s fitness for office (I don’t think that’s necessarily true), they should not be the basis of governance.



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Steven

posted April 6, 2009 at 1:20 pm


Billinvirginia
said:
The God of Numbers 25 is just as much the Christian God as the God of John 3:16.



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Eric P

posted April 6, 2009 at 1:20 pm


Good post. Now, I’m a Jew and don’t pretend to understand Christianity. However, to me this boils down to a couple of flaws inherent in Christian belief: one is dogma, and the other is biblical literalism. As a Jew, I feel very safe knowing that rabbis have taught us over the years that despite there being 613 commandments on how to live in our Torah, I am free to break any one of them if, for example, my life is in danger. So, if I’m starving and all there is to eat is pork, I can eat pork. God will understand. No biblical commandment is worth me sacrificing my own life. I don’t think God would deny me a place in heaven for killing another person who was trying to kill me. The whole idea is to balance the myriad conflicting decisions one must make in his life and doing so with God in mind and heart. What I see in the Ashcroft case is that it just seems so easy for Christians to find and/or return to God’s grace. One can be a murderer, a rapist, a child molester his whole life, but if on his deathbed he repents all his sins and accepts Jesus into his life, he is forgiven and will spend all eternity in heaven. This is not balance; this is God-lite. Ashcroft, being in the hotbed of legal and moral violations that constituted the Bush torture policy, very likely struggled with these questions. It doesn’t surprise me that he didn’t recount this struggle in his book: I would likewise want to keep that struggle private, and not just for legal reasons of committing my thought process to paper before the justice system was finished with the issue. Still, in your post you show what a hypocrite Ashcroft is. On one hand he is unconcerned with “the verdict of history,” but on the other hand he is concerned that “history will not judge this kindly.” Like nearly all politicians, he cannot bring himself to embrace fully his morality without that morality conflicting with the morality of those who employ him. So your suggestion that having a devoutly religious person in office has no value is meaningful. I don’t think religion has a place in running a secular government. I think clear-headedness, a willingness to listen to the viewpoints of others, and having a place to go to wrestle with the many conflicts that will inevitably arise should be the basic requirement. This is why partisanship sucks, and why Obama ran. His pragmatism is clear evidence that he has the basics down; if only those around him could learn from his example.



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Steven

posted April 6, 2009 at 1:23 pm


Billinvirginia
said:
The God of Numbers 25 is just as much the Christian God as the God of John 3:16.
Yes but the covenant is totally different.



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Your Name

posted April 6, 2009 at 1:25 pm


Bill, it’s specifically because of people like you that modern Christianity is bleeding and the numbers of self-described atheists has doubled in 15 years.
Considering Jesus (you know, the basis of Christianity) never said one freaking word in the gospels about homosexuality, the obsession you right wing Christians have with it just boggles the mind. What’s also funny is that you invoke Numbers and Leviticus as the authoritative and LITERAL word on homosexuality, but avoid other Old Testament pronouncements about shellfish, pork, wearing clothes made of multiple fabrics, how to treat your slaves, prohibitions against menstrating women from leaving the house, etc.
This blog post is spot on. REAL Christians don’t torture. Ever. Period. End of Story.



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Arun

posted April 6, 2009 at 1:28 pm


A sincere question. If President Bush was such a devout Christian, why did he never join a congregation in Washington? I honestly can’t remember any coverage of him attending church, there or in Texas. I’m sure he must have at least occasionally, but for someone portrayed as deeply religious, it was curiously rare.



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Blue Stater

posted April 6, 2009 at 1:58 pm


This story and some of the comments assume that Ashcroft and all of that curious crew were in any serious sense of the word Christians, except in name. How about “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”? Not that bunch. They were a bizarre collection of rancid hypocrites, and the sooner a significant number of them is/are in jail the better.



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Your Name

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm


Turn the other cheek, forgive and forget, do not resist evil, vengeance is mine saith the Lord.
You’re not even allowed to fight back. Let alone torture. Let alone torture the innocent.
Yet the history of Christianity is one of inquisitions and crusades and persecutions, and today it is no different.
Liars.



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Billinvirginia

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm


uh, Numbers 25 doesn’t have anything to do with homosexuality. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the old or new covenants. It has to do with killing prisoners of war in order to secure the homeland (actually someone else’s homeland that the Hebrews happened to be invading at the time).
According to the Bible, this was a “good thing.”



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Harrumph

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm


Religiosity is what moves Bush, Ashcroft, et alia, not religion.
Bush’s sense of religion is about as deep as his common sense or intelligence.



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Stubbhead

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:15 pm


Anybody, including a writer about Yaweh, who believes that killing prisoners of war in order to secure the homeland, is a “good thing,” is probably quite spiritually sick.



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Pete

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm


I think what ultimately depresses me about using Religious Texts as a justification for violence in the name of security is that it places Christianity in the exact same place Islam is thanks to its Jihadists.
Torture is NOT Christian. Dehumanizing people for not being Christians is definitely NOT what Jesus had in mind.



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lisascomments

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:29 pm


excellent article. During the Bush Admin, I so often asked these question of these so called christians. What Bible were they reading?
I guess as long as abortion is illegal, everything else is ok.
This is why the GOP is losing all but the conspiracy minded racists



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Magic Dog

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:31 pm


Considering the Christian record throughout the ages, I would say that Mr. Ashcroft was mere upholding theological tradition by countenancing torture.



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R Tod

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm


Though I love the spirit of these types of questions, I have to say that as an agnostic they drive me crazy. While I understand the appeal of asking how a Christian can condone torture, the unspoken assumption behind the question is that Christianity must be the basis of moral behavior, or at least that Christians are by definition more moral than non-Christians.
It goes without saying, of course, that people of ALL faiths ask these kinds of questions, and I think its dangerous. I know from reading this blog and the posts above that those that buy into this argument can be decent and good people (those posting here certainly seem to be). But I always fear that starting from a point of believing in inherent moral superiority based on religious preference can be the first step to using one’s religion as the moral basis for conducting horrible atrocities.
I’d be willing to bet, in fact, that if you asked General Ashcroft, or those that call into Sean Hannity supporting him, why the use of torture was acceptable in the war against Islamic terrorism, they would use some form of argument that leaned heavily on God and Christianity.
I might suggest that its better to ask why we don’t support the hiring of good an moral people to the highest of offices, rather than simply asking for religious affiliation.



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Alan

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm


If it wasn’t for torture Christians wouldn’t have Easter.
If people believe that God is directing their actions, ethics and morals take a back seat. All they need is the justification that “God told me so”. We don’t accept “I was just following orders” from the secular side when they allow atrocities, why do we allow it when it is their God commanding it?
The best parts of Christianity are the first parts forgotten when politics and religion meet.



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Jilli

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:38 pm


Why didn’t he stop it?…It appears that he practices cafeteria style christianity like the majority of the country. Covering for the president obviously trumped his personal convictions. I wonder how he stands upright without a spine.



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MoeLarryAndJesus

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:43 pm


The most conservative, most Christian US administration ever made torture the official instrument of US policy.
Why is anyone supposed to be surprised by this?



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Dave

posted April 6, 2009 at 2:52 pm


Once again, the only problem with Christianity is it has never been tried.



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pagansister

posted April 6, 2009 at 3:30 pm


He apparently didn’t let his religion get in the way of his “job”. After all, he wanted to keep his job with his ever so Christian Boss. Pray in the morning in the office and authorize torture in the afternoon…2 entirely different areas!!



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Julian

posted April 6, 2009 at 3:31 pm


I agree with the previous commenters. Why did Ashcroft, the Christian, not stop the torture? Because he is a Christian. The question itself assumes that Christians would have a problem with torture, but one only need look at the movement’s past to realize this isn’t the case; that in fact, when faced with thorny controversies, Christian sects almost always turn to torture as a resolution. The Inquisition, the Witch Hunts, the 30-Years-War, the Pilgrims; the Act of Supremacy, Cromwell’s Irish campaign, the suppression of the Cathars. The history of Christianity (as with all religions) is replete with church-sanctioned acts of cruelty and horror. Why continue to insist that this religion, in and of itself, demands a respect for life from its practitioners when historically, that respect has only ever been expressed in words?



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DML

posted April 6, 2009 at 4:05 pm


The injection of religion into public life by the Bush administration was frightening. Perhaps we should look to Thomas Jefferson’s example. He had a deep understanding of Christianity, but did not abide by it, or in my opinion, disrespect it either. Jefferson’s Bible expresses his thoughts about religion very well I think and how religion should not form the basis for government policy. As long as nothing is sacred, reflecting on some Christian sentiments could be helpful, or the sentiments of Gandhi, etc. Other parts, the ones conservatives like to dwell upon, can be deeply dangerous, like the the Book of Joshua, basically a genocidal rampage.
I am perplexed whether ideologues like Ashcroft can even see what is right or wrong.



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Austin

posted April 6, 2009 at 4:25 pm


Religious ? Moral
Someone’s morality should be judged by their actions toward others. Leading bible studies and attending church services should be considered morally neutral.
The more a leader feels the need to proactively convince others they have have special knowledge of what is moral or spiritual truth, the more they should be scrutinized. Hidden amongst the religious are the immoral – they seek the protection of the church. Or more accurately from society’s assumption that the devout are indeed moral.



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John Cowan

posted April 6, 2009 at 4:33 pm


Eric P.:
Actually, there are a few commandments you can’t break even in order to save a life: murder, adultery, idol-worship, eating blood.
Deathbed repentance isn’t as straightforward as you make it sound. The repentance must be full and sincere: that is, you must be *very sorry* for every sin you have committed, not only because it is wrong and has hurt you or others, but because it is a failure in love for God, who deserves all our love. If you ask God sincerely to forgive your sins, he does.
What happens after that depends on the flavor of Christianity: some sects believe that heaven is earned by the act of repentance plus Christ’s sacrifice, but others hold that you still need to reform your character, even after death, through penitential suffering (this is the doctrine of Purgatory).



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Vincent

posted April 6, 2009 at 5:33 pm


There is a false premise behind your question. The premise is that Christians are more moral than other people.
However, the fact is being a Christians doesn’t make you more hostile toward torture than anybody else.
For instance, how come people participating in human rights and humanitarian groups are disproportionately non-believers?
These groups tend to be the most vocal voices denouncing torture (i.e. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Red Cross, etc.).
Yet, they are often associated with liberals, atheists, etc.
In the end, Atheist, Agnostics, Chritians, Muslims, they’re only labels which do not guarantee that a person has a better moral compass.



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Rob the Rev

posted April 6, 2009 at 6:46 pm


If you want to get some insight as to why anyone, even so-called Christians like Ashcroft, can condone torture read this essay written by the Rev. Sarah Sentilles in the RD Pulpit entitled “Torture Needs You.” She writes, “Until we accept our collective responsibility for torture and the fact that it requires not just the torturer’s denial, but ours, it will prevail.” Her essay was inspiration and source material for my sermon message yesterday on Palm/Passion Sunday that I titled, “In Denial About Torture.”
http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/rdpulpit/1249/
Another good article/interview with Psychologist Philip Zimbardois, “How Good People Turn Evil, From Stanford to Abu Ghraib”
http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/02/ted_zimbardo
my profile link http://community.beliefnet.com/rob_the_rev/?&message=WW91IGhhdmUgc3VjY2Vzc2Z1bGx5IGRlbGV0ZWQgdGhhdCBjb21tZW50Lg==



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Daniel Turner

posted April 6, 2009 at 8:02 pm


re: Vincent’s comment “For instance, how come people participating in human rights and humanitarian groups are disproportionately non-believers?”
Not been my experience as a liberal United Methodist Pastor of 42 years. Got a data source? Of course I’ve always welcomed the opportunity to work on social justice issues with people of any or no religion.



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Your Name

posted April 6, 2009 at 9:00 pm


“But if that’s the case, I’m left wondering: what is the value of having a religious person in office? I don’t mean that as a snarky rhetorical question. I’m honestly perplexed: if ever there was a situation when we actually could have benefited from having a self-righteous, moral, Bible-reading, God-fearing Christian in the room to morally challenge utilitarian thinking, the discussions about torture would have been it.” ————————————————————————- One could ask the same question of the previous democrat administration and the present one. The sitting president while a state senator from Illinois voted not once, but 4 separate times against a law that would ensure that premature infants born alive as the result of abortion would be extended the same medical consideration as any other premature infant of the same age. The same sitting president while a member of the US senate and the Illinois senate voted against restrictions on late term abortion procedure used on ‘viable human fetuses/premature infants where the child is pulled kicking from the womb, alive feet first, until the basde of the skull is exposed. Then the abortionist stabes the child in the back of the neck inserts a canula and suctions the babies brains into a collection vessel. Even Hillary Clinton and NARAL did not condone this barbarity. “what is the value of having a religious person in office”, even a self professed ‘committed christian’, like President Barack Hussein Obama. “If ever there was a situation when we actually could have benefited from having a self-righteous, moral, Bible-reading, God-fearing Christian in the room to morally challenge utilitarian thinking, the discussions about torture [like partial birth abortion] would have been it.” yor bro ken



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Gwyddion9

posted April 6, 2009 at 9:29 pm


Why, because Ashcroft, like his other RR were all for torture. Remember the article on B-Net that talked about Evangel/Conservative Christians thought that torture was acceptable. Which many joked about WWJT…who would Jesus torture. As far as i’m concerned, performing torture put on the same level as the Taliban. You can’t claim to be so high and mighty and perform the same senseless acts. One of the many words of the day under the Bush administration was Hypocrisy & Self Righteous Justification.



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pagansister

posted April 6, 2009 at 9:45 pm


YN at 9:00PM 6 April:
The current administration is pro-choice. The reasons President Obama, as senator in IL. didn’t vote for the legislation you mentioned and it wasn’t because he didn’t care about premature infants “born” by abortion. I don’t know the details, but you are mistaken in your interpretation.



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pagansister

posted April 6, 2009 at 10:15 pm


continuing to YN at 9:00PM 6 April.
According to CBS New Article 1/17/07:
The legislation was worded in a way that unconstitutionally threatened a woman’s right to an abortion by defining the fetus as a child. “It would essentially bar abortions because the equal pritection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this was a child then this would be an anti-abortion statue,” Obama said in the Senate’s debate in March of 2001.



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RASTA

posted April 7, 2009 at 11:50 am


? LET THE EEEEEEEEEEEEEAGLE SOOOOOOOOOOAR…..LIKE SHE’S NEVER SOOOARD BEFOOOOORE…… ?



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hanchman

posted April 7, 2009 at 12:00 pm


Pretty simple to answer really. He is not a xtian and he does not have any moral compass. He puts on his xtian outfit for show and puts it away when he doesn’t need it. In short, he’s a dishonest swindler who will do or say anything he has to to gain power.



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tacitus

posted April 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm


I’m surprised no one in the Religious Right has explained why Ashcroft’s actions would be no surprise to them.
Simply put, they believe that New Testament teachings like “turn the other cheek,” “love your neighbor as yourself,” and “carry the soldier’s load two miles miles instead one” are for personal circumstances only and have little to no significance when conducting affairs of state. That’s where the Old Testament teachings — the Ten Commandments, and the bloody examples set by God and the tribes of Israel as they established their new home in the Promised Land.
It’s this extreme compartmentalization that allows many very conservative Christians like Ashcroft to permit a man to be tortured and humiliated within an inch of death without weighing at all on their conscience at all.
And think about it. How many court battles have there been where members of the religious right, like Judge Roy Moore, were fighting tooth and nail to get a plaque of the Beatitudes hung in their court room or some other state building? Exactly zero. These inconvenient teachings of Jesus simply hold no sway with this people as soon as it involves government of any sort. That’s what’s so troublesome about having them holding the reins of power.



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Panthera

posted April 8, 2009 at 2:54 pm


You only have to look at the postings here on beliefnet by the conservative American Christians to understand why he actively countenanced torture.
Rod now permits white racists their say on his blog, goodness, why should conservative Christians draw the line at torture?
Christianity for conservative Christians means perverting the Bible and over 5,000 years of Jewish thought to justify any hateful, spiteful act they wish to commit.
Funny, at least once a week those who say I am not a Christian because I am gay will stand up for the death penalty, torture, and tearing the US Constitution to shreds. All in the name of ‘their’ Jesus.
The unborn child matters to them enormously. The second the baby’s head crowns, they could not care any less about that person than they do – and heaven knows, they have tried.
I am just about to the point where I am ashamed to admit to being a Christian…my religion has been kidnapped and is being held hostage by the most hateful, spiteful group of people since the National Socialists.
From whom they got their torture guide book…



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Your Name

posted April 9, 2009 at 6:31 am


Jesus never said one word against a government defending its citizens. It is the role of government, according to St. Paul, to punish evildoers. He says, “they do not carry the sword in vain.” Terrorists whose aim it is to destroy the peace-loving citizens of the United States should expect that they will be coerced to give up information about their nefarious deeds. Christians love peace, but they are not stupid when it comes to defending their homeland and their families. I think one should look under the veneer of this article by Waldman, and one would find one who is a pacifist who uses the Bible to put Christians on a guilt trip about protecting freedom-loving people. Plain and simple!



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My Name

posted April 9, 2009 at 7:25 am


You are assuming any torture was actually employed.
I have seen video of the taliban torturing afghans who cooperated with U.S. troops, I have seen video of Al-Qaida chopping off people’s heads, I have not seen any evidence of actual torture by american operators. Did it happen? Maybe, but this whole article is non-sequitor since the underlying premise is not provable or accurate by a Christian definition of what Truth is.
Many Christians in America have lost their way, they have become peace loving idealists who have absolutely no clue what evil is because we have been so insulated here in our safe little country with its freedoms and “religious” culture. The realities of living your faith in the face of evil opposition is so far beyond these people that for them to judge the actions of another christian who just may have been facing that in person is beyond ridiculous. Its almost as ridiculous as your question “what would Jesus do?” Most people cannot answer that because they don’t know him, they don’t read the scriptures to know him, and they don’t have discernment and wisdom to deal with questions that go beyond the scope of the commands of scripture.
Way too many unanswered or unanswerable questions to condemn Ashcroft for his supposedly unchristian actions.
These questions are American ones, not Christian ones, its not the same thing despite the confusing culture of evangelicalism that has been confused with christianity in this country.



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Chris Capoccia

posted April 9, 2009 at 9:48 am


My Name: you’re in denial. that’s the kindest way to put it. try informing yourself a little better about waterboarding. you can start with “Waterboarding is torture – I did it myself, says US advisor” by Leonard Doyle
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/waterboarding-is-torture–i-did-it-myself-says-us-advisor-398490.html



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Amase

posted April 12, 2009 at 1:02 am


I personally do not believe any Americans have gone in a military capacity to Iraq. There has been a massive conspiracy to make it appear that America invaded Iraq, but it’s all a scam to justify trillions of dollars of payments to supporters first of Bush and now Obama, Obama having fewer dollars left to dole out on this ridiculous fraud. And if no American soldiers ever went to Iraq, you can be sure none of them tortured any Iraqis.



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Wellsy

posted April 16, 2009 at 9:21 am


Your Name @ 6:31am,
I believe it can be inferred from a few things Jesus said that he was against war. Pray for your enemies; love your neighbor as yourself. “Wars” can be won utilizing pacifism — just look at the Civil Rights movement, led by Martin Luther King Jr. and other brave Christians. Or look at Gandhi’s pacifist rebellion against the British government in India. Gandhi wasn’t a Christian, but he wielded pacifism to achieve the appropriate end.
Crazily enough, both Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi were assassinated. So was Jesus. What does that say to you?



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Katie

posted April 22, 2009 at 2:36 am


This is God, the Father of Jesus talking in His holy word, The Bible, in defense of Israel:
Isaiah 49:26
“I will make [Israel's] oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
Our God is fierce, particularly for his people Israel. Jesus is just as fierce because He is of the Father’s own heart. He instructed people to cut off their own body parts in order not to lose the soul (Matthew 5:29-30). Perhaps John Ashcroft knew what they were doing wasn’t even close to the punishment God might exact on them.



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Mr. Incredible

posted April 22, 2009 at 2:16 pm


When did Congress define “torture” and make it a criminal act?



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Mr. Incredible

posted April 22, 2009 at 3:14 pm


==Crazily enough, both Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi were assassinated. So was Jesus. What does that say to you?==
Neither King, nor Gandhi, were appointed by God to die for anybody’s sins and to save the world. They were murdered. God tells us not to murder.
God sent His Love — the Word in the flesh — as THE ONLY Savior, THE ONLY Mediator between God and Man. Jesus, the Mediator, had to die, as part of God’s Offer of Reconciliation, as a demonstration of His Power over Evil. Men were part of His scheme to do this.
So, would you that Jesus would not have died for our sins?



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Mr. Incredible

posted April 22, 2009 at 3:17 pm


==I believe it can be inferred from a few things Jesus said that he was against war.==
And, yet, the Word — the Christ — portrays the conflict with Evil as “spiritual warfare,” to be fought in war-like garments.
So, how do YOU reconcile this conflict between what YOU say the Word says and what the Word says He says?



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Mr. Incredible

posted April 22, 2009 at 3:20 pm


==The entire Christian religion is based on the torture and death of one innocent man.==
So, you reject God’s Offer of Reconciliation through Christ and would that Jesus didn’t die for our sins, huh?
You’re telling God that He didn’t have to send His Son to die, as an example of His Power over Evil, is THAT it? You know better than God what is best for Mankind, what is needed, eh?



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Mr. Incredible

posted April 22, 2009 at 4:35 pm


==The entire Christian religion is based on the torture and death of one innocent man.==
Well, no, not exactly.
Those who rejected Him killed Him.
However, He was sent to die cuz that’s the only way God could’ve reconciled Himself with Man. Men, like those who killed Jesus, reject that Reconciliation.
So, it is not simply His death that is sad, rather that our condition before God that necessitated His dying that is sad. Our condition before God should make us mourn. Those who reject God and His Sacrifice, are, on the other hand, happy with their condition and/or question God’s Offer of Reconciliation through Christ.



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Your Name

posted May 1, 2009 at 3:03 am


Amen to Mr. Incredible and katie. While all of you kept up your insistent whining about water ?torture? ( a stupid kids game) They seen what all of ya’ll are really about,and were able to bring out the truth. They know what they are talking about and you’s guys might want to pay attention because “there is coming a day…” If any of you had ever opened a bible you might see that it says that those of us that aren’t of this world (those of us that the Lord has seperated from the worlds wickedness with a spiritual awakening) like ashcroft, are not only accountable to God’s laws but also the laws of man. That is why he was morally obligated by mans Law and spiritually obligated by Gods law to uphold mans laws to save those ‘doctors’. I see them as murderers. Ifmurder was not a capital crime then you would see more dead ‘evil doers’ and more dead Christians If the Lord did not condone violence for certain purposes over evil then why did he Annoint David as king.(David slew Goliath). I also want to say to the rest of you “christians” that its people like you that give C-H-R-I-S-T-ians a bad name. A Christian isnt just some shmo that says they are “good people”. They may be a ‘good person’ yet that does not make you a true Christian. Its because of this stigmatism that I hesitate to call myself a christian. I am a ‘Believer in Christ’ and all that he has said or done. Being christian today is not what all of Gods Christian people were persucuted for in the time of Jesus. True Christians were put to death for their beliefs in God. And we sit around whining about ?water torture? ( a silly childs game)



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