Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Why Torture is ALWAYS Wrong

Bob Cornwall, Disciples of Christ  Pastor, church historian, and blogger at Ponderings on a Faith Journey, has an excellent case for refusing EVER to morally sanction torture or any torture-lite euphomisms like “harsh interrogation.”  Here it is.


May 18, 2009 - Posted by | torture


  1. Torture is wrong and so is terrorism.

    Comment by Paul | May 18, 2009

  2. […] There is nothing in that paragraph that I disagree with. We as a Church here in the United States must continue to stand up and make it abuntantly clear that we will not condone the torture that was committed, and that we apologize and repent for either being in support of these tactics used or for not speaking up earlier, protesting, and coming to the aid of those tortured. Thanks to Michael L. Westmoreland-White for linking to Bob Cornwall’s post. […]

    Pingback by Why Torture is Always Wrong, by Cornwall | Schleitheim | May 19, 2009

  3. Michael,

    Thanks for the link — but it’s highly dependent on your good friend David Gushee. He does good work on this issue!

    Comment by Bob Cornwall | May 19, 2009

  4. […] links a thought-provoking essay, Why Torture is ALWAYS Wrong . Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Mark 10:45The Words of Jesus in the Lips of […]

    Pingback by Around the Blogs « Christ, My Righteousness | May 19, 2009

  5. Yes, one of the best things Dave did was to found Evangelicals for Human Rights as an answer to torture and as a component of the National Religious Coalition Against Torture.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | May 19, 2009

  6. No kidding. And I would call the invasion of a sovereign nation which had neither attacked nor posed any immanent threat, and the use of “shock and awe” tactics in that invasion which, by nature, could not discriminate between soldier and civilian, one form of “state sponsored terrorism.”

    One evil (terrorism) does not justify another evil (torture) in response.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | May 19, 2009

  7. the notion that torture is always wrong is based on a sectarian religious belief not shared but the rest of society. Besides, all claims to truth are nothing more than a mask for a ‘will to power’. you guys need to read your Derrida.

    As for me, I’m personally opposed to torture, just as i’m personally opposed to abortion, but I don’t want to impose my personal morality on the rest of society. I’m moderately pro-choice on both abortion and torture.

    Comment by Dan Hollander | May 19, 2009

  8. Dan, this attempt to smear by snark is ridiculous. The notion that torture is always wrong is NOT based on sectarian religious belief, but on U.S. and international law. It was shared by the majority of society (upward of 90%) until the post-9/11 torture propaganda which is still ongoing.

    And, I am no fan of Derrida.

    This is just an attempt to change the subject to abortion.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | May 19, 2009

  9. a lot of people disagree with such moral absolutism about “torture” just as they disagree about moral absolutism about “abortion”

    I think we need to be more open minded about torture in some cases and not be so judgmental of those who have to resort to torture in some cases. In other words, as Dan said, don’t just appeal to your sectarian religious views of the bible or whatever. Like, who really cares what some pre-medieval carpenter or whatever thinks of all this anyway.

    Comment by DON | May 20, 2009

  10. There are enough people who call for torture without a concern for the human being they are degrading, there is no need for me to join them, even if I agreed. But I don’t, and as a person who continues to hear and believe in the message of a pre-medieval carpenter, I feel compelled to communicate unrelentingly the truth that it is a grave evil for humans to engage in such horrors under any circumstances. Opposition to torture IS a moral absolute for Christians. It is de-humanizing to the torturer and the tortured. Torture violates the essence of the Christian Commandment to love God and to love those whom God loves.

    Comment by John | May 20, 2009

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