Of Torture, Politics, and Faith

There has been much written and said of a recent survey which showed the highest support for torture by our government comes from evangelical Christians.  Suffice it to say I am no fan of torture.  As a Christian, I do not find it in accord with Scripture and as a military officer, I know it is an extremely poor source of intelligence information.

But what I found most interesting in the report was that the statisticians also tell us that one’s political leanings are much more telling on how we stand on torture than our religious beliefs.  What that tells us is that whether one is for or against – we allow our political leanings to determine our outlook more than our religious beliefs.  And that my friends, is the tail wagging the dog.

Please do not take this to mean that I believe that one’s theology should totally determine one’s political affiliation.  I see each major political party in the U.S. as uplifting different values highlighted in Scripture, and ignoring others, so one has to use discernment and prayer on how one votes and which parties one affiliates with.  I know deep and profound Christians who are Republicans and Democrats.  

But when it comes down to a particular issue, the Bible should be our first reference.  And I can’t count the number of passages that are being broken when one human being tortures another.  And the subtlest thing about it?  The worst damage is done to the torturer not the one being tortured.

Let’s keep first things first and let’s never act in a way that runs counter to what almost every major Christian theologian and denomination inteprets Scripture as saying on this issue.  

In Christ,

Tom Paine, Pastor

Parkway Presbyterian


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