Texas Baptist Forum

Texas Baptist Forum

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Your editorial on torture (May 18) was sincere and thought-provoking. But by the end, I could not help thinking if Obama’s or Knox’s or Whitmore’s wife and children were threatened with extinction when it was likely the terrorist had information needed to stop an attack threatening them, none of you would sit around thinking: “Dead family or temporarily pained terrorist—which will I pick?”

If evangelicals and liberals were sincere about ending torture, then late-term abortionists would be in prison, sex slavery practically nonexistent and natural childbirth banned due to possible fatal complications.

I asked my college daughter who is majoring in political science/international affairs which would be worse for a Muslim terrorist—waterboarding or being forced to attend a gay-pride party at a U.S. embassy. In all sincerity, she said probably the party would be much more revolting to the terrorist and also a great recruiting tool for Islamists.

Jean Whitmore

Kessler Air Force Base, Miss.

 

I am confused. The recent survey that reports the support of torture by conservative evangelicals makes me question whether WWJD means “What Would Jesus Do?” or if it actually means “What Would Jack (Bauer) Do?”

I cannot find any New Testament author advocating following Jack Bauer (hero of the television program 24) rather than Jesus. I’ve studied early church history, and it is not until the fourth century that I find a world ruler, Constantine, calling upon the name of Christ to vanquish an enemy. Up to that point, Christians embraced the principle of overcoming evil with good. If Constantine was a Christian, was he killing pagans for Christ? I thought it was the Quran that calls for believers to convert pagans at the point of the sword.

Voices of the Martyrs regularly reports on Christians being persecuted for their faith, even unto death. But they never report on any Christians being the persecutors in order to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If agape love is to always do what is best for another regardless of their response and regardless of the cost to one’s self, how do I balance love and torture?

Ray Alger

Dallas

 

I found David Gushee’s position on torture mean-spirited and intolerant (May 18). There is no clear biblical teaching on torture when used to gain information from terrorists that may be vital to national security.

Jesus’ teachings call us to a personal ethic of avoiding insulting and vengeful behavior. Correctly interpreted, they do not inhibit defense of self or others against injury or death, or a government’s actions to protect its people.

Thomas Sowell wrote an excellent editorial challenging torture opponents to consider what they would do if someone they loved was strapped to a time bomb somewhere and a captured terrorist had information that could save them. No one ever wants war, killing or torture, but I for one believe the government not only can but should take actions necessary, to the extent possible, to repel evil in the world and save innocent lives.

More importantly, even though there is no biblical support for such a view, Gushee (online editorial) suggests those who disagree with his position against torture are not true Christians. Regardless of how one feels about the issue of torture, this level of self-righteousness and arrogance should be repudiated by all who value Christian unity and freedom of thought and biblical interpretation. As emotional and divisive as this issue is, there is still far more to unite us as biblical Christians and much ministry and mission for us to accomplish together.

David Rodgers

Texarkana

 

Snake’s eyes

This letter is directed to the lady who has the misinformation about rattlesnakes (April 20). I can tell she hasn’t encountered one and studied how long she would have to live if one strikes and bites her.

Her address shows she doesn’t live in Texas. For every rattlesnake that is “rounded up,” thousands of others take its place.

If you have ever looked one in the eyes and wondered what you were going to do next, you would know they are sneaky and dangerous—and deadly.

Carolyn Lockhart

Port Neches

More on turture

Torture never is right (May 18). I have seen it firsthand, both in the U.S. Army and in America’s prisons. It affects those who torture.

I give one example to state my case.

Years ago, I saw a state prisoner do wrong on the prison grounds through the window in the dining room. A few minutes later, I was in a room next to the main office. I heard an illegal beating of a prisoner take place. I asked one of the office inmates if they heard that often. His reply was, “We don’t hear a thing, Chaplain.”

Perhaps the illegal beating kept the prisoner inbounds for a while. But it was against the law for the officers to do that. I went to the warden the next morning to report what took place. The warden told me to get back to preaching and they will run the prison. After three years in the prison I resigned.

Torturing made a liar out of former President George W. Bush. My warden also would have said, “We don’t torture.” Torturing can become enjoyable to the one who tortures. Sept. 11, 2001, was horrible, but it was done by a very weak enemy. We made a lot of terrorists by our actions of going into Iraq, torturing and not concentrating on the terrorists.

Jack R. Milligan

Lewisville

 

Thank you for standing up on the issue of torture (May18). I also was appalled to learn Christians are the largest group in the United States to support the use of torture. I am a Christian who does not support torture.

It was heartening to read your editorial pointing out torture is the absolute opposite of Christlike behavior.

Jeanette Mayo

Tyler

 

Off the cuff and with no experience whatsoever, I still lack no opinion on torture.  Seems to me to “almost” drown some person would be torture.  Although I have never drowned, I have had the experience of feeling that I might be drowning when water was taken in to the wind pipe and the first part of the lungs, in attempting some swimming trick I should not have tried. The experience, especially on a repeated basis with no control to terminate the experience, is torture to me.  I do not doubt it causes anguish of body or mind.

Obvious, what one considers torture is not necessarily considered to be so by another.  There are markedly different thresholds of pain and agony for different persons.

Like pornography, as one of our former U.S. Supreme Court justices opined: I can’t define it ,but I know it when I see it.  Torture is a very personal not completely expressible condition imposed upon a person.

Holt Irby

Garland

 

Bloated SBC bureaucracy

I would appreciate the leaders fomenting the Southern Baptist Convention’s Great Commission Resurgence addressing the bloated bureaucracy that has occurred with the establishment of secondary state convention groups in several states.

If they really want to cut down on bloating, they would get those groups to reenter the mainstream of Baptist life and rejoin their states’ historic conventions. Until they can accomplish that, they will ever be known as hypocritical.

Bob Gillchrest

San Diego

 

 


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