Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Torture Belongs in the 12th not 21st Century

Who would have thought that in the 21st century torture would be something that people in this country would banter around quite easily, as though it's a game.

Yet it is not a game to cause any person physical or psychological agony. It is a sin against God, our own species and ourselves. For how we treat others will come back to us.

In fact, torture is completely unnecessary given the truth serums we have at our disposal. Heck, even laughing gas in a dentist's chair has always made me spill the beans about my life.

It is, therefore, disgraceful that President Bush, after labeling himself a Christian, has shown that he did so just to get votes.

For despite the fact that Forbes reported that U.S. authorities have confirmed that torture occurred (the acknowledgement was made in a report submitted to the UN Committee against Torture, according to a member of the ten-person panel, speaking on on condition of anonymity), despite the documentation by the well-respected Amnesty International, and despite the wide-spread photographic evidence to the contrary, on Monday President Bush issued this declaration: "We do not torture."

He said this even as he fights his own Republican led Congress to keep torture legal. The U.S. Senate passed legislation banning torture, yet both President Bush and Vice-President Cheney are seeking an exemption for the CIA which maintains a network of prisons in eastern Europe and Asia - previously unknown - where terrorist suspects are held and, obviously, tortured.

If they weren't being tortured, why would this administration be seeking an exemption? The answer is obvious. They wouldn't.

So this President and Vice-President stand for torture.

And what message does this give our nation?

The first message is that President Bush is lying to us once again - as he did in his case for the war in Iraq - to further his own political agenda. The reason for this baffles Republican Senator Chuck Hagel who has labeled the President's position "a terrible mistake," adding: "Why in the world they're doing that, I don't know."

Of note, John McCain, who knows first hand why torture must be banned, has stated that "Our image in the world is suffering very badly, and one of the reasons for it is the perception that we abuse people that we take captive."

As Senator Dick Durbin said, torturing and degrading people in custody "is not what America is about. Those aren't the values we're fighting for."

But perhaps those are precisely the values that this administration - and those who voted for it wittingly or unwittingly - are for. They represent a certain callous mindset that is gaining popularity.

Note this story that serves as a barometer for where we are heading, as a nation:

The Mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, has suggested that those who deface his city with graffiti should have their thumbs cut off on television.

He also advocates public whippings and canings.

And he is serious.

It is outrageous that we have reached a place where such a barbaric idea can be owned - and promoted - by a public official.

So what's next? Public stoning? It would fit in the package. Yet isn't that what we say we're against?

We have been struggling to get out of the dark ages - to lift ourselves up out of the mire of that despicable delight which our species seems to get out of seeing others in agony - since our inception on this planet.

Just as we are reaching a place where technology, science and communication could help us really understand what God is trying to teach us - that we must love each other or perish - we elect a President who masquerades as a Christian, insisted on embroiling us in a horrible war that has caused more suffering than Saddam Hussein ever did, discredits science - that is on the cusp of proving God exists - and now fights his own party for the right to torture.

I must assume the Mayor of Las Vegas must be a great fan of President Bush, since they seem to be on the same wavelength.

My fellow Americans will we allow our mission to fail?

If the answer is yes, then Mother Earth can just wipe us all off and God can try again if we cannot get it together to reject fear and selfishness.

We have come such a long way. It took our species millions of years to get this far and to create a country like ours with compassionate, humane values and a sacred mission.

Are we going to throw it all away? On what? Protecing what? On "protecting" lives through preemptive wars? On selfishness that lays the groundwork for riots and a "dog-eat-dog" attitude? On fear, greed, refusal to conserve or share? On the right to torture?

Please say no to this trend. Stand up for Jesus.

Do not go along with this madness of becoming like the enemy in a vain attempt to protect yourself. Instead, transform your mind in service of God and peace today.

If you need help, I offer you Prayerforce, a book of prayer that has helped others release negativity.

As you commit to renewing your mind, renewing hope for this world and our nation's role in its salvation, take action today by telling President Bush and your Senators: My America is still under God and God does not advocate torture.

Eyes have they, but they see not. Psalms 115:5

Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2


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At 11/08/2005 6:26 AM, Blogger jerng said...

Thanks for the thoughtful response to my posts. I was only paraphrasing what's already in the gospel. BTW.... in Malaysia we have public caning.... it's called public school :)

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