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Al Mohler on Torture

“In the end, I must side with McCain, but not without further moral clarifications.” ~ Al Mohler

I told a friend that I think it is immoral of our country to codify and legalize torture, but that I would not necessarily be opposed to the notion of its use in war. I felt uncomfortable with that apparent contradiction, but I felt (and strongly feel) that legalizing/codifying torture is opening a pandora’s box of potential evil. Naturally, I am pleased to quote Mohler in my defense. Some people are aghast that I should have concurred with McCain and liberals on the matter of torture. Sometimes liberals are right. And Republicans are still, as Democrats, always sinners. Thus, I said in my last post on this subject that a code/law virtually empowers potentially very evil people.

Al Mohler essentially says the same thing. The way I put it in my last post was that the codifying of torture could possibly eventuate in a horrible experience for Christians who would then not even have the law, as Paul did at times, to defend them. Mohler is right: “institutionalizing torture under such a procedure would almost surely lead to a continual renegotiation of the rules and constant flexing of the definitions.” That’s my point exactly.

Mohler, of course, says it much better than I could ever dream of. He says, “hello,” with more effectiveness than I do. While I don’t agree with some nuances of Mohler’s argument. In the main, he is right (I think) to give McCain’s view on torture more time than many Bushies are prepared to do.

Some salient quotes from the article:

Instead, I would suggest that Senator McCain is correct in arguing that a categorical ban should be adopted as state policy for the U.S., its military, and its agents. At the same time, I would admit that such a policy, like others, has limitations that, under extreme circumstances, may be transcended by other moral claims. The key point is this� at all times and in all cases the use of torture is understood to be morally suspect in the extreme, and generally unjustified.

__________________________

This appears to be neither practical nor prudent, for the circumstances in which such a use of coercion might be conceived would often not allow time for such a warrant to be issued. The War on Terror is not fought on convenient terms. Furthermore, institutionalizing torture under such a procedure would almost surely lead to a continual renegotiation of the rules and constant flexing of the definitions.(emphasis mine)

___________________________

Yet, in fighting this war it is inevitable that we will look down and find dirty hands, even in doing what we would all agree is a lamentable necessity. What we must not do is compound the problem of dirty hands by adopting dirty rules.

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6 Responses

  1. Well, there we have it. Case closed. If Mohler, Dever, MacArthur, or any other hero of young fundies comes out against it, then we are against it! Hi-ho!

  2. Sir,

    I don’t even know who you are, but I have come to my conclusions even before I read Mohler’s opinion. Thus, I didn’t quote him in the first article. This has nothing to do with “young fundies” as you say.

    Please don’t comment anymore. You are unhelpful.

    Thank you.

  3. I once asked “What do the others feel about this” in a meeting and got my post-modernist speech and thought patterns rebuked.

    Thing is, many people feel quite positive about torture for a whole range of reasons. Others feel nothing about it. Others feel horrified.

    But whatever we feel if a thing is wrong it is wrong, and torture is wrong. The discussion should be conducted in the sphere of theology and especially considering the Bible’s doctrine of man.

    After that my task as a sick sinner is to have my feelings brought into line with the truth of God.

    I think Mohler’s right. In the heat of war people break the rules. But it is one thing to have good rules and to break them. It is another to have bad rules or no rules…

  4. Funny. I thought he agreed with me. 🙂

  5. I think he does. (As long as you say so). But he also agrees with me that torture should always be considered wrong from a legal standpoint. He allows that it may have to happen.

    I go a bit further than Mohler, but I’m quite happy to read that his Augustinian view of man so prevails that he cannot trust even our nation with anything but a ban on the use of torture.

  6. I’m a student of the Holocaust, so it’s been interesting to read your thoughts on torture. Last night I was thinking some horrible things can be done in self-defense, such as murder. But I wondered if torture can ever be done in self-defense? Is torture defendable? Curious.

    Also, why do you think “Christians never talk about the death penalty”? That seems to be another topic we shy away from discussing. Is it because we can never be sure if anyone guilty? And could be condemning innocent people?

    Do you have thoughts on the death penalty?

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