Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pew Poll on Churchgoers and torture

Nuts to this poll! I don't think it "proves" much of anything about church going and torture.

In a nutshell: The Pew Research Center surveyed 742 adult Americans. The poll analyzed "white evangelicals, white non-Hispanic Catholics, white mainlines Protestants, and the religiously unaffiliated" ...

First off, the sample size is ridiculously small compared to a population of 300 million plus people.

And from that small sample, the Pew Research Center found that "White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified -- more than 6 in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only 4 in 10 of them did."

Those who attended religious services at least once a week -- 54 percent -- thought "the use of torture against suspected terrorists is 'often' or 'sometimes' justified. Only 42 percent of those who 'seldom or never' go to services agreed."

From what I've read, some of my friends believe this proves something: like the more religious a person is, the least moral that person is.

Maybe. I think much more extensive research is needed before one can draw that conclusion, however.

What really cranks my gears is that anyway you look at it, we've got too damn many people in this country who don't have a problem with torturing the "enemy." How can this be? Torture is not only illegal in the United States and has been "officially" illegal for over a hundred years, but the ideals we espouse preclude the use of torture.

Other countries, under despicable dictators, may torture their perceived enemies, but not the United States. When our soldiers were tortured in World War II and Vietnam, the American people went ballistic! As Americans, we stand against torture. WE are different! WE don't believe in cruel and unusual punishment! WE don't torture! WE are the humane ones! WE are people under the law and the Constitution!

So, what's happened?

Be damned if I know, but eight years under the criminality of the Bush/Cheney gang may well have twisted the easily twistable minds of the rank and file who seem to have a hard time thinking clearly under the best of conditions.

It's getting hard to recognize this country that I once loved and at one time was proud of! And to all the so-called "patriots" who take issue with that statement, I say "Go to hell." I'm not proud of my country simply because it's my country. I'm proud of my country when it behaves in humane ways and when it reflects the values and ideals represented in our founding documents.

When Barry Goldwater ran for president, his supporters plastered bumper stickers on their pickups which read, "My country, right or wrong!"

Wrong! If my country is right, OK. If my country is wrong, not OK. Wrong needs to be righted!

[It might be helpful to remember that Goldwater was buried in a landslide in 1964!]

I cannot be proud of a country that has become known for its illegal actions and for signing statements whereby a president proclaims he'll obey the law only if he feels like it.

That's why President Obama needs to bring action against those involved in torture. He needs to ensure they are brought before the bar of justice. They need to be tried by a jury of their peers. Torture, which is illegal, they have admitted to. They've confessed. If they must spend time in prison, so be it.

Then we can all be proud of our country once again. And the next president, and the one after that, and the one after that, etc., will know that if he or she breaks the laws of these United States, he or she will be held accountable!

1 comment:

Bob Poris said...

I think we fool ourselves when we say we are a nation of laws. It is obvious that many do not either know the laws or feel if they disagree with a law we can ignore it. Studies have found that few know what the Constitution actually says.

Others disagree with the Bill of Rights, when told they are simply proposals. Other throw words and terms around with no regard for their meaning. We have failed to educate our electorate in Civics, government, law, etc. We are falling behind as a nation in education, health care, etc. Our schools still do not teach well enough and little change has taken place over more than thirty years, in spite of huge sums of money and experimentation. We had better find a way to educate our kids in science and math plus reading and writing.

opinions powered by