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What Would Jesus Do?


Atrios and Digby wonder where all our leaders who profess to be people of faith are with regard to torture, both Democrat (Obama) and Republican (Lieberman).  The question proceeds from an assumption that people of faith should naturally be against this sort of thing, but as a Pew report tells us, it is the secularists and not the Christians who are most likely to be appalled.

On the whole torture doesn’t poll so strongly — might this have something to do with the failure of so many on both sides of the aisle to stand up to St. John McCain?  (One has to wonder at the logic of the ’08 hopefuls who are too timid to stand up to him now, and expect that we somehow won’t remember that their nerve crumbled when it really mattered.  A little demonstrable leadership would be nice).

But surprisingly (or not, as your perspective might dictate) people who identify themselves as Christians seem to be more enthusiastic about the whole idea of torture than their secular fellows.

Andrew Sullivan:

If you combine those Christians who think torture is either never or only rarely acceptable, you have 42 percent of Catholics and 49 percent of white Protestants. The comparable statistic of those who are decribed as "secular," which I presume means agnostic or atheist, is 57 percent opposition. In other words, if you are an American Christian, you are more likely to support torture than if you are an atheist or agnostic. Christians for torture: it’s a new constituency. Another part of the Bush legacy.

Until such time as someone decides it’s time to legalize pedophelia and opposition to the bill surveys like shit, I like to think we’ve hit the wall when it comes to gifting one’s conscience to the pollsters and being led around by the nose by the religious right.  

As Atrios suggests, it certainly would be nice to see Barak Obama stand on the floor of the Senate and give one of those rousing faith-based speeches he is so famous for; such leadership would certainly blunt his own critique of Democrats that they are a bunch of godless heathens and hostile to religion.   As Digby always says, it’s time to stop the Biden-esque exhortations about what Democrats should and shouldn’t be doing and actually do it.

(Hat-tip to Richard Cranium.) 

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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