My suggestion is that we replace all of our "open minds, open hearts, open doors" slogans and commercials, which are completely devoid of any theological content whatsoever, and instead start using, "United Methodists Do Not Torture."As if "We don't torture" contains any theological content, but I agree 100% with the 1st part of the statement that the current slogan does not.
Here, we have been congratulating ourselves on how open-minded and tolerant we are for the past four decades. We don't care what you believe or what you do, so long as you are sincere. Well, at last, that line of thinking has come to its limits, having been exposed as a lie. There really is a conviction that we share: we don't torture. Yes, I know, that's setting the bar pretty low, but at least we have discovered there is a bar.One might be encouraged by the first two sentences, as it would appear Jonathan is coming to the realisation that liberal pluralism is a bankrupt worldview. Unfortunately, the soaring optimism comes crashing down when he then deviates into politics and morality rather than theological (ie, dealing with God) content for his "bar". As I said in comment 3 on the thread:
Well, what I'm saying is, why make your denomination's entire slogan a negative stance against ONE issue?I know that both sides of the lib/conservative debate mix their politics with religion, but I don't see any conservatives calling for making their church's Official Slogans into political statements.
Why not "United Methodists do not murder babies," or "United Methodists do not put criminals to death" or something like that? Why this one issue?
If you abandon what should be your central reason for existence - serving Jesus Christ - then God help you.
I then moved on to the topic of waterboarding, because he brought it up, linking to this article.
I parse here the fallacies point by point:
1) Moral equivocation on the subjects of the interrogation techniques. If it's bad for the enemies to do it, it's bad for us.
2) Poisoning the well by discussing extraneous and irrelevant topics:
-He told his interrogators everything they wanted to know including the truth. They rarely stopped.
-Whether the victim is allowed to comply or not is usually left up to the interrogator. Many waterboard team members, even in training, enjoy the sadistic power of making the victim suffer and often ask questions as an after thought.
-Taking a pregnant woman and electrocuting the fetus inside her? Executing a captive’s children in front of him?
No one is arguing that it's OK to inflict wanton suffering on someone. The question is whether it's permissible or even preferable to do so to obtain actionable intel to save American lives, preventing an attack.
3) Equivocation on the definition of torture.
I don't see an argument for why "painful psychological experience" - which should be stated "experience that lasts about 30 seconds, leaves no physical aftereffect and can cause painful psychological experience later in life, including fear of rain and taking a shower" - that should be defined as "torture".
4) Equivocation on who is who. As if jihadists will stop their torturous activities if we stop waterboarding.
-If you support the use of waterboarding on enemy captives, you support the use of that torture on any future American captives.
He even admits as much later in the article:
-We must now double our efforts to prepare for its inevitable and uncontrolled use of by our future enemies.
5) -Torture. Does. Not. Work.
Except when it does.
Obviously the interrogator must frame his questions carefully. No one is arguing with that.
-The torturer will trigger within the subject a survival instinct, in this case the ability to breathe, which makes the victim instantly pliable and ready to comply.
Good - I want jihadists to tell American captors actionable intel so that fewer American troops and civilians will die, don't you?
6) Further equivocation on the label of "torture" to waterboarding:
-What next if the waterboarding on a critical the captive doesn’t work and you have a timetable to stop the “ticking bomb” scenario? Electric shock to the genitals?
I wouldn't necessarily support that - it's a whole different question b/c it's serious PHYSICAL pain, of a disgusting nature, and can have physical consequences in the future.
To quote an article linked-to below, "to say that 30 seconds of waterboarding is torture trivializes the concept of torture. If that’s torture, then torture is grossly overrated."
7) Unwarranted assertions that, again, poison the well:
-It is not a far leap from torture to murder, especially if the subject is defiant.
Defiant? I thought torture doesn't work. Which is it - does it work or not?
8) Self-loathing and justifying jihadists. Why does he think America is the only bad guy here?
-Brutal interrogation, flash murder and extreme humiliation of American citizens, agents and members of the armed forces may now be guaranteed because we have mindlessly, but happily, broken the seal on the Pandora’s box of indignity, cruelty and hatred in the name of protecting America.
Amazingly, the very next sentence contradicts his point.
-To defeat Bin Laden many in this administration have openly embraced the methods of by Hitler, Pinochet, Pol Pot, Galtieri and Saddam Hussein.
I thought *WE* broke the box open, but now we hear that Hitler, Pol Pot, and Saddam did so.
You think they stopped at waterboarding (as I would argue we probably should)? And didn't they come chronologically 1st? And somehow this is America's fault?
You linked to an article, here are some more to consider from a blog that was recently discussing this very issue:
How not argue against waterboarding
On Christians and waterboarding
For your edification, as always.