Not a Cause for Rejoicing

One of my favorite websites is National Review Online.  Not only do they have top-notch political analysis, but they feature a number of excellent writers who are strongly pro-life and excellent promoters of Christianity and Catholicism in the public square, like Kathryn Jean Lopez.

Unfortunately, some of their contributors have a significant blind spot when it comes to torture.  I’ve written a number of times now about torture, and its absolute immorality under all circumstances (see here, here, and here, for example).  I’m not going to re-hash the arguments once again.

But now we have one of the leading defenders of the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”, including waterboarding, saying this about the results in the Massachusetts special election for U.S. Senate:

Scott Brown spoke out forcefully in favor of enhanced interrogation, and won — in Massachusetts. He said of waterboarding, “I do not believe it is torture. America does not torture . . . we used aggressive, enhanced interrogation techniques.” And his own top strategists say their polling shows his victory was not in spite of this public stance, but because of it…  [E]nhanced interrogation is not torture. It stopped terrorist attacks. And as Scott Brown’s election shows, Americans understand this — and rally to candidates who are willing to speak the truth.

In support of this contention, he cites the distressing recent polls that show a majority of Americans, and a majority of Catholics, support the use of torture — flat out torture, not just “enhanced interrogation techniques” — against people we suspect of being involved in terrorism (see my comments on those polls here).

It’s a tragedy that a majority of Americans, and perhaps now another United States Senator, think it’s a good idea to torture human beings who are made in the image and likeness of God, just because we suspect they might have knowledge of heinous acts.  That’s not a cause for rejoicing, it’s a cause for moral alarm.

Don’t get me wrong here.  I’m happy that Mr. Brown’s victory kept an ardently pro-abortion politician out of the Senate (he’s “pro-choice”, but open to some pro-life bills).  It also makes it less likely that Congress will pass one of the gravely flawed health care reform bills.

But if his victory demonstrates that Americans are even more pro-choice about torture than they are about abortion, and that politicians should take advantage of that when they campaign, then don’t expect me to show up at that victory party.

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