Showing posts from 2014

The Bible and Torture: A follow up

I want to respond to some questions and comments on my previous post, “ The Bible and Torture .” One commenter asked, “Would you condone the torture the Catholic church inflicted on thousands? Simply because the Pope said so.” And again, “Would you condone the torture, by the army of England against those who fought for liberty here in the Revolutionary war? Would you condone torture by Abraham Lincoln against those men who fought in the south during the Civil War.” The answer to all three questions is contained in my original post, especially the part where I said, “ I want to stress that we are talking about the use of inflicting pain to extract information only in exceptional cases." Exceptional means, “forming an exception or rare instance; unusual ; extra ordinary.” (Italics added for emphasis.)  In my post I go on to give the only example I can think of. What qualifies as an exceptional case?  One in which there is an imminent threat of atta

The Bible and Torture

Introduction What is a Christian to think of torture? This question has forced itself upon us with the release last week of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques.” These EITs, as they are called, were used in the questioning of suspected terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. According to CNN, “The report found that CIA tactics were more brutal than previously known and accused the agency of keeping the Bush White House and Congress in the dark.” [1] Responses to the report have varied. Dick Cheney was unapologetic. He vigorously defended the CIA, calling the report “ a terrible piece of crap ,” while Kenneth Roth, executive director of the Human Rights Watch, called for the prosecution of senior Bush officials who authorized and oversaw the program. A number of people have raised concerns about the partisan nature of the report, its neglect of historical context , the hypocrisy of leading Democrats in con

Animal-based ethics

M any on the left often advocate the rejection of Christian sexual ethics with the argument that lifelong monogamy is unnatural. And by unnatural they mean not merely among human beings, but among animals. In their worldview, of course, man is simply an animal—a highly evolved animal, to be sure, but an animal nonetheless. And how better to gain an understanding of ourselves than to study what is “natural” in the animal world? David Barash, author of The Myth of Monogamy , tells us:   “There has been quite a revolution in scientific understanding of the lives of animals and we can learn a lot about ourselves by looking at other creatures.” [1] Presumably, Barash would take exception to Pope’s famous line, “The proper study of Mankind is Man.” Perhaps he would wish to rewrite it to something like, “The proper study of Mankind is Manimal.” Meghan Laslocky, author of The Little Book of Heartbreak:  Love Gone Wrong Through the Ages , opined for CNN, “The bottom line is that flings ar

Jurisprudence without the prudence

We have seen much in the news recently about attempts by those who call themselves the Islamic State (IS) to establish a new Caliphate—a sovereign state governing the entire Muslim world under Islamic law (Sharia), derived from the Quran and the Sunnah (the example of Muhammad). Here is an example of the “wisdom” of Quranic jurisprudence: As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty, Wise (5:38). Pardon me for not thinking this very wise. We might call it jurisprudence without the prudence. A thief, presumably, is unwilling to work for his own support. After the imposition of Sharia, he is rendered unable to work, at least not at full capacity. How, exactly, is this any better for him or for society? And l est you are tempted to think that this is an archaic penalty no longer applied, you might want to view this video , but not if you have a weak stomach. Contrast

Court Rules Founding Fathers Unconstitutional

JESTER NEWS— In a move that was widely expected among court-watchers, the Ninth District Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that reading the Founding Fathers in public schools and appealing to them in legal arguments is unconstitutional. “We have been watching this court for sometime now,” said Gary Shyster, a lawyer with the ACLU, who filed a brief in the case. “We knew that it was only a matter of time.” Christa Phobe, executive director of Hysterical Americans United for the Removal of all Traces of a Christian Past, was elated with the court’s decision. “We knew we had a strong case since the court had previously ruled against the posting of the Declaration of Independence in government buildings because of its appeal to ‘the Creator.’ If the Declaration had to go, we knew the rest of the Founding Fathers’ writings couldn’t be far behind.”  The case originated when Ima Bigot of Berkeley, California objected to an assignment her son was given in his high school government cla

Alike, Yet Different: A Wedding Sermon

The Dutch theologian, Herman Bavinck, began his short, but masterful book on   The Christian Family   by observing that   the history of the human race begins with a wedding . This is significant because marriage is one of the things that sets human beings apart from everything else that God has made. Man is unique in this relationship. He is created differently in this respect from those creatures both above and below him—that is, differently from both angels and animals—and created for different purposes, too. The animals he created by the word of his command. He literally   spoke   them into existence:    “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures,” he said, “and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens” (Gen. 1:20). And in obedience to his command, they sprang into being. “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds, livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds. And it was so” (Gen. 1:2