In my attempt to show that being religious is not a guarantee of moral behavior,this post is a part of my series of reports featuring the bad behavior of religious people, past or present....Look for other posts showing the bad behavior perpetrated by members of other religious groups.
A recent survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that the more Americans attend church, the more likely they are to support the use of torture. Those unaffiliated with a religious group were the least likely to support torture.
Among the religious, evangelicals were the most likely to support torture, while mainline Protestants were the least likely.
That reminds me of something writer Anne Lamott said: "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."
I doubt that most people would condone the torture of one of our own citizens by a foreign country no matter what the person has done, but when a group has a collective hatred toward another group because they oppose us in a war, are of a different faith, culture, nationality or race, then religious people assume God hates all the same people they do ---and if God hates them, of course they must deserve to be tortured.
The survey did not determine why more religious people support torture than non-religious people, but my guess is because, like the God of the Old Testament, they want to see people suffer who do not believe as they do.
What concerns me a great deal is that of all groups surveyed, including the non-religious, the highest percentage of people who think torture can never be justified was only 31% (mainline Protestants) and the lowest 15% (evangelical Christians.) Of those who seldom or never attend religious services, only 26% chose the never justified option. (Choices were: torture against suspected terrorists can often, sometimes, rarely, or never be justified, with the option to also choose don't know/refused.)
I wish I had more information on how people thought about torture in the past. After WWII, when German and Japanese concentration and POW camps were in the news, I would guess that a higher percentage of Americans would have been philosophically against torture, because during the war it had been directed against people somewhat like us, instead of people who look and think differently than the majority of American citizens.
I have moved
(which was formerly a part of this post)
to a separate post.
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