Now that the Torture Report is out and we are discovering that the lies we listened to for so long (We only waterboarded three high value targets! We had to do it to save lives! Valuable intel! Are you telling me that some filthy terrorist is more important than an unborn baby in your sick twisted liberal mind?) are all exposed as appalling lies, it’s important to do an examination of conscience. Why? Because we Catholics consistently supported torture in larger percentages then the average American population. And the more we self-described as “faithful conservative” and “prolife” the more likely we were to do so. God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of us. (Romans 2:24)
We defended the torture of innocents (indeed people who were on our side).
We defended standing on the broken legs of prisoners (something out of a Gestapo or SS scene in a movie).
We defended drowning.
We defended dungeons and putting prisoners at the mercy of interrogators known to be psychologically unstable and having a history of violence.
We defended forcing prisoners with broken feet to stand in stress positions.
We defended non-stop torture for days and weeks.
We defended 180 hours of sleep deprivation.
We defended “forced rectal feeding” (aka “anal rape and humiliation”) that consisted of ramming hummus up the anuses of helpless prisoners.
We defended refusal to treat bullet wounds and neglect leading to the loss of eyes.
We defended dragging shackled, naked prisoners around around blindfold and beating them.
We defended keeping prisoners in total darkness with only a bucket for their waste.
We defended a system that had no clear idea who it was imprisoning and torturing.
We defended a system that derived no intelligence to stop terrorist attacks, and that used gruesome torture to get information we could have obtained by conventional means, while generating lots of false intel from prisoners who said anything to make the pain stop. That false intel meant millions spent on wild goose chases.
We defended a system that got its torture techniques from the Commies we used to fight, not imitate.
We defended a system that mainly served to enrich contractors and shrinks who told it what it wanted to hear.
We defended a system that lied to its own superiors.
We–WE PROLIFERS–cheered for a system that “threatened to harm detainees’ children, sexually abuse their mothers, and “cut [a detainee’s] mother’s throat.’ In addition, several detainees were led to believe they would die in custody, with one told he would leave in a coffin-shaped box.
Detainees wouldn’t see their day in court because “we can never let the world know what I have done to you,” one interrogator said.
We defended sexual assaults on prisoners by interrogators.
And all the while we did it, we offered an immense menu of Ticking Time bomb scenarios, garbage sophistries, and “what if?” fantasies about bombs under orphanages, all carefully designed to distract us from the reality of what we were defending by reinforcing our fear and rage. We told ourselves we were fighting an inhuman enemy that justified using any means necessary. And we became the monsters we feared.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2298) teaches: “Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.” When an interrogator treats his captor in a degrading manner, the human dignity of both men is violated; by treating his subject as something less than human, the captor becomes something less than human himself.
Defenders of the “enhanced interrogation” techniques say that it was necessary to put extra pressure on terrorist suspects, to extract important information that would save the lives of innocent people. That is a powerful, practical argument. But is it true? Expert interrogators question that premise.
A tortured prisoner might blurt out… anything. He may tell the truth, or he may say whatever he thinks his questioner wants to hear, whether it is true or not. Under extreme duress, he might not even know whether he is telling the truth or not; when pushed beyond their endurance, most people become lesscapable of speaking intelligently.
Even if it were true that torture could induce prisoners to give more accurate information, that would not be enough to justify an intrinsically evil act. Some defense experts claim that “enhanced interrogation” helped to ward off terrorist attacks. That is, to be sure, a powerful practical argument. But practical arguments are not enough to justify an intrinsically immoral act. How many women, finding themselves in difficult pregnancies, can make powerful practical arguments in favor of abortion?
A moral end does not justify an immoral means.
He too has more. You should click the link and read it all.
The part of us that believes the ends justify the means is the part of us that needs exposure to the gruesome details that are now coming to light because let there be little doubt.
We are losing our humanity.
By the way, because I know some might wonder, Mark has an older post up that helps define the word torture, for those who might be prone to ask. I used to go there myself, thinking that torture could be defined in such a way as to minimize what torture might actually be. Again, the Church is clear on what it is. Read Mark's post.
“You just can’t say that, just as you can’t say that all Christians are fundamentalists. We have our share of them (fundamentalists). All religions have these little groups,” he said.
“They (Muslims) say: ‘No, we are not this, the Koran is a book of peace, it is a prophetic book of peace’.”
Not at all the same thing. He’s not saying the Koran is a prophetic book or that it is a book of peace, just that Muslims say it is.
I would not be at all surprised if Francis thinks the Koran is a “book of peace,” because there are elements of peace in Islam. It’s simply foolish and reductionist to measure an entire faith by its worst elements, even when the worst elements are pretty bad. That’s what our enemies do to us. We shouldn’t then turn around and do it to others. A critique must be both honest and generous. With Islam, violence is baked right in the cake, but so is charity and devotion to God as well. Whatever we think of it, we have to consider the real thing, not a caricature.
More problematic is the, Hey we all have our nuts, amIright? comment from Francis. Christian fundamentalists are tacky and stupid and annoying, but only very rarely violent.
When a Christian goes fundie, you get Jack Chick and bad music and, sometimes, Eric Robert Rudolph.
When a Muslim goes fundie, you get the armies of ISIS, 9/11, jihad, beheadings, Jew-hate, and the destruction of civilizations.
Of the two faiths, one has tendency to violence and extremism that is rooted in elements of the faith itself, while the other does not. It’s a false equivalence.
On his in-flight press conference returning from a three-day trip to Turkey, Pope Francis said that Muslim leaders around the world must speak out against violence and terrorism carried out in the name of Islam.
“I believe sincerely that it can’t be said that all Muslims are terrorists. You can’t say that. Just as you can’t say that all Christians are fundamentalists because we have them too, eh. In all religions, there are these little groups,” he said Nov. 30.
“I told the (Turkish) president that it would be nice if all the Muslim leaders, whether political leaders or religious leaders or academic leaders, say that clearly and condemn it, no?” he continued, explaining that “all of us need a worldwide condemnation, also from Muslims who have the identity who say ‘We aren’t that. The Quran isn’t that’.”
The Pope also offered a firm warning on the situation of Middle East Christians.
“Truly, I don’t want to use sweetened words. Christians are being chased out of the Middle East. Sometimes, as we have seen in Iraq, the area of Mosul, they have to go away and leave everything, or pay the tax which doesn’t do any good.”
Speaking of broader violence throughout the world, Pope Francis said he believes “that we are living through a third world war, a war in pieces, in chapters, everywhere.”
In addition, Pope Francis spoke about a particularly intense moment of prayer he had during the papal trip.
He explained that he came to Turkey “as a pilgrim, not as a tourist,” and “the main reason was the feast today to share it with Patriarch Bartholomew, a religious reason.”
“But then, when I went into the mosque, I couldn’t say, ‘No, now I’m a tourist.’ No, it was all religious,” he said. “I saw those marvels, also the Mufti explained the things well to me with so much meekness, with the Quran where it spoke of Mary and John the Baptist. And he explained it all to me and in that moment I felt the need to pray. And, I said to him, ‘Shall we pray?’ And he said, ‘Yes, yes.’ I prayed for Turkey, for peace, for the Mufti, for everyone, for myself because I need it. And, we truly prayed. And, I prayed especially for peace. Lord, let’s end wars. It was like that. It was a moment of sincere prayer.”
He also spoke about his visit with refugee children and said that he would like to go to Iraq.
“For the moment it isn’t possible. It’s not that I don’t want to go, but if I went right now it would cause a quite serious problem for the authorities, for security. But, I would really like to and I want to,” he said.
I'm seeing some Catholics bash the Pope's trip and of course, the Pope himself, whether it be over his meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew but particularly over his trip to the Blue Mosque and of course, certain fundamentalists are claiming that this is THE evidence to end all evidence proving the Pope is the anti-Christ.
In the meantime, I'm sticking to the most Catholic notion that God's Holy Spirit has brought us this Pope, for this time, for sound reason(s) and sounder purpose(s) and I'm going to trust in His providence and not in what amounts to gossip fueled by ego and ignorance.
"It is manifestly most unreasonable that intelligent men should be divided upon the absurd modern principle of regarding every clever man who cannot make up his mind as an impartial judge, and regarding every clever man who can make up his mind as a servile fanatic. As it is, we seem to regard it as a positive objection to a reasoner that he has taken one side or the other. We regard it (in other words) as a positive objection to a reasoner that he has contrived to reach the object of his reasoning. We call a man a bigot or a slave of dogma because he is a thinker who has thought thoroughly and to a definite end."
“The new compassion that has crept into our courts and into our literature and drama is the compassion for the breakers of the law, for the thieves, the dope fiends, the murderers, the rapists. This false compassion for the criminal and the readiness to blame the law and the police, has passed from the ‘sob-sisters’ to black –robed justices who, fearful of restraining a liberty turned into license, pardon the mugger and ignore the mugged.”
A video of an emotional Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn decrying community activists on the night a 5-year-old girl was shot in her home is being drawn into a social media argument about crime and race with some describing Flynn as a “hero cop”... and others blasting that characterization.
The recording garnered nearly 600,000 views Wednesday on YouTube and hundreds of thousands since as bloggers tied the racial disparities described by Flynn to the race-related tensions revealed by the August police shooting in Ferguson, Mo.
Journal Sentinel reporter Ashley Luthern recorded the video earlier this month at the first meeting of a police oversight panel after Flynn fired police officer Christopher Manney, who shot and killed Dontre Hamilton in April. The night of the meeting, a 5-year-old girl was shot and killed in a Milwaukee house while sitting on her grandfather's lap.
At one point during the meeting, members of the audience criticized Flynn for looking at his phone. Flynn said he was trying to keep up with developments in the girl’s shooting and later took on those critics in a press conference recorded by Luthern.
Police departments across the country have been under increasing scrutiny, some of it arguably justified, most of it nothing more than the result of community agitators doing what community agitators do to keep themselves relevant and in power. Police Chief Flynn is seeing through the charade.
Why do weddings still move us? We do not become emotional when business partners strike a deal. We shed no tears at a friendly handshake. We feel no such joy to hear of “casual” mating.
A wedding is different. Here stand a man and woman, entering together into a new life.
And yet it is more than this. They are about to enter the generations. Their union proclaims life: their parents and grandparents still live within them. Humankind lives within them. The cultures and creeds of the world live within them. They are there—in the blood. Those bearing witness know this truth. They too have been born from a union of man and woman.
See the grandmother who looks on, now frail. She was once that bride, and the memory of her own mother and father dwells within her still.
See the brother who welcomes guests—he will one day be that bridegroom, and he too will enter in a new way the long history into which he was born.
See their friends and neighbors. They are more essential than any might guess. For it is they who will help make this marriage flourish. Their investment will return to them, for marriage is a cup that runs over.
See the mother of the bridegroom, hugging her son amid smiles and tears. He was once a helpless baby whom she nursed at the breast. Now he stands tall above her, and his voice is deep, and his shoulders broad. She remembers his birth. He who was once her child will one day be a father.
See the father of the bride, holding her by the hand. He recalls when her mother bore her, and he envisions in her what is so hard to believe, the mother-to-be. She is the bearer of a future. She is irreplaceable.
See man and woman together. They are not just two people. He is for her, and she for him; it is inscribed in their bodies. Their union will bring life that binds and mingles families, encourages faith to flourish, and brings humankind and the world’s diverse cultures to flower again.
Both are eager to undertake their new responsibilities—their gift of self to the other—and think little about what is owed them. They know nothing yet of the difficulty of the years ahead, only of their desire to travel it together.
It is hard now to speak of such obvious and beautiful things, but they are there. All the witnesses know it. It is the music of man and of woman. Man with woman brings out the finest in him, directing his blood and his mind toward what makes life possible; and woman with man brings out the finest in her, directing her love and her care toward what makes life sweet.
Today, however, the homes that marriage makes are exposed to an army of distractions, and to the thief and the enemy who comes to steal and destroy. Weddings are rarer and children fewer. Where poverty erodes, marriage feels out of reach. Where war afflicts, families are crushed. Anywhere marriage recedes, we lose the transcendent and material goods that all human beings should enjoy.
And we too are at fault, for when marriages are exposed to the wind and the rain, we have paid little attention. When the needs of children succumb to the wishes of adults, we have often remained silent. Love is reduced to a consumer item, an airbrushed image, or a slogan to export. It will not work. We will not flourish.
For marriage is no mere symbol of achievement, but the very foundation—a base from which to build a family and from there a community. For on earth marriage binds us across the ages in the flesh, across families in the flesh, and across the fearful and wonderful divide of man and woman, in the flesh. This is not ours to alter. It is ours, however, to encourage and celebrate.
And so it is that we rejoice at weddings.
This we affirm.
This is a powerful, dare I say counter-cultural, statement of affirmation, one that will not likely get much air time, much exposure unless you dear reader do your part to share and disseminate it.