Op-Ed

Guffey: You call this a Christian nation?

By Roger Guffey

When Mel Gibson released his sadistic snuff film, The Passion of the Christ, Christians were moved to tears by the horrible torture Christ endured.

I wonder how they would have reacted if Christ's torture included waterboarding, since so few of them in this country are upset about former President George W. Bush admitting he authorized it for terrorism suspects. This from a man who started the Iraq war to depose a dictator accused of torturing people.

Waterboarding is torture and is explicitly forbidden by the Geneva Convention, the United States Army Interrogation Manual and by governments and human rights groups around the world. When Mancow Muller, the conservative radio host who had ridiculed the idea that waterboarding was torture, submitted to the procedure, he lasted all of six seconds before changing his mind. The U. S. executed Japanese soldiers who were found guilty of using it in World War II. Torture is wrong whether the victim is Jesus Christ, a Muslim or Joe Blow down the street.

Some claim the torture of Christ was acceptable because it was part of the grand plan. Oddly, Jesus did not seem too keen on this grand plan, as we learn in Mark 14:36: "Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me."

Also, the torture inflicted upon Christ yielded nothing that could be used against him as we learn in Isaiah 53:7: "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth." All four gospels confirm this account of Jesus' trial.

Overwhelming evidence tells us torture does not work. Bush's FBI director, Robert Mueller, admitted he knew of no instance of a terrorist plot being foiled by information obtained by torture. Women in Salem, Mass., confessed to being witches to make the pain stop. Intelligence agencies around the world regard information obtained by torture as unreliable. If if worked, why was it necessary to waterboard Sheik Khalid Mohammed 183 times in one month?

In 28 years as a teacher, I heard a constant harangue about the abysmal behavior of today's youth. Young people learn their social and moral values from the older generation. What lesson will they learn when a former president, once the world's most powerful man, brags about torturing people and says he would do it again? This is not a conservative, liberal, Republican or Democratic issue. It's about the moral values on which this country was founded.

As a Christian, I subscribe to the principle spoken by Christ in Matthew 25:40. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

I believe all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. I am not so naive as to think the current administration has the political will to prosecute the previous administration for war crimes. Nor do I expect people will cry out for justice for those who were tortured. I do not expect proponents of waterboarding will change their opinions.

All I ask is that these same people quit referring to the United States as a Christian nation. As judged by Christ's standards, we are not even close.

Roger Guffey of Lexington is a retired math teacher.

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