Torture is Okay, Because God Sanctioned Brutality in the Bible, Says Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association wants to make sure his listeners and readers know just how much God would approve of torture. His defense is worth noting, if only for the admissions it makes about the Bible — and how he makes them.

When discussing the holy horrors of the Bible (and other religious books), in my experience, believers generally fall into three groups — those who are ignorant of the incidents described, those who justify the incidents described, and those who prefer not think about them. The first are often surprised and either eventually wind up atheists or agnostics… or move to one of the other categories of believers. The third are the folks who respond with non-answers like, “Well, that was a different era. Nowadays…” or “God works in mysterious ways.”

The second is where religion starts getting really scary (and, for what it’s worth, the kind I grew up in): where your humanity is supposed to take a back seat to belief. No matter how depraved something is, if God did, commanded, or sanctioned it, it is entirely just, and you’ve got no business questioning it.

Bryan Fischer is one of those Christians. He acknowledges that the Bible contains some “grisly things.” He not only argues that they were just, but also that it’s okay to keep doing “grisly things.” Because if it’s okay in the Bible, it’s okay, period. To that end, he writes,

Students of Scripture are well aware of some of the grisly things done by God’s warriors in the heat of battle. Ehud, for instance, arranged a private meeting with the king of Moab and ran him through the gut with a sword until the king’s fat folded over the hilt of the sword, which Ehud left as a calling card (Judges 3). He was both an assassin and a war hero at the same time.

And the hero of the war against Sisera was Jael, who lured the commander of Sisera’s charioteers into her tent where she hammered a tent peg all the way through his skull into the ground while he napped. She is not vilified in Scripture for her brutality, she is lionized as a heroine and immortalized in song (Judges 4-5).

The left, if they had enough familiarity with the Bible to even know these stories, likely would be aghast at such behavior and be inclined to throw Ehud and Jael into Gitmo along with throat-cutting Muslims.

Now, there are a few points to note here. The first is, of all the wartime Biblical horrors Fischer might have chosen, he undoubtedly went for some of the least mortifying he could find. If God’s sanction justifies wartime “nasty business,” why not go for the really nasty ones?

Probably because good people might overlook assassination, but they’ll be less favorably inclined to overlook, say, genocide. Or capturing women for sexual exploitation. Particularly when groups like ISIS are making headlines for the same sort of behavior nowadays, and we recognize what appalling barbarity it is.

It’s also worth pointing out that, in the same sentence in which Fischer talks about “throat-cutting Muslims” in Gitmo, he implies that it is folly to “be aghast” at the wartime behaviors described in the Bible. His larger point is that we should not be upset that our government employed torture, either. Because apparently it’s perfectly okay for our side to engage in brutality… but downright appalling when the other side does it. “War is, and always has been, a nasty business,” he writes; apparently, nastier for some than others.

Fischer concludes

Perhaps this is all we need to know about today’s left: they likely would drag the Bible’s heroes before the courts at Nuremberg and charge them with crimes against humanity. Maybe the American left needs a values adjustment more than the CIA.

What is extraordinary about this whole piece is that Fischer recognizes that many of the actions depicted in the Bible would indeed constitute crimes against humanity. So what does he take issue with? The values of those who oppose crimes against humanity. Because if crimes against humanity were good enough for God, dammit, they’re good enough for us.

Which sounds spectacularly similar to the rationale the “throat-cutting” terrorists in Gitmo and elsewhere employed.

(via Right Wing Watch)

About Rachel Ford

Rachel Ford is a programmer, and since 8:00 to 5:00 doesn't provide enough opportunity to bask in screen glare, she writes in her spare time. She was raised a very fundamentalist Christian, but eventually "saw the light." Rachel's personal blog is Rachel's Hobbit Hole, where she discusses everything from Tolkien to state politics.