One of the More Grotesque Moments in our Hastily Forgotten History

…was when Bush/Cheney shill Marc Theissen actually had the temerity to say that waterboarding was a healing and liberating experience for the victims, relieving them of a sense of guilt since they were no longer morally responsible for confessing under torture.

In short, a *Catholic*, if you please, offered waterboarding as a sort of secular parody of baptism, taking away the sense of sins from its victims.  It was a sort of crowning climax in the disgusting multi-year effort by self-professed Faithful Conservative Catholics (in larger percentages than the general American population) to demonstrate their willingness to spit on the Church’s moral teaching with all the vigor of “Catholics for a Free Choice”.

I think of that exquisitely horrible moment of Thiessen’s embarrassing dump of a wheelbarrow load of incense on the altar to Divus Caesar as somebody sends me this.

And it will, make no mistake, all be back the moment the GOP returns to power, because they have not learned one thing nor expresseed the slightest regrets.  Indeed, torture is a subject of fun at CPAC:

“Oh brother, Shea. It was just a joke. Lighten up!”

Okay. Let’s make it funnier.

“If offered a choice between 70 speeches and watching my daughter be raped, I’d have to think about it.”
“If offered a choice between 70 speeches and being gassed at Auschwitz and my fillings ripped out, I’d have to think about it.”
“If offered a choice between 70 speeches and having to perform an abortion on my wife, I’d have to think about it.”

Thigh slappers, right?

Here’s the thing. In all social groups there is what is known as a “universe of discourse“. Things that are socially acceptable to think about and joke about and things that aren’t. Because conservatives acknowledge that abortion is a grave sin, they don’t joke about it. Because many abortion zealots not only support abortion, but hate God, it is within the universe of discourse for abortion zealots to chant “Hail Satan” as what they regard as a joke (and repelling everybody, including actual Satanists.

In exactly the same way, what a highly popular speaker at CPAC considers to be an in-joke speaks volumes about what your average conservative considers to be just fine and dandy. The loud and clear message is that torture is absolutely fine in the year of our Lord 2013 and the moment conversatives have the power to inflict it again they will. And Catholics like Thiessen will be right there to defend it again. The current period in history is simply a lull. And once torture is thoroughly kneaded into our consciousness as a way of “defending freedom” from external enemies, it will then be proposed as a way of dealing with internal ones (including citizens) as well.

And when the day comes that it is unleashed by post-Christian Caesar on Catholics who fought to defend it, I wonder if they will feel surprised or shame?

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