Sixty-eight percent of white evangelicals believe “torture of suspected terrorists” can be “often” or “somewhat” justified. This is in line with mainline Protestants (63 percent) and white Catholics (68 percent). Together, these are America’s three largest religious groups, comprising 26 percent, 18 percent, and 15 percent of the population, respectively.
Of those who said they had “no religion,” only 41 percent said torture of suspects is often or somewhat justified.
On the face of it, this would seem to score a point for the atheists. Surely, torture is one of those human activities that is, at best, ethically dubious. And yet religious people are 50 percent more likely to believe it to be often or somewhat justified. What’s up with that?
I think he tries to be fair. As much of indictment as this is of American conservative Christians in general and conservative Catholics in particular, he doesn’t take the easy route of atheist triumphalism.
But from a Catholic perspective, that certainly is no credit to us, who urge a sword in his hand and beg him to use it on us. The grotesque stain on the Church caused by anti-abortion-but-not-prolife torture zealotry has to be bleached out by repentance and the blood of the Lamb. I trust in God that it will be.