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More on God and torture

I thank Mr. Green for his response to my question about the relationship of belief in God to human use of torture. Every paragraph framed this answer: God OKs torture. But all of his theological references seem to keep him from explicitly writing...

I thank Mr. Green for his response to my question about the relationship of belief in God to human use of torture. Every paragraph framed this answer: God OKs torture. But all of his theological references seem to keep him from explicitly writing these words. If this is his prescription for what ails me, I respectfully decline.

The cornerstone of Green's argument is, "Waterboarding of the mastermind of 911 was directly responsible for the demise of Osama bin Laden." This unqualified claim came out of the Bush administration in 2006. But Sen. John McCain soundly rebutted this in 2011 Senate testimony based on information he received from CIA Director Leon Panetta: "All we learned about Abu Ahmed through the use of waterboarding and other 'advanced interrogation techniques' against Khalid Sheik Mohammed was the confirmation of the already known fact that the courier existed and used an alias." The recent Senate report substantiated McCain's testimony. Mr. Green rejects both.

Mr. Green presents Bonhoeffer as if he easily justified attempts to assassinate Hitler upon his learning of Auschwitz, etc. This would be far from the truth. Bonhoeffer spoke and worked vigorously against Hitler's election in 1933. The failure of Germany to follow his lead led to the final ethical dilemma: Is a responsible person with this knowledge less guilty by not trying to stop this man than by resorting to assassination?

This ethical question does not justify torture. It evolved from a distant root cause: Germany's election of a leader who believed in torture. Much better had the nation followed Bonhoeffer's "one sphere" Christian ethics from the start, rather than " ... gathered like eagles around the carcass of cheap grace to drink the poison that killed the life of following Christ."

Dick Peterson

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