The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Poll:treatment of suspected terrorists justified/unjustified

All in all, do you think the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists was justified or unjustified?

  • I’m a Universalist & I think it’s justified
  • I’m a Universalist & I think it’s unjustified
  • I’m not a Universalist & I think it’s justified
  • I’m not a Universalist & I think it’s unjustified

0 voters

Please take a moment to answer this poll - I want to compare it to another poll, not start an argument over what is the better view.

Also running poll here: … ?qa_ref=qd

Here’s where I got the idea - the apparent, general correlation, between non-UR & thinking torture is justified, is disturbing… :confused: … story.html

Alex - an interesting poll. However, the OP did not mention ‘torture’ - the poll question was about ‘treatment’ of suspected terrorists.
I don’t want to start that argument, either :confused: - just pointing out the obvious, that the wording of a polling question does in large part drive the answers.

But as I said, interesting. I think the correlation may be specious however.
Thanks for an interesting thought-starter. :smiley:

I agree wording does influence polls. So that we could compare the results to the Washington Post poll, I used their wording… Given all the news coverage lately, most of it reporting the CIA used torture (even some officials saying the CIA were justified to use torture), I think it’s most likely the CIA did use torture :neutral_face:

Here is a more detailed breakdown of a similar poll they did. The majority of Evangelicals think torture is justified, whereas the majority of Universalists don’t. Given many of the Universalists here & on Facebook are of the Evangelical variety, it seems to me that becoming a Universalist generally decreases one’s acceptance of any torture (although without knowing EUs’ views before they became EUs, it’s only a theory).

The definition of torture in this country is very ambiguous. I don’t give much credence to a poll that doesn’t define what it means by torture. Our press has been known to identify things like forced listening to music the hearer doesn’t like as bonafide torture. While I realize that can be very unpleasant, I honestly wouldn’t define it as torture. Maybe if it were played at top volume, all hours, depriving sleep, it might hedge over the boundary, but if I had to choose between that and having toothpicks pounded into my nail beds, I guess I’d try to learn to appreciate the music.

I haven’t been following the controversy and don’t know a lot about it. If I had been following it, I’m guessing I still wouldn’t know much about it. I disapprove of torture classically defined, though it’s hard to pin down a boundary between what is permissible to save relatively innocent lives and what is not, I do think there’s a boundary we must not cross. It’s important to remember though, that in a situation in which a would-be killer is discomfited in order to save the lives of helpless people, I think it’s important to save those lives.

I don’t know how much background was available to you, Alex, but in case you weren’t aware . . . While the question of torture stands alone on its own merits, the release of this information at this time by people who knew and approved the use of whatever the interrogation methods were, is to say the least, HIGHLY politically motivated.

Compared to Saddam’s giving prisoners ‘colonoscopies’ with a red-hot iron rod, or the recent decapitating of children or crucifying them, or killing 3000 Americans (ultimate torture?) in 9/11 - comparing those methods to the CIA causing extreme discomfort with no bodily injuries - I think it is a stretch to call both scenarios ‘torture.’ But for some people they are on the same level.
It’s hard for those that live in Australia/NZ etc to realize how much of the ‘news’ they get from the States is nothing more than advocacy journalism - in other words, not journalism at all. (This is not accuse anyone here on the Forum, or of Aussies etc. of not being 'well-read - far from it! Read on…)) This became very apparent to me during the early days of ObamaCare, when good people that I knew ‘down under’ became extremely angry with me because I was mis-representing what they thought, based on their reading, was the real ObamaCare, which they saw as a wonderful step forward for the poor in America, when in fact it was obvious from the beginning that we were being lied to on a massive scale, and that helping the poor was not the driving force behind the law, it was a sheer and utter power-mongering based on an anti-colonialism ideology with a big helping of Marx. But those truths were NOT published overseas.
Politics - I just have learned to really dislike the process immensely.

I digress, as usual. I blame the media here in the USA for their complicity in activity of tearing down America, though by Grace they may not be successful.

Alex - if this is just too far off, I’ll be glad to remove it. No sleep in a couple of days probably explains the rant. :blush:

Yes, there are certainly a diversity definitions of torture, which makes this topic more complicated, as does the politics & media reporting of the situation :neutral_face: The definition of “suspected” influences the discussion too (e.g. it could mean they are 99% sure they have a terrorist or it could mean they are 1% sure).

Anyway, thanks for the feedback, I’ll try to be more careful with my comments :slight_smile: Hope you get some sleep, as sleep deprivation is torture.

Alex - I certainly wasn’t chiding you or your remarks - they were not directed at you. You’re a smart guy. :smiley:
I was referring to people that I actually know and have talked with, who think using harsh language on a prisoner is no different that the red hot pipe. That is a very slight exaggeration.
I’m the one that needs to be careful of my remarks, not you. Especially since I am under enhanced stress i.e., the curse of the men in my family, who don’t sleep for beans… :frowning:


This is (may be?) a different poll question from, “Do you think the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists was ever unjustified?”

Someone could answer justified to the first question (in the sense of yes overall or generally the treatment was justified) yet answer no to the second (except sometimes in particular cases where the interrogators or jailers went too far).

The term “treatment” is far more broad than “interrogation”, too. Many suspected terrorists were held in fairly comfortable prison facilities and never given any enhanced interrogation techniques (regardless of whether any such methods could be regarded as torture, and regardless of whether any such torture was justified or unjustified in principle or in particular cases). On the other hand, my understanding (which could be wrong, I’m not sure) is that most or even all suspects were semi-permanently imprisoned without trial and treated in other highly irregular ways, against principles we have as a nation generally agreed ought to protect the rights of criminals even if they’re guilty but especially if they turn out to be innocent after all. In effect they were treated as guilty until legally proven innocent instead of the other way around – or that’s the impression I’ve gotten.

So there could be legitimate differences and dispute over the treatment (all in all) without focus on the interrogation treatments in particular.

As a Green Party liberal, and a seminarian in our Evangelical Universalist tradition, I feel that torture used by our government is criminally unjust, contrary to the example of our risen Lord and flies in the face of our supposed national values. Jesus taught us to resist not evil, Paul told us to overcome evil not with more evil but to overcome evil by good. If we believe God to be our Universal Father, and Jesus to be the Savior of all humanity, then we must seek to honor the imago dei (divine image) and light in each person and to see the face of our Lord on each person. Nobody is beyond redemption. Retribution, fear, punishment all come from an imperfect love but God’s perfect love casts out all fear.

If we want to bring an end to terrorism in this day and age, I believe, that the American government should stop overthrowing democratically elected governments, stop providing military training and weapons to rebel groups, and withdraw troops from not just Afghanistan or Iraq but all around the world. Let us actually live out our professed values of peace, justice, and liberty for all people and lead by example. Our Lord was tortured by crucifixion at the hands of a despotic empire, the Romans and yet so many of our brothers and sisters grovel at the altars of Empire and nationalism? This is just sick. Jesus weeps.

AllSoulsInGod, awesome response! I totally agree and I’m not even a Green party Liberal. I’m a libertarian Republican. Isn’t it great that in Christ we believe love triumphs over everything? Torture and American imperialist policies are baaaaaad.

I’m a Universalist & I think it’s unjustified.

  1. Jesus did not actually teach US not to resist evil - He was warning his fellow Jews about the danger they were posing to the Roman Empire, and to be careful they did not unnecessarily goad that empire. They did anyway, and A.D. 70 happened because of it (and other factors as well). We must remember who He was talking to, and when, and under what circumstances. And also what words are actually used and what they mean to that audience at that time.

  2. The hundreds of girls kidnapped by Boko Haran - to be used as sex slaves - should they have resisted evil? If they were Christian girls?

  3. Evil left unresisted? I tremble to think what would happen if the U.S. (or any country) had NO defense against aggressors. It is the height of naivete for anyone to think (and I’m not saying anyone here thinks this) that unregenerate groups of hate-filled people would not ravish, pillage, etc. the entire world.

  4. Liberty must be fought for. That is a fact. Evil in the world - and by that I mean evil people - exists, that is a fact also. Evil unchecked breeds more evil and that is a fact also.

I’m not defending all the policies of the U.S., but I am grateful we have a strong defense - though that could crumble at any time and perhaps that would gladden some people - for a brief time, that is, until the world bore the fruit of not having sufficient strength to resist the terrible times that would ensue. $.02

By all means let us live our confession - to be wise as serpents, innocent as doves.

Sorry if I sounded ‘preachy’. :blush: