Making America more Christ-like, from the always goofy Agape Press:
A conservative Christian leader says the organization known as the National Religious Campaign Against Torture isn't saying anything about torture in places like North Korea, China, and Saudi Arabia -- but instead is focusing its ire upon the U.S. and the Bush administration.
Mark Tooley directs the United Methodist Committee of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), based in Washington, DC. Tooley says he has reviewed the declaration issued by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and has noted the document does not say anything about torture in places where it really occurs. That causes him to question the group's motive.
"If this group were genuinely interested in torture, of course they would be addressing those regimes that actively and deliberately do practice torture rather than focusing exclusively on the United States," he comments. He says he detects a "double standard" in the campaign against torture. "[It] is primarily a creation of the religious left and whose interest is not so much in torture, per se, but about opposing U.S. foreign policy."
While it's nice that Tooley's worried about torture in China, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea, it doesn't strike me as extremely likely that churches in the US would be able to do anything about it. The logic, it seems, is that if you can't end torture in one fell swoop, you shouldn't do anything about it at all.
Besides, Tooley misrepresents NRCAT's position. They argue that since torture and abuse is done in our name, we are responsible. From the NRCAT's Statement of Conscience:
Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions hold dear. It degrades everyone involved --policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation's most cherished ideals. Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable.
And their Mission Statement:
As men and women of faith and conscience, we are joined together on a non-partisan basis in profound opposition to torture and cruel and inhuman practices by anyone for any purpose. As United States-based organizations, we feel particular responsibility for the abusive practices being utilized by the United States government today. The United States has historically been a leader in outlawing these practices. The ever-increasing evidence, however, makes it all too clear that current grim abuses are not isolated incidents, but rather constitute a widespread pattern.
For Tooley, this represents a 'double standard'. But, to anyone who's ever been on a schoolyard, this the 'but he did it too!' defense. It's appalling that a so called 'Christian leader' would oppose a principled stance against torture.