THE WAYS OF DEATH
By Paul Proctor
October 25, 2005
I just read an article from one of my favorite World Net Daily columnists, Joseph Farah, and nearly got sick to my stomach; not because he addressed the subject of torture or because he called some Christians "wimps;" but rather because, in his remarks, I saw evil raise its ugly head in the name of Christ.
Joe was responding to an article that appeared in Christianity Today by Gary A. Haugen, who had evidently presented the following question for our consideration:
"Is it ever right for Americans to inflict cruel and degrading treatment on suspected terrorist detainees?"
Now, I can't comment on Mr. Haugen's entire piece because it was apparently pulled from the CT website, maybe because of all the hostile email they received from Farah's readers - just a guess. And, there may well be things in it I wouldn't agree with myself; but, I would like to instead, respond to some of Joe's disturbing remarks.
In his article entitled, "Christian Wimps," he quotes Mr. Haugen as saying:
"We read credible reports - some from FBI agents - that prisoners have been stripped naked, sexually humiliated, chained to the floor and left to defecate on themselves," he writes. "These and other practices like 'waterboarding' (in which a detainee is made to feel as if he is being drowned) may or may not meet the technical definition of torture, but no one denies that these practices are cruel, inhuman and degrading."
I would only add that most of us have already seen many of the disgusting photos from Abu Ghraib. How that behavior or anything close to it can be viewed as acceptable to a Christian is way beyond me.
But, before I go on, let me just say; I'm no fan of the Christianity Today publication. They're theology is liberal and I'm not; and what passes for Christian conservatism these days doesn't resemble, in the least, anything taught from the Sermon of the Mount. What Farah had to say in his column might be considered "conservative" by today's carnal standards and even Christian to some; but it should never ever be viewed as Christ-like:
"Let me introduce myself: I, Joseph Farah, hereby deny that these practices are cruel and inhuman.
I would suggest that in wartime conditions, the interrogation of prisoners who may have information that could save the lives of millions may by necessity involve such practices."
If you get out your dictionary and look up the words "torture" and "interrogation," the first thing you'll notice is that they are not synonyms. The second thing you'll see is that what Haugen described in the quote, is much more consistent with the first definition than the second; but I guess in Joe's mind, calling torture, "interrogation," eases the conscience somewhat and makes the abuse of detainees more tolerable to those you wish to persuade - kind of like; it's OK to take away one's God-given rights as an American citizen as long as it's called "The Patriot Act" because it's all about saving lives, right? If that isn't a slippery slope into tyranny, I don't know what is.
If you'll notice, he goes on to try and further justify the abuse of prisoners by carefully employing the ambiguous phrase "wartime conditions" - meaning what - that we need to treat prisoners as if we were in a state of war or; that because our deployment overseas was never officially declared a war, we don't have to observe any rules of decency?
Farah: "Cruelty? Which is more cruel - a few hours of degradation for a terrorist or the annihilation of a million Americans because we did not coerce information from him about a nuclear weapon planted in an American city?"
Now, this is the kind of reasoning one expects from a liberal, not Joe Farah; resorting to relativism to make a point as if, whoever displays the least amount of cruelty in this conflict is somehow righteous. At least he finally admits that it's more than just interrogation that's going on - that the suspects are indeed being degraded; and just for the record, "degradation" isn't a synonym of "interrogation" either. Furthermore, it is important to note that the prisoner in question conveniently goes from being called a "suspected detainee" to a full-fledged "terrorist" with nuclear weapons information.
The gospel of pragmatism teaches that "the end justifies the means;" and unfortunately, in today's increasingly facilitated groupthink environment, "whatever works" is being emotionally twisted into "the Will of God;" perversely making the torture of "suspected terrorist detainees" a doable option for obtaining results, if not a patriotic duty worthy of honor and praise.
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." -- Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25
It's no secret that we go to great lengths here in America to treat convicted killers in a humane fashion even during their execution. That's why we use lethal injection, the gas chamber and devices like the electric chair; to terminate those who have been sentenced to death by due process quickly, quietly and with as little suffering as possible. One can only imagine the cruel and creative ways lives would end on death row if we had no laws, conscience, compassion or fear of God as a society. If nothing else, Abu Ghraib should serve as an unsettling reminder of what the "good guys" are capable of when left unchecked or led astray by superiors.
It's not that criminals don't deserve to suffer for their crimes. Clearly they do; and the Bible teaches that those who refuse to repent of their sins and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will suffer enormously and eternally. Christians who don't really believe God and His Word or, for whatever reason, take it upon themselves to play God by assuming an authority here on Earth they were not given, by directly or indirectly causing those they happen to dislike or oppose to suffer abuse needlessly, are clearly not being obedient to the commands of scripture and will answer for it on Judgment Day.
Even the youngest of children understand "The Golden Rule." Why then is it so hard for many Christian adults to grasp? Would you approve of the aforementioned treatment if you or someone you loved were detained as a suspect?
We don't even abuse pit bulls when they're put down for mauling a child? That's just part of being a civilized society. So, under the context of terrorism, is it now permissible to be cruel and indecent toward human "suspects" in hopes of obtaining useful information they may or may not be withholding from us?
Shall we now jettison what few remaining attributes of western civilization we hold dear?
Farah: "It seems Haugen and, perhaps, Christianity Today have their priorities screwed up. Why are they losing sleep over a hardened terrorist prisoner getting slapped around? Aren't there real injustices going on in the world that should be occupying their attention?" (Underscore added)
Wait a minute! Stop right there! He did it again. We weren't talking about "a hardened terrorist" or prisoners merely being "slapped;" we were talking about "suspected terrorist detainees." Don't forget the original question, persons and abuses Mr. Haugen cited in the quote; even though it seems, Mr. Farah, in all his "righteous indignation," would like you to.
Calling suspects "terrorists" and casually playing down their sadistic treatment by describing it, as "slapping around," is being more than a little dishonest, wouldn't you say? And, if you ask me, punishing an as yet, un-convicted detainee is about as "real" as "injustice" gets.
One would think Joseph Farah, a professing Christian and outspoken supporter of The Constitution and Bill of Rights, would realize the sinister implications of playing God by sanctioning the abuse of "suspects" and "detainees." It should also be noted here that the term "terrorist," is currently evolving into all sorts of obscure and handy meanings while the country and the church sleeps; being carefully redefined for an assortment of future applications by the powers that be.
Couple that with the new "hate speech" laws and the "salt of the earth," along with a number of patriots, will soon find themselves being detained and "interrogated" for "the sake of peace," "the war on terrorism," "the good of the country," "national security," etc, etc, etc, you pick one�
Isn't it funny how tyranny is only tyranny when someone else is in power?
If, God forbid, Hillary Clinton or someone like her gets elected president in 2008 and declares by Executive Order that Bible-believing Christian fundamentalists are all potential "terrorists," which, by the way, really isn't that much of a stretch, thereby making them official "suspects" worthy of interrogation, detention and more; many could end up not only being incarcerated but also tortured or worse under a Nazi-like notion that she is carrying out God's Will!
That includes YOU TOO, Joe�
"�the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." -- John 16:2
Rabble-rousers like Farah are not new to Christianity. There were zealots during the time of Jesus' earthly ministry who tried in all their misguided anger and outrage to get our Lord and His followers onboard their revolution against Rome; but He would have none of it because The Almighty had another agenda.
In fact, Jesus rebuked one of His own who, in all his zeal, momentarily forgot his place and strayed from the Word of God to try and impose his own will and do what he thought was right. When the Lord told his disciples that He must suffer, be rejected and killed, Peter rebuked Him saying: "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee," to which Jesus responded:
"Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men." -- Mark 8:33
Mr. Farah would do well to consider these words from the One he calls His Lord and Savior, especially if he still plans on "Taking America Back."
Being a disciple of Christ is certainly not easy because we are commanded to set ourselves aside, along with our desires, agendas, appetites and ambitions to conform to God's Will. There is no room for pride, pragmatism, compromise or a herd mentality. That means we are always swimming upstream. When we refuse to do that, even for a "good cause;" in the eyes of God, we make ourselves part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." -- Isaiah 55:8-9
� 2005 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved
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Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print.
E-Mail: [email protected]�
...I guess in Joe's mind, calling torture, "interrogation," eases the conscience somewhat and makes the abuse of detainees more tolerable...