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"Gobsmacked"

I haven't used the word "gobsmack" in a sentence ever, till now.

Here goes. I am "gobsmacked" at what issues the Church as a whole chooses to speak out on, and the issues that it chooses to be mostly silent on.

Here is a key, key, key one that I feel very passionately about:

We are at a critical window, a time when our culture is deciding how to define the lowest low end, the bare minimum expected ethical treatment of political and military prisoners. In essence, we are defining what we as Americans is and isn't torture.

It astonishes me that the Christian voice is not more clearly vocal here.

Especially when Jesus himself spoke very directly about our treatment of prisoners as a specific metric to our relationship to Him. In a parable Jesus talks about the end of time, when those right with God ask Him:

'When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

And the King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

That is pretty serious stuff. Whatever we do to our prisoners we have done to Jesus. To me, that needs to be the baseline on the Christian communities voice on this matter.

I'm further gobsmacked (see how I worked that word in again) by the Church's mostly silence, since this isn't even a partisan issue. It doesn't land as a "liberal" or "conservative" issue.

Republicans like Senators John McCain, Chuck Hagel and almost every other senator has voted for language clearly defining torture, forbiding "cruel and inhumane or degrading" treatment and limiting interrogation techniques to what is in the official Army manual. This passed 90-9 in the Senate.

But this language (which was attached to a military spending bill) has been threatened to be vetoed by the Whitehouse and has been actively lobbied against by the Vice President. Cheney is seeking an exemption be added by the House to allow the CIA to practice "cruel and inhumane" treatment that goes beyond the army field manual.

One exception to the Christian silence on the matter is Sojourners. There may well be others, I hope so. If so, please post to the comments.

Here is an online petition from Sojourners on this topic to Speaker of the House Hastert that I recommend you check out and seriously consider signing...

-- Tim

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