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Argument: Why Christians should not support torture

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  1. "Torture violates the dignity of the human being. Every inch of the human body and every aspect of the human spirit comes from God and bears witness to his handiwork. We are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28). Human dignity, value, and worth come as a permanent and ineradicable endowment of the Creator to every person.
  2. Torture mistreats the vulnerable and violates the demands of justice. In the Scriptures, God's understanding of justice tilts toward the vulnerable. "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry" (Ex. 22:21-23). Primary forms of injustice include violent abuse and domination of the powerless.
  3. Authorizing torture trusts government too much. Human beings are sinful through and through (Rom. 3:10-18). We are not to be trusted, and we are especially dangerous when in possession of unchecked power. This applies to all of us."
  4. Torture dehumanizes the torturer. Mark Bowden, a military scholar and author of Black Hawk Down, believes that sometimes torture is the right choice. Even so, he worries, "How does one allow it, yet still control it? Sadism is deeply rooted in the human psyche. Every army has its share of soldiers who delight in kicking and beating bound captives. Men in authority tend to abuse it—not all men, but many. As a mass, they should be assumed to lean toward abuse.
  5. Torture erodes the character of the nation that tortures. A nation is a collective moral entity with a character, an identity that carries across time. Causes come and go, threats come and go, but the enduring question for any social entity is who we are as a people. This is true of a family, a church, a school, a civic club, or a town. It is certainly true of a nation."

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