The Eclectic Quill

May 27, 2009

Would Jesus “Do” Waterboarding

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 4:03 pm

Two of the biggest things in the news at the moment offer an intriguing perspective on the Republican Party. First as Obama has nominated for his first Supreme Court pick, Sonia Sotomayor the debate heats up over whether she is going to "legislate from the bench" we all know the real debate is whether she is going to be judging based on a particular segments religious beliefs and that it has nothing to do with legislating or the constitution. Second there’ been a great deal of conversation about the subject of waterboarding lately and whether or not that constitutes "torture, a practice advocated by the same folks who oppose, or will oppose the nomination of Sotomayor based on their religious beliefs.." It surprises this blogger that no one points out the inherent conflict in these two positions. On the one hand they trumpet their opposition to things like abortion and gay marriage based on their biblical beliefs; on the other they ignore other biblical charges such as "love your enemies" as the advocate for torturing their enemies instead. One has to wonder, as they put on their WWJD bracelets if they’ve ever asked themselves the fundamental question, "Would Jesus "do" waterboarding? "

Normally on my blog I like to gather the facts and just present an argument, here though the discussion is not so much about facts, as it is an observation. The facts themselves are relatively self evident so I won’t spend a lot of time establishing them, I’ll just state them. The Christian right is set on seeing their values established on the entire nation, and perhaps even the entire world. Have you ever noticed something about the thing the things they are always pushing though tend to have more to do with regulating other people’s conduct more than their own? They want to make sure that other people follow their principles. Whether its abortion, abstinence only education, outlawing gay marriage or civil unions, or what kind of books we’re allowed to have in public libraries, they seem far more concerned with what other people do wrong than what they do or advocate doing that is wrong.

Now I want it to be understood, I agree with them morally on most of these issues, but I disagree that my private beliefs are somehow of enough more importance than anyone else’s that it means that they should be legislated. I am a Christian, and a very sincere one at that. I find it interesting when people have questioned the validity of my faith based on my disagreement with them on the political front, as it demonstrates to me that in doing so how much the conflation damages the perception of what the Christian faith actually is. It’s a faith which is established not on the premise that we need to impose our morals on others, but rather that we, having sin, are in need of salvation. I bring this up because it begs the question, why would people whose entire belief structure is based on the notion that they can’t keep a certain moral code want to legislate it on those who don’t even have the same belief structure. It’s hypocrisy of the highest order!

Then there’s a second hypocrisy, which is the hypocrisy of the non-biblical things they advocate for. First there’s the matter of taxes. Jesus was literally asked the question, "Should we pay our taxes." He wisely replied, "Do you have a coin?" When shown a coin, he asked again, "Whose picture is on the coin?" The answer was, "Caesar’s." Jesus then said, "Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s." In other words, if you’re going to use the money (and all the other things that the government provides) then pay the taxes that make that happen. The anti-tax position of the Republican Party is anti-biblical. How their tax money is spent is similarly umbilical. The Biblical charge to "remember the poor (Gal. 2:9) is unambiguous yet the Republican Party seems to do a better job of remembering to blame the poor for being poor. There are a host of biblical charges which suggest that at least 1/7 the of a property owner’s income was to go to the poor in fact. There was for instance, a Sabbath year every seven years . During that years the farmer was supposed to let that land and whatever grew from it was to be left for the poor, the stranger and the animals. On top of that when harvesting his crops anything that fell to the ground was to be left for the poor. Putting these two things together God intended that more than 1/7th of our wealth be set aside strictly for the care of the poor. The hypocrisy is seen again.

Their position on gun control and the corresponding argument is also umbilical. Jesus said, "If someone asks for you cloak, give him your tunic also." Then two sentences later he said, "It has been said you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you , love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." One has to assume that Jesus’ reaction to having someone rob him would not be to pull out a gun and put a cap in the offender’s head, but rather it would be to ask, "Is there anything else I can get for you." One also has to inquire as to what His position might be on waterboarding with the above passage in mind. Would Jesus hold down a person suspected of terrorism and pour water down his throat making him fear for his life? Again the hypocrisy is evident. .

Nowhere does the New Testament ever advocate a Christian government but it does demonstrate that the life of a Christian is a result of Christ’s inward governing. If one accepts Biblical theology then one has to recognize that without Christ the Christian life is impossible, yet the Republican Party would like to legislate their version of Christian living. It begs the question, why then are the Christian right so set on imposing these laws. Right wing theology is not about being "Christian" it’s about being selfish, even to the point of making it illegal to offend them. One of my personal favorite passages in the Bible is from Philippians where Paul says, "Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ who…humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, and that the death of the cross." The mind of the Christian then is to be selfless, not selfish. It is humility, not pride. That’s not to say that the Christian way is to surrender his own moral character or beliefs; rather it is to say that there are things more important and more relevant to being a Christian than forcing moral beliefs down other people’s throats.

When one considers the Republican perspective on virtually anything a pattern starts to emerge. Whenever it concerns someone else being inconvenienced or imposed upon the Republican view is very pro government. Whenever it comes to themselves being inconvenienced or imposed upon then it suddenly comes anti government. At one point Jesus asked, "Hypocrites! Why do you point to the splinter in your brother’s eye when you have a plank in your own?" The Republican platform is full enough of unbiblical and unrighteous views, yet the Christian right is selective in failing to notice those things. They need to start working on their own set of flaws before they start worrying about everyone else’s if they’re really worried about "What Jesus would do."



  1. Thanks for saying this. I’ve been wary of the Christian Right for some time and this statement is right on ….. “The Christian right is set on seeing their values established on the entire nation, and perhaps even the entire world.”

    Politically, it’s been obvious to me that the Christian Right has hijacked the Republican Party … thus leaving many saddled with certain views & positions that aren’t as important to them. Now they are stuck because the GOP appreciated the money from the Christian Right. I say John McCain selected Sarah Palin because of that money! … and at the consequence of losing independent moderate votes as myself.

    Thanks again for this outstanding post.

    Comment by Frank — May 28, 2009 @ 7:19 am | Reply

  2. I absolutely agree with you the points of the articles and Frank’s comments. I’ve written about this and some how received criticism for suggesting Jesus wouldn’t torture and bring up “The Greatest Commandment”. I’ve given up trying to argue or persuade individuals who don’t want to embrace the truth and reality.

    Good Article.

    Here’s the link to my post if interested.

    Comment by tim — May 28, 2009 @ 8:05 am | Reply

  3. You may appreciate this article.

    Comment by Frank — May 28, 2009 @ 8:09 am | Reply

    • Thanks Frank, that was a great read.

      Comment by kelly — May 28, 2009 @ 12:25 pm | Reply

  4. Kelly…. glad you appreciated it. Although I already had a basic idea of the premise, it was still a definite eye-opener.

    Comment by Frank — May 28, 2009 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

  5. Hello,
    Amazing! Not clear for me, how offen you updating your
    Have a nice day

    Comment by Dirnov — May 29, 2009 @ 5:29 am | Reply

  6. i-understand-why-people-who-love-traditional-values-want-to-hold-on-to-them.–Christ-loves-all-and-will-not-judge-those-who-are-in-communion-with=him.-i-believe-your-opinion-is-out-of-line-and-never-to-become-legl-Thank-God.



    Comment by kelley — June 2, 2009 @ 1:40 am | Reply

  7. kelley–

    How is my opinion out of line?

    What’s out of line is the insinuation that I reject Biblical values because I reject your narrow-minded, self inflated view. Also, my view IS legal, your view is not. Thank God.

    Comment by kelly — June 2, 2009 @ 5:24 am | Reply

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