Once they summon the courage to address that issue, the leaders of the Religious Right might want to look elsewhere. I happen to believe that the defining issues of our day are the morality of the war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s use of torture against those it designates as “enemy combatants.” Regarding the former, there are centuries of thought and writing that go into defining what is or is not a just war: Is it a defensive war? Is the use of military force the last resort? Is there a reasonable chance of success? Is the amount of force used roughly proportional to the provocation? Have provisions been made, as much as possible, to protect civilians?
No one has yet persuaded me that the war in Iraq meets any of these criteria.
Regarding the use of torture, as I was writing Thy Kingdom Come, I contacted eight Religious Right organizations, including many represented as signatories to the NAE letter, with a simple query. Please send me, I asked, a copy of your organization’s position on torture. I heard from only two – both of whom defended the Bush administration’s policies on torture. To my knowledge, no Religious Right organization has yet issued a statement unequivocally denouncing the use of torture, despite the fact that these despicable practices came to light nearly two years ago.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
The Moral Myopia of the Religious Right
When the Dobson gang fired off their letter of protest to the National Association of Evangelicals recently they complained that the NAE's statement on global warming was a distraction from the really important issues -- preventing abortions and gay marriages.
Randy Balmer writes in a God's Politics blog a response -- suggesting that the Right has gotten the moral issues mixed up. He sees the two most important moral issues being the Iraq War, which yesterday marked the end of 4 years of war with no end in sight, and the administration's defense of the use of torture. The NAE has been criticized by the Right for it's statement on torture as well.
I posted yesterday on a SBC ethicist who defended the use of torture (coercive techniques to gain information) on the basis of just war theory. Well, here we have a war that doesn't pass muster and a tactic used in that war that doesn't either. It isn't as if the left doesn't have it's own myopic view of the world, but the self-righteousness of the religious right has led us in dangerous directions as a nation.