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Friday, May 01, 2009

Devout Christians Are More Likely to Support Torture

Here are the survey details. First, I want to note how horrific it is on its face. Before looking at what this represents, there are many, many Americans who believe that torture is often necessary. How disastrous.

The next tragedy of this poll is that it shows that Christianity is in the process of being reduced to a political movement. The very strong correlation between going to church often and being a Republican should sound alarm bells for Christians. At FiveThirtyEight.Com, Nate Silvers discussed marriage equality noting
It turns out that you can build a very effective model by including just three variables:

1. The year in which the amendment was voted upon;
2. The percentage of adults in 2008 Gallup tracking surveys who said that religion was an important part of their daily lives;
3. The percentage of white evangelicals in the state.
Link. In other words, it doesn't matter whether it is something that Jesus would have clearly condemned--torturing another human being--or something with considerable biblical support--traditional marriage wherein a man possesses one or many wives--Christian support for the policy is more closely correlated to the Republican Party's position than Jesus' position. BTW, this is not an accident. The Republican Party in the late 80's made a very concerted effort to get church voters. It worked hard to move American congregations to the right and over many years it has paid off. The result is not just that the Republicans have got more votes, in a powerful feedback loop, the church has stopped speaking to liberals and liberals have stopped caring about the church.

And that my brothers and sisters is why mainline Protestant churches need to start standing for something. My suggestion is that we stand for Economic Justice for the poor; that we stand for Equality for the Outcast; that we stand for being Good stewards of what God gave us. And when people say things that are wrong, particularly in the name of Jesus Christ, we say they are wrong. And if we need to do it loudly, so be it.

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