A poll mentioned here by the Associated Baptist Press reflects a profound misunderstanding by the pollsters and the ABP journalist about both "torture" and Biblical doctrine.

A new survey suggests the very Americans who claim to follow the Bible most assiduously don’t consult it when forming their views about torture and government policy.

The poll of 600 Southern white evangelicals was released Sept. 11 in Atlanta in connection with a national religious summit on torture. It shows not only are white evangelical Southerners more likely than the general populace to believe torture is sometimes or often justified, but also that they are far more likely—to tweak a phrase from Proverbs—to “lean on their own understanding” regarding the subject.

However, their views seemed to change when asked to consider torture policy in light of the Golden Rule. When respondents were asked if the United States should “never use methods against our enemies that we would not want used on American soldiers,” more than half agreed.

It's bizarre to imply that Jesus' Sermon on the Mount was intended as public policy prescriptions when Jesus himself had very little to say about politics or government at all. Jesus' instructions were for us as individuals and clearly had no bearing on how war should be carried out. We don't want al Qaeda to hunt us down and kill us, so does that mean we shouldn't do it to them? No, absurd.

I guess the source of the poll and the quoted discussion is informative.

The study was commissioned by Mercer University and Faith in Public Life. Its results were announced during the “Religious Faith, Torture and our National Soul” conference held on Mercer’s Atlanta campus. The meeting was sponsored by the two organizations that commissioned the poll and a host of other religious groups, including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Evangelicals for Human Rights, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the Islamic Society of North America.

Completely neglected is any discussion of the now-loaded word "torture": most poll respondents were probably aware that the term is often used to describe practices that most people would not actually consider to be "torture" but merely unpleasant. By warping the meaning of the word to broaden its definition and hinder the War on Terror, the Left has simultaneously enabled the creation of absurd polls whose results are essentially meaningless.

I encourage Robert Marus and the Associated Baptist Press to be a bit more skeptical and deep-thinking before writing these sorts of nonsensical stories.

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