Not Saussure

September 28, 2006

Jon Swift on Traditional Torture Values

Filed under: Neo-conservatives, usa, War on Terror — notsaussure @ 1:40 pm

Jon Swift, the American reasonable conservative, some months ago converted from Judaism to Born Again Christianity, as he movingly described at the time, after watching The Chronicles of Narnia:

The film is about British children who have been sent to the country during World War II when London is being bombed. In this big country house where they are staying one of the children discovers this closet and goes inside. I am not sure what being in the closet is a metaphor for (I am very new at this Christian allegory stuff) but I do know it awakened in me feelings of being safe and secure.

In a recent post, he writes of some of how his new faith helps him analyse a current ethical problem with which American conservatives are understandably concerned:

Some people have the mistaken impression that Christians are inflexible and unable to change with the times. The debate over the bill to clarify what techniques the CIA and our military can use in interrogating prisoners and what constitutes torture illustrates just how “with it” Christians can be. As the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition shows us, sometimes in order to maintain your traditional values you need to change with the times.

As Dr Swift explains,

Now let me just state at the outset that like President Bush I am opposed to torture except in certain circumstances when it’s really, really necessary, which is why I am a member of Blogs Against Torture. I agree with the President that “torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere.” But liberals have got us all so confused with their convoluted notions of what torture is so we need to get back to traditional torture values. If we let the liberals and activist judges define torture down, the next thing you know our secret prisons will be like country clubs and the terrorists will take over our country and impose their ideas of morality on us, which, except for the stuff about homosexuality and a few other things, we vehemently disagree with.


The Evangelical Outpost held a symposium of very thoughtful conservative Christian ethicists who responded to an article by Charles Krauthammer that criticized McCain’s bill outlawing torture

which has clarified the matter for him no end, as he explains in a lengthy and thoughtful post, which I greatly recommend.

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