Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has broken ranks with most other evangelicals and condemned waterboarding as torture.
There is no room for torture as part of the United States’ intelligence gathering process, in Richard Land’s view. The practice known as "waterboarding" is torture, he said.
Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said there is no circumstance in which torture should be permissible in interrogations by U.S. officials, even if the authorities believe a prisoner has information that might involve national security.
Where in the world was Land on this seven years ago? As one of Bush's top advisers on religious freedom, you'd have thought he'd have said something.
This question becomes even more stark when you read Land's take on waterboarding--it sounds a lot like something you'd read on dKos.
Land said he considers waterboarding torture because included in the definition of torture is whether a procedure causes permanent physical harm, noting he is unable to "separate physical from psychological harm" in this instance. The practice contravenes an individual’s personhood and their humanity, he said.
"It violates everything we believe in as a country," Land said, noting the Declaration of Independence says: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Land also rejects the argument that waterboarding saved lives, saying it is a "very slippery slope." He also pointed out that the Southern Baptists passed a resolution condemning torture in 1977, and even now they still stand behind it.
The last paragraph, in particular, could have been written by a Kossack.
"There are some things you should never do to another human being," Land said, "no matter how horrific the things they have done.
"If you do so, you demean yourself down to their level," he said.
Civilized countries should err on the side of caution, Land said. "It does cost us something to play by different rules than our enemies, but it would cost us far more if we played by their rules," he said.
Unfortunately, some of the comments reveal just how ingrained the idea that it's OK to torture is among born-agains.
I have always respected Dr. Land, but now I am rethinking this as he now agrees with of the Obama administration, with McCain who lost the election because he no longer stood for working from a position of strength, and with the enemies of this great nation who behead people on camera, who fly airplanes into buildings, who have sworn to destory both this nation and God’s people Israel. They would certainly agree with you, but they will never think that this rule applys to them, they will torture without mercy. Dr. Land you are getting weak as you age and stood think about stepping down in order to let someone who will not compromise with the weak politicians and with the enemy. This is not only a horrible opinion from Dr. Land, it is asking our nation to cowardly compromise and weaken itself in this very real war.
I must disagree. I believe that the lives of thousands are more important than the one life of one unrepentant murderer who will continue to murder God’s children in the name of God. We have to take a stand somewhere and I am drawing my line at coddling mass murderers. I am quite certain that "lasting psychological trauma" was inflicted on this man long before we ever heard of him.
Only one commenter supports Land's stance on this. As a born-again Christian, this truly saddens me. One would think that we born-agains would agree that there are certain things we just don't do as a nation.
Sadly, however, Land says that he could condone tactics such as sleep deprivation or forcing someone to remain in a cold room. Which is odd, since it seems to me that either tactic would cause "permanent physical harm," and it would be awfully difficult to separate psychological harm from physical harm in these case. Still, one can only hope he comes around on this as well.