The reason I know he doesn't is the absence of a great smoking hole where the Rev. Lou Sheldon and the board of the Traditional Values Coalition used to be when they issued this statement in support of torture.
The statement doesn't explicitly say they endorse torture. Rather, it echoes the President's call for "clarification" of the Geneva Conventions, which the Supreme Court recently reminded the President he has to obey. The reason the President wants this clarification is that we have been torturing people and he'd like to continue to do so. And he's more than a bit concerned that if his party loses power in the next election or perhaps regains its soul, there will be criminal prosecutions for those that tortured and those that ordered torture.
Look, I'm no longer surprised when allegedly Christian leaders parrot whatever the President and the Republicans want them to say. Proximity to power is extremely seductive, and Christian leaders have been co-opted by the state ever since the Roman government decided in the 4th century to use Christianity rather than exterminate it.
No, here's why I think, really think - no joking, that Lou Sheldon should be glad he's alive. The reason lies in the justification for why torture should be allowed:
"Our rules for interrogation need to catch-up with this awful new form of war that is being fought against all of us and the free world. The post -World War II standards do not apply to this new war.Let's parse this a bit for the obvious points of ignorance and dishonesty. First, there is nothing new about this "new form of war". People have been brutal too each other and have targeted civilians (or not differentiated combatants from civilians) throughout most of human history. Second, if the level of threat is a key decider, Americans were under much greater threat during the Cold War and WWII than we are now. Third, with a bit of snark, we should note that the TVC should expect a call from Karl Rove because the Administration has been careful never to call these folks "criminals". Remember Rev. Sheldon, it is the appeasing unchristian Democrat Party who want to treat terrorists like criminals!
"We must redefine how our lawful society treats those who have nothing but contempt for the law and rely on terrorizing the innocent to accomplish their objectives. The lines must be redrawn and then we must pursue these criminals as quickly and as aggressively as the law permits."
That aside, here's whats wrong: The Traditional Values Coalition, in the name of Christ, and the President have essentially argued that if your enemy is evil, you may, in fact must do evil to prevent him from doing evil, except that when you do it isn't evil because you are the good guys.
Just look at what they're saying! Christ is not our standard. Scripture is not our standard. Understanding that even the vilest person is still has dignity because he was created in the image of God is not our standard. Understanding human evil against the backdrop of our common sinfulness rather than a Manichaean division of the world into good and evil is not our standard. The TVC and the President are saying that the badness of our enemies, not Christ, is our standard.
I don't know how to say it any more clearly: this is blasphemy.
Edited on 9/22 at 10:07 am pdt for greater clarity and increased snark