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America's Actions are Just and Decent if Others Behave Worse

It's Not Torture if No One Dies


Defining Brutality Downwards
Defining Brutality Downwards: America's Actions are Just and Decent if Others Behave Worse

Defining Brutality Downwards: America's Actions are Just and Decent if Others Behave Worse

Image © Austin Cline, Licensed to About; Original Poster: Library of Congress

America's War on Terrorism has produced significant casualties -- including America's reputation for respecting human rights. Time and again stories have leaked out about Americans using torture, brutality, and questionable methods for dealing with or interrogating detainees. Awful things happen in every war, but these cases are unusually bad for two reasons. First, they appear to have been authorized from the highest levels rather than being the acts of a few overzealous or poorly trained people; second, they have been defended and justified to the hilt by religious conservatives who are more commonly seen attacking liberals for their alleged lack of morality.

An important part of Christians' defense of brutality and torture is the idea that the Islamofascists are doing worse (like kidnapping people and beheading them for TV), so what America has done must be acceptable. It's as if America can do anything and remain moral, just so long as the enemy continues to do worse. That's a perfect example of relativistic morality, something which the same conservative Christians commonly attack. Moral relativism isn't so bad when it's just Muslims who are suffering.

It shouldn't be a surprise that Christians could have been so violent, brutal, and cruel during eras like the Crusades and Inquisition -- values like "love your neighbor" and "turn the other cheek" simply aren't followed when it's inconvenient. Christians, and especially conservative evangelical Christians, have no special moral authority from which they can justifiably criticize others. The behavior of Christians in this War on Terror makes this particularly clear.

The next time a Christian Nationalist tries to criticize any morality not based on their Bible and their god, find out what they think about American torture, brutality, and injustice in the War on Terror. If rather than denounce it they start mumbling vague excuses, don't let them get away with this -- call them on it, and denounce them for their unethical attempts to justify inhumane behavior. Point out to them that surveys show how secular, nonreligious Americas are less likely to accept torture as justified under any circumstances. If that isn't a sign of being more moral, what is?

The above image is based upon an advertisement for "The High Rollers," a 19th century burlesque show. I have no idea what the people here are supposed to be doing, but I find it very disturbing.

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