Torturous times

I must admit, I have been listening to the news more in the last few weeks than I have for the last 8 years. Whatever one’s opinion of Donald Trump’s numerous and conspicuous character flaws, no-one can accuse him of being boring.

Now he has again brought up the fact that he condones torture in some circumstances. Below, there is a characteristically apologetic admission by a British MP that he not only agrees that torture is permissible but he, himself, used to be a torturer.

One of the arguments against torture is that it doesn’t work. Well, does it?

I can personally attest that it does. In 2009 someone whom I had regarded as a friend deliberately lured me into an Anglican church where Fred Hiltz was to deliver an address. At the half-way point, I was ready to confess all my sins of commission and omission to make it stop. Mercifully, before the end I had passed out.

I had secretly smuggled in a voice recorder; you can listen to Hiltz’s attempt to explain what he understands by the word “gospel” here. No-one will blame you if you can’t listen to it all.

3 thoughts on “Torturous times

  1. The problem is, “sometimes.” More often than not, people will tell you what they think you want to hear just to make you stop, whether it is true or not. That makes torture at the least an unreliable way of gathering information, leaving aside all the strong ethical objections to it. I am fully supportive of your analysis of Fred Hiltz’s waffle, however.

  2. Oh dear, now it is my turn to protest a posting. Nowt to do with “extremist” views from whatever side of the political spectrum, however. Rather, I reject the use of unnecessary unjust means towards just ends. The just end I am concerned with here being excoriation of apostate Hiltz’s metaphorical “torture” of those in his audience, like David, aligned with orthodoxy. Had I been there, I would have felt the same; there have been many occasions in my Anglican past where it has been only politeness and sensitivity to others that has prevented me from expressing loudly something vocal on the spot in additional to walking out. The unjust means is the device of a segue from literal torture to the metaphorical. Torture is a grave evil, setting aside the possibility of a lesser-of-evils/”ticking time bomb” scenario. Metaphorical use of the term for the benefit of emphasis of a profound deficit in discourse risks a cost of attenuation of sensitivity to the horror of its literal meaning.

  3. Walking away from one church group to join or form another one is not uncommon. Church history has offered us many examples. The number of Christian denominations throughout the world continues to increase every year.

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