Friday, May 12, 2006

"Stripped, Beaten & Mocked"

My friend Dannie Otto gave a sermon on April 30th at First Mennonite in Urbana on torture and Chrisitianity. He was against torture and for Christianity. :)

The url for the sermon is here.


This takes me back to the current situation of the 28 Chinese Muslims locked up on Guantanamo. For over a year, our military officials have concluded that they are totally innocent of any connection to terrorism. Why are they still locked up in Guantanamo? “Because they have become infamous”. If released to their homeland China, they will be further persecuted for the Muslim faith. If they are released in the U.S. they will be an embarrassment to our government because they will have free access to the media and their story will become sensationalized. They were made infamous by being brought to Guantanamo and now because they are infamous, they cannot be released.

In the transcripts from Guantanamo, the American interrogators were pressing a prisoner on what it is that he had done wrong: “Surely you have done something to justify this treatment. The American government wouldn’t have locked you up her for two years if you hadn’t done something wrong”. The mistreatment itself becomes the evidence that the mistreatment is justified. One can hear echoes of Pilate telling Jesus, “Tell me what you did to deserve death. You wouldn’t have been arrested and treated this way if you didn’t deserve it.” One has to give credit to Beccaria and like-minded persons who argued against torture on these grounds and gradually also convinced the church to oppose its use. It took several centuries but eventually a consensus was reached that civilized nations don’t do torture.

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