Friday, 1 May 2009

What's hate and/or love got to do with torture?

To absolutely nobody's surprise, a US survey reveals that:
The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new survey. More than half of people who attend services at least once a week - 54 percent - said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is "often" or "sometimes" justified.

Only 42 percent of people who "seldom or never" go to services agreed, according to the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified -- more than six in 10 supported it.

People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only four in 10 of them did.

Don't conservative and/or fundamentalist and/or evangelical christians also believe that corporal punishment is required when raising children? "Spare the rod / spoil the child," is the rote maxim, is it not?

There are a range of methods that they recommend for disciplining children. 'Hot saucing' is one form of 'creative correction' that is seemingly supported by Focus on the Family. Michael and Debi Pearl advocate a form of parenting akin to old-fashioned animal training; they live comfortably on the profits generated by the sale of their books and their speaking engagements.

"To Train Up a Child," [was] written in 1994 by Tennessee pastor Michael Pearl with his wife, Debi, who claim to have raised five "whineless" children. At the book's core is the notion that when parents "train" a child to obey early on, even before he or she is able to make conscious, or conscience-based, decisions, home will be a place of peace and harmony. Here, the term "train" is a reference to Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Neither Pearl has advanced training in child development or a related field. "These truths," the tall, white-beaded Michael Pearl, 60, writes in his book, "are not new, deep insights from the professional world of research, [but] rather, the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules, the same technique God uses to train his children."

The connection between acceptance of torture as legitimate technique for securing information and the use of physical punishment to discipline children is the need for control and authoritarianism. But torturers rarely tell their victims that they are inflicting physical pain for "their own good" or because they love them.
More information regarding spanking and the corporal punishment of children can be found at Religious Tolerance.


Beijing York said...

You're onto something with that connection between physical punishment of loved ones and acceptance of torture.

Anonymous said...

Its goddam creepy though.

Anonymous said...

Surveys can have a lot of errors depending on the sample population of the respondents. 742 is a very small sample for the US population and thus this research has a very very high "margin of error" in statistical terms. The problem is the media likes to sensationalize a research on religion especially when it is so negative without really checking the validity and reliability of the research. Another research should cross-validate the data on the news with a bigger population sample from different parts of the US. As for me and most statisticians this recent kind of research is most likely unreliable, invalid, and has a very wide range of "margin of error". Most likely the one who did this research has a hidden agenda/motive against religious people, particularly to Evangelical and Catholic Christians.

Anonymous said...

Please be aware there are many, many "conservative" Christians who reject Michael Pearl, "hot saucing", and any Biblical so-called "mandate" to inflict physical pain on children.

Is Spanking Biblical?Conservative Criticism of the PearlsAuthoritarianism and Isolationism Among Us

deBeauxOs said...

Anonymous #1, I have just the right blogpost for you: Did we mention the persecution complex disorder?

deBeauxOs said...

Anonymous #2, that's correct. No doubt your conservative brethren who enforce 'hot saucing' and other forms of corporal punishment of children as their God-given right think that your religious beliefs and practices are 'saccharine', 'watered-down and 'not authentic'. It takes courage to stand up to those self-righteous, holier-than-thou zealots, doesn't it?

The Mound of Sound said...

I suspect it's a learned submission to authority that accompanies a lot of fundamentalist religions - Christian, Jewish or Muslim. Look how severely critical thinking has been mauled in the United States during the Bush years. Once you've implanted that degree of complacent obedience to authority - governmental, religious or media - the goodness or necessity of the actions of one's superiors becomes unquestionable. What excesses were normally decent, law-abiding Germans willing to abide in the 30's and 40's?

Frank Frink said...

Re: any questions about the methodology or the historical trends in torture support surveys? All one has to do is delve a little deeper into PEw Research web site... like here.

Bottom line is that Pew is, as they have always been, credible.

RevDave said...

""Spare the rod / spoil the child," is the rote maxim, is it not?"

I like the Book of Proverbs. Don't forget:

"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him."

"Blows and wounds cleanse evil, and beatings purge the soul."

"Punish [your son] with the rod and save his soul from death."

Other timeless Biblical parental truths!

Niles said...

The literal application of hot sauce as a specific in the list of punishments is also obviously culturally insular, indirectly Othering people who would see it not as torture but as yummy. The punished kid grows up detesting chili-based anything, not exactly helping their world view.

It's hard to see such parents bringing hot sauce into the house for any purpose beyond torturing their children, because what are they going to do? Merrily dollop it on on their own food between punishments and say how much they like to eat it?

I also pity the kid who has a natural affinity for scoville units (and I've known toddlers happy to munch away on jalapenos and other chilis, fresh and pickled) and isn't smart enough to pretend it's burning away. That's where forcing the punishee to glug a bottle will likely come in.

Tormentors hate it when their torments aren't having the desired effect, so they kick it up notches until there's the screaming and repentance they need to hear.

Anonymous said...

My father used a belt on us, but when I fought back he began to relent as it seemed to scare him, maybe because he and my mother did not practise religion, so having been out of churches for about 20 years, they didn't have that mindset any more. Catholic and Anglican.

I can say, at least my father just went in for beatings, and not for putting matches under kids' fingernails and lighting them, or putting their hands on hot stoves - things I'd heard about in the 60s. My great-grandfather was severely abusive, in PEI - but it seemed to get less and less with each succeeding generation - nobody went to church.

I was told though that those who lived through the Scottish clearances and Irish troubles had been bullied and beaten themselves by authorities, so it was an accepted way of life, you beat animals, slaves, prisoners, and children. Not a stretch to torture people, and the churches would definitely support it.

I think treatment of animals is key - Nietszche said (apparently) "You won't' get rid of war until you get rid of all the slaughterhouses" - that's where the real mindless cruelty can happen.

Post a Comment