Theology, Torture and the United States: Do Abrahamic Religions Have Anything Meaningful to Say?
The Muslim World. Volume 103, Issue 2, pages 223–228, April 2013
8 Pages Posted: 31 May 2013 Last revised: 2 Jun 2013
Date Written: April 26, 2013
Despite the strong normative commitments of the US legal system to the prohibition of torture, the events of 9/11 and the subsequent declaration of a war on terror quickly made short shrift of this consensus; torture became an acceptable tool of statecraft and even popular culture embraced torture as an acceptable tool to be used in the battle against terrorists. This essay shows that this is not the first time that US practice has deviated in substantial measure from its professed ideals, and argues that Abrahamic religion – by refusing cooptation at the hand of the state – has a particularly important role to play in ensuring that states adhere to their moral commitments, even when it may be convenient not to do so.
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