White evangelical and Catholic churchgoers most likely to support torture

A Pew Foundation poll
has found that the greater the frequency of church attendance by white evangelicals and Catholics, the higher their support for torture.

It’s not the religious belief but the frequency of church attendance that is the primary factor. Seems counter intuitive, doesn’t it?


  1. It’s going to church a form of torture? I’d bet most kids under 15 agree that it is. Is it any suprise? The whole message of the Church is to suffer in this life for glory in the next. It’s a mentality. Not suprising to me at all.

  2. Actually it surprises me that Catholics would support torture. That’s the same church that voraciously opposes the death penalty, spawned Liberation Theology, and emphasizes justice for the poor. And it’s the Catholics that drive the movement to close the SOA (now WHISC).

    Surely the Church has its right-wingers (the current Pope is one) but that doesn’t make it a right-wing church. There are a lot of liberal and even radical Catholics– some who make many Marxists look like Democrats.

  3. Are you kidding? Catholics INVENTED torture with the Spanish Inquisition. That, and damning people to hell for centuries? Of course a religion whose icon is pure sadomasochism — a guy nailed up naked on a cross — would dig torture! Just ask sexual abuse victims in Los Angeles whether Cardinal Mahoney’s not torturing them still with his continuing obfuscation.

    • I’m not Catholic, but if the deeds of a few condemn the philosophy, then Marxism and Capitalism are both far worse.

      As for the guy nailed to the cross, it appears you missed the point– he accepted that fate (depending on whether you’re a believer or not) (a) so people wouldn’t HAVE to go to hell, or (b) because he found it more important to feed the poor than to follow the law. These days, many people have the commitment to principle to kill for it, but few have the commitment to principle to die for it. Some of us still believe that’s a worthy level of commitment.

      Indeed, many of the most committed people I have known are Catholics, from the American priest who risked his life to locate the disappeared in a war-torn country (his co-worker was killed by the Army shortly before I met him), to a Sinhalese woman who learned a new language and moved to the war zone to help “the enemy,” to a Thai priest who dedicated his life to helping the poor, Buddhist or Catholic. The only people I’m aware of more committed to their beliefs are the Mennonites.

      So if you’re going to dismiss an entire religion, I’ll ask you: what have you risked lately for your beliefs?

  4. I think part of that support is a result of cognitive dissonance from a sucker’s loyalty to the Republican party, over abortion. Part of it is the same as for any other American who thinks ‘roughing up the terrorists a little in order to protect our own people is okay.’ There was some loss of sanity following Sept 11th, and we evidently haven’t got it back yet.
    Catholic author Mark Shea (markshea.blogspot.com) has been pointing out to fellow Catholics for the last few years, and taking a beating for it in his comboxes, that torture is against the teaching of the Church.

    (that the Church, which was born in an era when torture, long since invented, was taken forgranted, and in some cases required,* took torture for granted until a few centuries ago signifies nothing except that the Church is 2000 years old, and grace isn’t magic.
    *Roman slaves could only testify in court after being tortured.)

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