Churchgoing Americans most likely to be in favor of torture


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

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 the analysis released 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.

The religious group most likely to say torture is never justified was Protestant denominations — such as Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians — categorized as “mainline” Protestants, in contrast to evangelicals. Just over three in 10 of them said torture is never justified. A quarter of the religiously unaffiliated said the same, compared with two in 10 white non-Hispanic Catholics and one in eight evangelicals.

Is anyone surprised? The question is about believing in hate as much or more than love, retribution as much or more than forgiveness, bigotry over understanding and knowledge – every day of the week. It’s as American as mom and apple pie.

2 thoughts on “Churchgoing Americans most likely to be in favor of torture

  1. Cinaedh says:

    No, I’m not even slightly surprised and it’s not just Christians and it’s not just Americans.

    I wonder if science will ever come up with a cure for this seemingly endless, worldwide, rampant mental illness?

  2. Morey says:

    Most church members– and there are very worthy exceptions– go to church to be told what to believe. Thus most church members can be made very comfortable with the idea of torture. Rationalization is part of church indoctrination. They’ve already learned the drill.

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