Even Republicans acknowledged that.
That's not to say that no one was ever tortured in America's name before Bush II. But at least -- at least -- when it was done back in the day it was done secretly and shamefully. Some people may have believed it necessary, that it was a dirty job that they had to take upon themselves, but they would scarcely have dared to speak of it openly, much less boast of it. They knew that almost everyone saw torture as wrong, as evil, as indecent. Obviously, America has changed.
I wrote a little while ago about "decency" on an individual level, but this time I want to discuss it more as a group or cultural phenomenon. Specifically, I want to know why it is that Mormonism, and Christianity in general for that matter, fails to teach people how to be decent human beings.
After I found out about what really happened in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, I thought there was probably nothing a Mormon could do that I would find particularly shocking. Even though I still believed in the LDS church, I realized that Mormons are nothing special. They're just like any other people: some good, some bad, and some indifferent.
But I was wrong: I could still be shocked. And I was shocked when I found out that at least four Mormons were instrumental in designing and justifying the Bush Administration's torture/war crime regime.
We've long known that in the right circumstances, when ordered to do so, many people will participate in cruelty. Milgram and Zimbardo demonstrated that decades ago. But I'm not talking about low-level flunkies like the ones scapegoated for the Abu Ghraib atrocities. No, these were professionals: lawyers and psychologists. In at least some cases, they were prominent in the local church. And they didn't just work inside the Bush Administration's torture/war crime regime, they helped create it.
But my shock wasn't that Mormons were involved (they're no different than other people, after all), but that (as far as I know) there have been absolutely no ecclesiastical consequences for them. As far as I know, the church has taken no action against any of those people. None. Zero. Zilch. I guess my surprise was just my naïveté showing. It hadn't occurred to me that deliberate involvement in a torture/war crime regime would be just fine with the LDS church (or any other church, for that matter), but apparently it is.
But that's not just a Mormon thing. In America, the more often people attend church, the more likely they are to support torture. Of course, in the case of many Christians, their god has set up his own afterlife torture regime, so I guess it's not all that surprising that they support real-life torture too.
In any event, religion may not be the cause of inhumane attitudes, but it clearly isn't the cure for them either. That's one reason I can't help laughing every time I see some some religious person trying to claim that there's no morality without God. I often can't help wondering if they even know what morality is.
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