Thursday, May 1, 2014

Are Sarah Palin's Remarks About Waterboarding Anti-Christian?


A few thoughts about this video.

1. She calls all liberals "hypocrites."  I assume that this is just political rhetoric to get the crowd fired up, but she just might believe this.  This kind of generalizing only enhances divisiveness.  It also violates several dozen New Testament commands about judging others.

2.  She seems to imply that it is the responsibility of government to "put the fear of God in our enemies."  How does she reconcile this with Romans 12:9?

3.  She endorses waterboarding-- a form of torture

4.  She uses the Christian sacrament of baptism to make her point about waterboarding.

I could develop these points, but I don't think I could do any better than Christian conservatives (or conservative Christians) Rod Dreher and Joe Carter.

Dreher at The American Conservative uses the term "sacrilegious" to describe Palin's comments:

OK, stop. Not only is this woman, putatively a Christian, praising torture, but she is comparing it to a holy sacrament of the Christian faith. It’s disgusting — but even more disgusting, those NRA members, many of whom are no doubt Christians, cheered wildly for her.

Palin and all those who cheered her sacrilegious jibe ought to be ashamed of themselves. For us Christians, baptism is the entry into new life. Palin invoked it to celebrate torture. Even if you don’t believe that waterboarding is torture, surely you agree that it should not be compared to baptism, and that such a comparison should be laughed at. What does it say about the character of a person that they could make that joking comparison, and that so many people would cheer for it. Nothing good — and nothing that does honor to the cause of Jesus Christ.

Here is Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition:

For anyone to confess Christ as their savior and to compare one of the means of God's grace to an act of torture is reprehensible. I hope members of Gov. Palin's local church will explain to her why her remarks denigrate the Christian faith. Such remarks bring shame on the Body of Christ and to our witness in the world. Even more shameful, however, is the fact that so many Christians would cheer her support of torture (and yes, waterboarding is torture).
Gov. Palin was attempting to appeal to the basest political populism (nothing in her remarks could be construed as genuinely conservative) by claiming that current U.S. counterterrorism policy is  overly-tolerant and empathetic toward our enemies. She contends that proper policies would "put the fear of God into our enemies."
Unfortunately, what Palin is proposing is a mixture of pagan ethics and civil deistic religion. She could have provided a more useful recommendation by supporting a Christian view, for on this issue in particular, Christian anthropology not only provides the correct view but the only one that can provide an adequate framework in which to form our conception of our "enemies."
I know that we have some readers from the Assembly of God Church, the Pentecostal denomination of which Palin is a part.  If you are one of those readers I would love to get your take on this.