May 1st, 2009
04:40 PM ET

Why are frequent churchgoers more likely to support torture?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the debate about torture rages on in Washington - with calls for investigations of the Bush administration - here's a perhaps surprising nugget about how Americans view torture of suspected terrorists.

Turns out the more often people go to church, the more likely they are to support torture - that's according to a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The poll finds that of more than half of Americans who attend church services at least once a week, 54 percent say the use of torture is often or sometimes justified.

Only 42 percent of people who seldom or never go to church agree...

Evangelical Protestants are the religious group most likely to agree; while people unaffiliated with any religious group are least likely to support torture.

Of course evangelicals were a major voting bloc courted by President Bush both times he ran for office; and former Bush officials continue to speak out now about how the harsh techniques yielded critical information that helped keep this country safe. But it's ironic that the faithful are more supportive of torture, isn't it?

Overall, Pew found 49 percent of Americans say torture is at least "sometimes" justified; while 47 percent say it rarely or never is. Republicans are more likely to support the actions than Democrats; while a majority of Independents believe that torture is sometimes justified.

Here’s my question to you: Why is it that the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support torture of suspected terrorists?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Alex from Florida writes:
This should be a wake-up call to pastors. They need to teach their congregations that supporting a conservative ticket based on some values like marriage and/or abortion does not mean that you have to support the parts of that platform that don't jive with those values. They need to address the paradox and say, "You can't be pro-life and at the same time be pro-death penalty, pro-guns, and pro-torture."

Boots writes:
Hi, Jack. I'm not sure that the 'faithful' finding torture acceptable should surprise us. Isn't that what Islamic fundamentalists do? All radicalized forms of thinking lack innate tolerance - that's what radicalism does, whether it's based on religion, politics, culture, money or anything else. That's what I think we should be considering here.

Charles writes:
I am an Evangelical Protestant and I absolutely abhor torture, Bush and all he stood for. I can only hope that the poll which was the basis of this accusation was somehow flawed.

Ralph from Orange Park, Florida writes:
Frequent churchgoers are more likely to be self-righteous, intolerant and ready to demonize others, all of which makes it easier for them to justify torture.

Michael from New Mexico writes:
That is a loaded question, Jack. I do not accept the premise. Churchgoers are not more likely to support torture. I don't know who they polled to arrive at such an absurd conclusion. But, I suspect this to be propaganda with the agenda to smear believers, using a very broad brush.

Clinton writes:
Why? Why?! Really? Jack, c'mon... Can you say, "Crusades?" Can you say, "Holy War?" Can you say, "Jihad?" Nobody loves man's inhumanity to man more than those who have God on their side.

George writes:
Having been tortured sitting through all of those sermons, I think it’s no wonder churchgoers want to share the misery.

Filed under: Religion
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Parveen, Los Angeles

    Jack, as a Muslim I would venture to make this comment that practicing Christians, in general, view all followers of Islam as inherently evil and can therefore in good conscience condone torture of aherents of this allegedly "terrorist" religion. Also, I would like to add here (since none of my previous comments have ever made it in your blog, this one probably won't either) that when comments are made to the effect that because of the horrific act perpretrated on 9/11 resulting in the death of 3,000 innocent people, torture is justified, what would be the Iraqis' view about the hundreds of thousands of civilians who have been killed because of the unwarranted, unjustified US invasion?

    May 1, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  2. RonniefromAbileneTexas

    Torture is absolutely and unequivocally counter to the teachings of Jesus. As a minister, it seems to me that so many "regular church goers" depend on their church attendance as the primary expression of their faith. That is so much easier than obeying the ethical commands of the One Whom they claim to worship.

    May 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  3. Glen in Laurel, Maryland


    Maybe it's because the phrases "innocent until proven guilty" and "cruel and unusual punishment" don't have chapters and verses.

    May 1, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  4. jaime

    They might feel their religon is threatened by the terrorists.

    May 1, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  5. dave

    Being a Christian myself we're taught to love are enemies. Hurt one of God children is a sin and to fear nothing and have faith in Christ he will see you through so this is puzzling to me. Maybe these people who are calling themselves Christian are not really, maybe they're the same ones who prayed to God and hung blacks at night.

    May 1, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  6. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    A lot of churches use the fear of being bad to fill their pews instead of the rewards of being good. So if your church keeps telling you that God's going to do bad things to bad people, then why object when bad things happen to bad people?

    May 1, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  7. Alan Hawkins

    Simple really,

    Church goers are more likely to have supported the Bush administration and to have trusted that water boarding stops short of the definition of torture. It is a flawed question designed to make a sensational headline.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  8. David in San Diego

    As a generalization, I think frequent attenders are more conservative and more convinced of absolute right-and-wrong solutions to "moral" situations. They also, as I recall, are more likely to be from the Southeast and lower Midwest, from smaller cities, towns, villages, etc., and less educated. Just call them "Republicans."

    May 1, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  9. Ken In Pinon Hills, California

    I have a hunch church goers are a fearful lot. Without going into detail the fear of death drives them to church. If not what is the purpose of attending?

    May 1, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  10. Valerie

    I do not know why ..that place religion with politics because where you go to church at most do not talk about politics ..I do belive it is just away to turn more people against religion ...becasue most church goers willnot bring harm to people ..unless their religion teaches it ..

    May 1, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  11. Dave

    In his time, Christ was considered a terrorist,and a threat to the establishment.(Roman rule) They tortured him too. Church going americans are more likely too support torture? Go figure.
    Dave, Washington.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  12. PKD, KCMO

    Really depends on the church and the kind of message/instructions they pass on to their sheep. After all most church going people like to be told what to do and believe. But if they really read the Bible and thought about its message they would understand the true meaning of "do unto others, as ye would have them do unto you". But then again, God is of rewards and punishment.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  13. Phil-Central WA

    Because they are Evangelical idiots. And it sure doesn't help having these Fire and Brimstone ministers, some of whom have gotten their "degrees" through the internet, preaching death and destruction unless we torture "suspected" terrorists.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  14. Adrian

    It comes down to the word "Sinner" and that they feel people who sin should be punished. But I got news those people who think that way...it was never our job to judge people...I think it says it in the bible too...maybe they should take a better look before they start to throw stones.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  15. Louis

    Jack, does The Inquisition offer a clue?

    May 1, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  16. Kirven Dunham

    That is not a surprise Jack. Look at the history of these "God fearing" people. They have used torture since the beginning. That is physical, mental and sexual.

    Kirven Dunham
    Rancho Cordova, CA

    May 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  17. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Maybe they feel everyone should suffer along with them. Have you been to a Catholic High Mass?

    May 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  18. Dale Castle

    Jack, I don't believe that is true. As a Christian and a frequent church-goer, I believe that we need to treat each other as we would be treated, as the Bible teachs us to do. Jesus stated that we should love our neighbor as ourselves, and even those who are terrorists are our neighbors. I could never condone torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  19. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    I have no idea Jack! Maybe because Bush scared the religious right so badly over terrorists, they want them all punished, no matter what it takes! I guess being religious gives them the right to accept whatever matter of interrogation that they use.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  20. Sharon in Ontario

    Even though most religious people abide by the New Testament there is still that directive hovering in the subconscious – "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" I'm quite sure any devoutly religious person has difficulty fathoming how someone can even think about killing hundreds of innocent people let known do it. Terrorists have apparently made us insensitive to harming evil thinkers when danger lurks.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  21. erinmontague

    Why is it that the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support torture of suspected terrorists?

    It's because they are more narrow minded than the rest of us and see things in black and white rather than the shades of gray that define our world. Church goers are like sheep, they don't think for themselves but follow the leader blindly with out thinking for themselves. If the leader says torture is OK, they tend to believe it without question. Very sad in my opinion.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  22. Fred R Deleon

    I guess because we have a very much powerful tool (not a weapon) that Christianity owns.....FAITH IN GOD. Christians died under torture
    by Muslim World Lords. Died under Roman Rule and served as distraction in The Coliseum in Rome being eaten by big cats. So that is what make us so powerful within a peaceful living. It doesn't matter if we are Catholics, Protestants, Evangelists, Baptists, Methodists etc.
    WE ARE CHRISTIANS we may worship God in differente ways but we all have THE SAME GOD. We fear the terrorists but the same time we trust our government to keep us safe.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  23. Bill, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack, that is a very good question that always seem to puzzled me. The answer that I have come up with is either they do not realize or understand the definition of torture. Or they do not care making our churches full of hypocrites. I find it very hard to understand that a person who goes to church every week is able to support torture. I would like someone to explain it to me to the point of of torture making sense on a moral and religious basis.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  24. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    I say phew to the Pew survey. Our church members do not support the torture of suspected terrorists because it is not the Christian thing to do.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  25. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Frequent churchgoers are more likely to be self-righteous, intolerant and ready to demonize others, all of which makes it easier for them to justify torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  26. Ricardo - Anchorage

    Survey is flawed.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  27. Mareike Kuypers

    Los Angeles,
    As I see it religion garners xenophobia and hatred of those who believe "other." History shows the most brutal wars have been over differences in religious beliefs. I'm not surprised at all.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  28. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    It makes them feel as though they are converting the infidel. For reference, see the Crusades.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  29. Robert

    Torture is not acceptable. It is astounding that church goers would support such inhumane behavior. I myself am a frequent church goer and I do not agree with torture. Those who do should reevaluate their spiritual lives and see where they are going wrong.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  30. Jane (Minnesota)

    Jack, it's not the number of times they go – it's how fundamentally set to right the church is and what part of the country they are in that make them more apt to support torture. What is really means to me is anyone who goes to church regularly and supports torture is practicing hypocracy.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  31. Tina Tx

    Because Jesus was tortured and hung on the cross.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  32. Billy G in Las Vegas

    "Evangelical Protestants are the religious group most likely to agree" says it all for those people. they are the "Christian" (although they really don't believe in the teachings of the Christ) version of the Taliban and VERY big on hatred and vengence.

    biggest bunch of phonies in America.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  33. Kevin, Punxsutawney

    Gteetings, Jack and everyone. You pose a very tricky wuestion. Now, we all know that torture is immoral and illegeal. We also know that it is greatly INEFFECTIVE and UNRELIABLE. So, why does anyone advocate its use? It's either sadistic or stupid, but I'm not saying that's describing frequent churchgoers. Maybe such people are most often easily brainwashed. Weird.

    May 1, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  34. Dean from Modesto

    Have you ever read the Bible? They're used to it. They preach it. They've been doing it since before King Solomon. Probably since before recorded history. Smiting people is what makes the experience religious, does it not? (That's what I got out of it anyways)

    May 1, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  35. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    One word; hypocrites.
    Do unto others but not unto me.
    These people would cheer Pontius Pilate in his torture of Jesus.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  36. John from Alabama

    Jack: Church attending Americans believe if your not actually torturing someone its okay to support the use of torture. Some church going members believe if you sin by torturing someone they can ask God to forgive them later. Remember, the most bloodiest of wars in history were over religion. Churches preach love thy enemy as thy self, but some where it is lost by those sitting in the pews.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  37. jacki Matthews

    Great question. I would say when someone looks to religion, they are looking for self redemption. Self redemption brings a strong need for
    justice, at any cost sometimes. Think of the horrible things done to people every day in the name of religion.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  38. maggie from Selwyn

    Well Jack let's face it anyone willing to believe a man built a big boat and loaded it with 2 of every living species on earth and then released them all intact after the flood subsided despite the fact the only way at least half of these could survive was by eating the other half then it only stands to reason they would be more likely to believe torture is okay.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  39. William Bogart Indiana

    And my question is? Who says churchgoers a more likely to support torture?? I am not a frequent church goer, but the question is disturbing. Was there a poll? Maybe the question would be less offensive if it was, "Are frequent churchgoers more likely to support torture?" Was this question thought of by someone against religion? Some one told this questioner that this was a fact? By saying why, it is just assumed to be generally true. I just ask two frequent churchgoers if they felt this was true. (My wife and mother-in-law.) They said they felt this was untrue and also felt the question preceded by WHY was unjust.

    As an infrequent churchgoer, I do not support torture. Nor as a former military member. You now have our answer to this question. Now, can someone answer mine?

    May 1, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  40. J Georgia

    My guess is because they're cowards. The religious right doesn't seem to care who dies for their cause....as long as it's not them. They fear death and its consequences, and the very rituals involved in religious practice is proof of this. Why else would they put so much effort and money into what is most likely a vast superstition?

    May 1, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  41. Chryssa

    It's a combination of blind faith and weak critical thinking skills. They're used to trusting what the higher-ups say, no questions asked, all while failing to comprehend the hypocrisies they commit on a daily basis. Frankly, it disgusts me.

    Boise, ID

    May 1, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  42. Al. Lawrence KS

    Why am I not surprised. Crusades, Inquisition, Salem Witch Trials....nothing to see here...move along.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  43. B-Koi Vancouver Island, BC

    I find those stats hard to swallow. The Bible teaches forgiveness, compassion, love. I do not see where Torture is sanctioned. The "Churchgoers" that agree with Torture had better examine what Church Doctrine , or Church leader they are listening to. I guess some people can find an excuse for any sin if they want to.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  44. Mike

    The answer may lie in why the churchgoers also supported racism.
    They forget that the Bible says, remove the log in your eye before removing the spec from another person's eye.
    There is no justification for torture; it is illegal and it's only the rule of Law that separates the U.S. and civilized countries from barbarism and being 3rd world countries.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  45. Geri - Mead, OK

    They are for torture for the same reasons the Romans crucified and the Spanish Inquisition took place. When one has an attack/counter-attack philosophy, always the slayer becomes the slain and the slain becomes the slayer. This is why wars are being fought 2000 years after Yeshua ben Joseph walked the earth. Live by the sword. Die by the sword. We humans can't seem to learn our lessons in this lifetime any other way Jack. Whereas in the rest of the animal kingdom they have more sense.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  46. Peter, Kansas City

    This is a classic example of correlation without causation. While that poll shows that people more commonly share a stance on the two topics (pro church/pro torture or anti/anti) there is simply no evidence or reason to believe that the more often someone attends church the more they will support torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  47. Nabeel

    Its really simple Jack. Although I consider myself to be religious, I made a decision to shy away from organized congregations and let my relationship with God be just that, a relationship between myself and God.

    I feel that frequent church goers get caught up in the rah-rah of other peoples interpretations and forget they can think for themselves. This leads to a hardening of the heart and a closing of the mind ... both of which contribute to a lack of acceptance and compassion.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  48. ajks

    Maybe it goes back to their ties to the church during the Inquisition.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  49. sethb78

    I would say it is because of the warped view of Christianity that is taught in most churches. Would Jesus have supported torture? Absolutely not, but many Christian churches teach from the Old Testament and use the "eye for an eye" line to support war and torture. I am a Christian, but I only put my faith in the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament as the Old does not apply to me since I am not of the Hebrew faith.

    Alexandria, VA

    May 1, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  50. Eric Bracke

    It's a conumdrum of the american people – confused like lost sheep. Why do people who oppose abortion support the death penality. On the other side of the coin, people who believe in abortion on demand are usually against the death penalty. Personally, I believe it's an outcome of the "group thinking" of party politics. As church goer, I am opposed to abortion, torture, death penalty, wars for oil, intolerance, racism and on and on. People can't seem to make up their minds until someone tells them what to think. Shameful and ridiculous on many levels.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  51. bobwhite, Ks

    That's what is wrong with "the faith:" organized religion. And I'm a life-long church goer! But once those who have faith in God organize, they forget about the basic teaching of forgiveness as a fundamental requisite of the application such teaching and begin to impose standards upon others. Such organized approaches soon turn into attitudes and positions that belie the faith. The torture of suspects in place of forgiveness-of-enemies is a good example.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  52. Nancy in Upstate New York

    I guess that's why they feel the need to go to church, Jack. Deep down inside, they just want to hurt people.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  53. Chuck from Gulf Shores, Alabama

    When hate is preached from the pulpit the "sheep" can't help but become hateful, self-righteous and judgmental bigots. Pure and simple. Ghandi said it best when he said he "liked their Christ" but they (Christians) don't tend to follow his teachings.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  54. Michael H., Albuquerque, NM

    That is a loaded question, Jack. I do not accept the premise.
    Church goers are NOT more likely to support torture. I don't know who they polled to arrive at such an absurd conclusion. But, I suspect this to be propaganda with the agenda to smear believers, using a very broad brush.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  55. Dan from Alliance, OH

    And you wonder why the religious right is lossing ground. If they were truely christians they would think torture is not God like and Christ would have never done this. A Christian should love thier enemies.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  56. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    Because the common denominator for them is fear. If you ask those who attend a Mosque, they would tell you they support suicide bombings. They are all hypocrites.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  57. Rick from Murfreesboro, TN

    Unfortunately in too many churches intolerance is taught. If you are not of "our" congregation, you are lost and going to hell. It is the old anthropological concept of the "other" which has often been reported on in various cultures. An outsider is automatically distrusted and is considered to be less than human, therefore anything you do to one of these individuals to supposedly protect your group is considered proper. Many of us have never outgrown the old tribal roots, no matter how many centuries of "civilization" our ancestors have gone through.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  58. Andy

    It is probably not a question of “religion” but of “us” vs. ‘them”. Religion more than all other human institutions engenders a feeling of in-group inclusiveness and an underlying xenophobia of out-of-group people. I believe that many church goers, as well as people of other religious pursuasions will feel strongly about actions that would thwart outsiders i.e. other religions. The tribal nature of man is difficult to surpress.

    Fountaun Hills, AZ

    May 1, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  59. Chris from Buffalo, NY

    Liberals, for whatever reason, tend to be less "church-going" than conservatives. Liberals will be opposed to anything that the Bush administration did. The Bush administration "tortured" or used "enhanced interrogation techniques." Therefore, non-churchgoes, most of whom are liberal democrats, will be opposed to torture. Now this is the kind of simplified analysis that you normally have to pay for, given to you Jack free of charge.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  60. Theresa in Atlanta

    It's just their modern version of the Inquisition. Nothing has changed except we've added the capability for everyone to see via Youtube.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  61. Albert.K. Los Angeles

    I think the connection has to do with the amount of faith one has. Faith is the milk of deep belief. Organized religion, torturers and others seeking relief to their hard questions and desires in this life sometimes turn to their deep beliefs for answers. It's like when a baby sucks on a pacifier.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  62. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    My God is right, your God is wrong, and if and when I get my hands on you you’ll feel exactly what I mean. This has been the process for thousands of years. Christianity, Calvinism, The Spanish Inquisition, Judaism, Islam, Church of England of Henry the 8th. Religion has been the cause of many wars and will continue in perpetuity. Even families are divided.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  63. Bernie from Tarpon Springs, FL


    It is not surprising that the Evangelicals are more in favor of torture. Most I have met are a bunch of hypocrites. Just look at the number of preachers that run around as self proclaimed moral authorities have in their personal lives been anything but. There is no way a real person of God can condone torture. And remember, these are the same people who led the charge to the war in Iraq...These self righteous people will have to answer some day to a higher authority.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  64. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,I can only believe the church goers have had their eyes opened and the non-church goers still believe in Pollyanna!

    May 1, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  65. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    I am a churchgoer and do not support torture of any kind. A lot of people read too much into the Bible and feel that so much torture of every kind is in there, so why should it bother them now.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  66. Ed Reed

    Great question, Jack. Those who believe ours is a Christian nation will have to choose between that belief and our country's use of torture. They cannot choose both. For He did not say "Torture thine enemies as thyself."

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    May 1, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  67. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    If a person believes the Bible literally, as many evangelicals do, he or she will condone the "eye for an eye" philosophy associated with the angry God in the Old Testament. Also, the Bible is full of gratuitous violence and punishment of evildoers of all kinds. If you take it literally, you'd probably condone torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm |

    There are hypocrits in every demographic. Maybe this is the same group who hate gays and would rather build an oversized sanctuary than help the homeless in their own comunity. I think they get confused between God's judgement and their own.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  69. Bill in Michigan

    It's always been ironic to me that ,historically ,many of those who claimed to adhere to the teachings of turning the other cheek and loving thy neighbor, were so often the very first to tighten the screws on those who "trespass" against them. However, as I read, hear, and see it today, very little has changed in the evolution of religious conservatism. It still preaches brotherly love, but continues to beat that brother out of fear of change or loss of its control.

    May 1, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  70. Mark... Voorhees, New Jersey

    Going to church means that they are religious, and religion has been responsible for more horror than almost anything else in human history. People who believe fervently in that which they cannot see or prove are most likely to dehumanize those who do not share their beliefs, not to mention the least likely "do unto others what they would have others do unto them". Ironic, no?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  71. Chris

    I'm a christian who doesn't believe in torture, and I vote DEM!! Over the centuries, people have used religion to justify alot....it's time to be done w/ such outrage.........Jesus doesn't believe in torture!!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  72. Alex from Wisconsin

    My guess is that people have gotten desensitized to the horrors of torture due to being reminded about how a great man like Jesus was tortured and killed on a cross for the sake of the rest of the world. When you are reminded of this fact at least 55 times a year and celebrate what Jesus did for us, its an easy leap to say that if the greatest of men can get tortured, then terrorists who bomb the innocent can be treated just as badly. Of course just because the justification is easy doesn't make it right or moral.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  73. Rich Monk

    Hey Jack,
    Because religion by it's very own Nature is intolerant of each other.
    If one religion is right, then the others must be wrong!
    Also religion relys on fear, and ignorance which we can see in our own country can be very persausive, dangerous, and lethal.
    At worst, the leaders of all religions are pompous, spineless and power hungry loofs, and will do anything to keep and control power.
    George W. Bush told the World that "God" had told him to invade Iraq, and the diehard republicans jumped on this like it was just another football game. Get the beer and pizza ready?

    Rich Monk,
    Carlsbad, CA.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  74. Alex from Wisconsin

    It could also be people selectively falling back on the Old Testament to justify cruelty to others. "An eye for an eye" mentality is convienent only when you aren't the one on the waterboard. But when the time comes that these same church goers are at someone else's mercy, suddenly the New Testament teachings will kick back into effect and they will talk about forgiveness and turning the other cheek.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  75. Courtney in Connecticut

    If almost half of all Americans – 49 percent – say that torture is sometimes justified we have failed writ large as a nation regarding such abhorrent behavior. Church attendance, or lack thereof, is distinctly not the issue. Whether it is a deep misunderstanding of what torture is, how it fails to achieve the desired ends (supposing those ends are information gathering and not simply to inflict pain), or a cognitive gap between theory and practice, I cannot say. Torture is never justified. Full stop.
    That said, considering religious beliefs have been one of the most persistent reasons people have been tortured, this is quite ironic indeed.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  76. Ron K.

    Hi Jack:

    I doubt your wording is correct. Torture? Firstly I would like to say I got to church every Sunday. And I do not approve of any inhumane treatment of prisoners of war. It is against international law. Secondly, it rarely extracts any useful information. Moreover, make us just as bad as the terrorist's. And I doubt any of my comembers will agree with your stastic. I am of the opinion that they should be tried by an international court and jury made up of members of a US military court. If they perpetrated crimes against US military. Or a US Federal Court if they perpetrated crimes against a US civilian target. And held in a US prison without liberties or freedom until such time when they are convicted or found not guilty.

    Ron Temecula, CA

    May 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  77. Jim from Chicago

    Jack, the Evangelicals support torture because by and large they have bought into the Bush-era malarkey that "enhanced interrogation" is not really torture. Through their lack of critical thinking and questioning of the validity of this premise, they somehow feel that these techniques are necessary and effective for our safety. How ironic that Jesus was only subjected to "enhanced interrogation" by Roman soldiers just before he was crucified.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  78. Susan

    It makes no sense to me whatsover, considering how they are so anti-abortion and all about protecting life and being moral....torture is the antithesis of morality.
    And lest they forget, their lord and savior Jesus Christ was tortured and crucified...and they all bemoan that...but now its ok.
    Just more hypocritical crap from alleged "christians".
    I guess this falls under the lover your neighbor as yourself rule...except if he/she is a homosexual.
    I'm sick of it and this is why I belong to no organized religion.
    My mother falls under this category and this is why I can't speak to her about anything other than the weather.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  79. Ann C from Nashville

    That does not surprise me at all...I live in the South where there is a church on every corner. For 8 years alot of conservative white southern evangelicals believed what the Bush Administration told them and so whatever happened they agree with. But the larger picture as I see it evangelicals don't think out of the box much...they believe what they are told and usually don't search for additional answers or reasons. This is a Republican thing too...Bush says it and you believe it.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  80. lew

    Um.. .that's interesting...

    And, non-churchgoers are more likely to believe it's ok to snuff out life from the womb of the mother. The child is dead, the terrorist... well, they're not dead.


    May 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  81. Matt

    It makes sense Jack. It's called self-righteousness. These are the same people who believe in "separate but equal" and that the law should codify a distinction between "marriage" and "civil unions" so they can have it written into our system of government that they are morally superior to someone else. I, for one, give up on them.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  82. Benjamin in D.C.

    This research confirms two things for me: 1. The reliigous tend to be hypocrites. 2. The war on terror is a religious war on both sides.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  83. Kathy

    All I can figure out is that church goers do not apparently read the Bible and know little about the actual teachings of Christ. They seem to be real big believers in the Old Testament and "an eye for an eye". How they claim to be "Born Again" when they don't follow Jesus message of peace and forgiveness I cannot understand. No way would Christ have ever been a Republican, too selfish and unforgiving.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  84. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    That is because many –not all, but man – church goers are hypocrites. They go to church every Sunday, confess their sins and believe that gives them a clean slate to do their dirty deeds for the following week. I lived next door to one of these “religious” people who wear their faith on their sleeves and have seen them make trouble and do despicable things all the time.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  85. Lloyd

    As a Baptist pastor I am broken hearted by this statistic but not surprised. I don't really have an answer, but I ask those outside the Christian faith to realize that not all Christian support torture and to do so goes against the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  86. Onlooker

    The Old Testament (from which most Evangelicals seem to draw their moral views) condones slavery, mass murder, rape, etc. People who believe god is on "their" particular side and who base their actions on what they think the Bible says seem to me to be more likely to accept any manner of bloodthirsty practices, convinced somehow that god allows it. As much of the Koran also stems from Old Testament sources, I'm sure the same applies to Muslims.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  87. Lisa T

    It just proves my theory that more people have died and/or been hurt in the name of religion than for any other cause in history! Religion is a means for which it's members can claim superiority over those who don't believe and allows them to justify their use of discriminatory action. Religion is a man-made "boogey man" for those trying to control a population.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  88. G

    Christianity glorifies suffering. God makes the pious suffer to test their faith and anyone who does not have blind faith in him/her will be made to suffer for eternity.

    Suffering is so central to christianity as are sin and punishment and a very vengeful god that torture almost is very natural for the religious.

    In contrast, evolution has shown how altruism and the golden rule (don't do to others what you don't want done to yourself) have evolved in us. I would therefore expect non-believers to be naturally more opposed to torture.

    Torture is naturally compatible with believe in superstition and naturally incompatible for a-superstitionists.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  89. Edward

    I would have thought that devout Christians in particular would be against torture. Don't they believe it was wrong when the Roman government tortured Jesus to death? Apparently, though, many Christians now believe that torture was wrong when Christians were tortured in Biblical times, but torture is just fine today as long as Christians are doing the torturing. That's not religion; that's plain old hypocrisy.

    Perhaps this will finally silence the argument that it is impossible to be moral without being religious.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  90. Will Elliott

    I think that church-goers are not always the most sophisticated interpreters of their own faith tradition. I would imagine that most of these who support torture are of a more fundamentalist bent... not Jim Wallis type evangelicals in other words, nor mainstream protestants. The Bible is a collection of writings fraut with violence, much of it frankly concerning. Progressive Christians today (encouraged by scholars) believe that an ethical life must go beyond the cultural norms of the ancient Near/Middle East (where genocide was acceptable, the death penalty more frequent).

    I also think that many fundamentalists are fearful people, and this post 9-11 fear has been stoked by neo-conservatives. I imagine that people in support of torture are unconsciously dis-integrating the teachings of Jesus from their politcal stances.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  91. Sylvain

    I don't think it is related to church. Like anything else, people that are easy to influence or persuade will tend to follow their leaders. If you're Republican and go to church and Cheney tells you that torture is Good, Well then, chances are you'll say it's good.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  92. Dan In Harrisburg

    Why must one even ask this question when the answer is so obvious? One needs only to look at history to see how often the members of the so-called "Christian community" have turned a blind eye to great social injustices. The silent consent of the Holocaust ... the Spanish Inquisition ... the treatment of Native Americans ... slavery ... the Catholic church's child sex scandals ... etc. To often, those who attend church are taught NOT to question authority and to see the world as "us" and "them." And, unfortunately, they are taught to not care about "them." So long as what is occurring isn't occurring to others like them, it's fine by them.

    End of story.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  93. Jim

    It depended on which religious group they were a member of if you read the poll data. The more extreme, i.e. evangelical, the likelier they were to tolerate torture. That seems reasonable since they are, of course, are equating terrorist with Muslim. Many evangelicals, and some others, see Muslims as inferior and destined for hell therefore torturing the Muslims in order to keep themselves safe is a reasonable trade off to them.

    It's the same mindset that gave us the Inquisition. Anything can be rationalized and justified by a true believer.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  94. Jason

    Because church goers are small minded people who believe the world is like the TV show "24"...they think everything is black and white, good and evil, cut and dry. They're idiots for going to church, they're idiots for supporting torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  95. Rich

    Easy Jack, unfortunately, a good many of the Church goers tend to be self-righteous and "always right." The guys to be tortured are the bad guys, and everyone knows it's ok to torture the bad guys.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  96. clbrune, Portland Oregon

    It's not a link between religious dedication and immorality.

    Churchgoers fit a demographic that also fits people who think it's ok to torture.

    To be blunt, the Right Wing has a lot of fear mongering in it. Those who eat it up have a world view that needs to embrace the idea that torture works.

    It doesn't, but wouldn't Jack Lauer look like a sissy if he wasn't willing to break some teeth? Even if it's illegal, immoral, and unreliable?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  97. Margret Emerson

    They like everyone to be in the same boat with them

    May 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  98. Frank in Still-Part-Of-The-Union Texas

    I think the reason has to do with the vast difference between religion and spirituality. Whereas spirituality is informed by inner wisdom and promotes a sense of unity, religions in general market a particular ideology. Ideology promotes polarization, dividing the world into those who are on board and those who aren't. This in turn gives license to the 'faithful' to treat the "have nots" as something less than fully human.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  99. Chris, Washington

    Isn't it ironic how a group of people of faith can preach love and forgivness, while justifying an inhumane act such as torture? But this isn't the first time the faithfull have been on the wrong side of ethical conflict, look at the majority of people who are against same sex marriage.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  100. Justin

    It seems strange to me that my fellow Christians would feel that way. I think they should ask themselves "What Would Jesus Do?"

    Justin from Tifton, Georgia

    May 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  101. John from Sill

    How hypocritical of these people. I'm not a religios person, but to use their own term," what would jesus do"? I guess they forgot about that whole cross thing.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  102. Brigitte Darcel

    I don't know why this is such a surprise. The Inquisition and Salem Witch Trials were all perpetrated and endorsed by religious people, as were the lynching of blacks and the persecution of the Jews. Church going people have been the initiators of some of the worst atrocities in this world. To hear that they endorse torture is predictable.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  103. Me pa

    Because they think they are saved and live a righteous life and will never be in a situation where they could be tortured. And, the old testatment is full of eye for an eye, wars and all kinds of atrocities so if you take the Bible literally, torture is acceptable.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  104. Ewaen. Boston, MA

    From my understanding of christ, I would assume the opposite hence the teaching of Jesus christ. Then again the churchgoers are not christ they are trying to be christ-like; which tells you (Jack) we church goers still have a long way to go.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  105. Omar

    Religion, particularly the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, is to a large degree based on torture. The most fundamental tenet of most sects of these religions (with some notable exceptons) is that God will torture you for eternity if you don't belong to the right club.

    Is it any wonder that those who have been desensitized to metaphysical toruture, would also be more receptive to the earthly kind.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  106. Jonathan

    Hi Jack,

    I will tell you why.
    The evangelical christians often have a more fire and brimstone approach to their beliefs.
    They are more apt to focus on the consequences of sin, than the all reaching forgiveness of the grace of God.
    Their sermons reflect that. They are less tolerant of other beliefs, religions, and lifestyles. This makes them more likely to demonize the "enemy" and that distances the human element of compassion towards those that they are afraid of, or disargee with.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  107. trebor kled

    MAybe we should try to go forth and be christlike.
    The christian Right really does march under a hacked Cross
    The peace of the Lord be with you go forth and torture no more?

    Mass every week

    May 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  108. Danielle

    Why is it that the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support torture of suspected terrorists?

    Well, the obvious answer is the holier than thou attitude of the frequent churchgoers. They strongly believe that because they go to church they have the right to judge in the name of God.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  109. pete at the beach

    It just proves the point that they don"t even know what Christ taught

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  110. Tom K in WA


    Have you ever sat through a "Fire and Brimstone" sermon aimed at squeezing some money out of the congregation? Talk about torture! If the CIA used this method we would get Osama Bin Laden's whereabouts in 10 minutes or less.


    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  111. Andi B.

    As a follower of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, I can't speak for everyone, but why would a group of people who knows their saviour was tortured be in favor of torturing someone else? The Word of God teaches forgiveness. GOD does the judging on judgement day. I don't know where that information came from, but obviously not from those who love the LORD. You can't paint everyone with a broad brush and make the whole group look like the lynch mob. Not true.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  112. Bev and Bob Weaver

    Anyone who has ever witnessed what goes on behind the scenes at a church social knows how torture can be tolerated by the "faithful". Not very nice people lurk in church basements!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  113. Sara in North Dakota

    Because most religion is based on punishment of some kind or another, usually involving eternal damnation. What's a little waterboarding when compared to agonized writhing and burning in the pits of hell to infinity? Piece of cake I'd say.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  114. jenny

    Have yoy sat thru a conservative Evnagelical sermon on Sunday morning lately? I would almost choose waterboarding myself. I will take my good ole Methodism any day.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  115. Jon

    Where in the world do they find these people willing to be polled?

    I think that data might be skewed slightly, and wonder why those that don't go to church very often speak for those that do (and vice versa).

    May 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  116. Keith Cameron

    If evangelicals want to continue their act of being better-than-thou, it's about time they showed some views that actually qualified them as being "good" people. Harsh, I know, but seriously, if you're going to claim to take a stand on morals, the most basic morals on the planet are "love others, even your enemies" and "be the bigger person." Both apply to this situation.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  117. Mike

    In some churches throughout the country people seemed to be more concerned with abortion and homosexuality than human rights issues. Most americans will never have an abortion and only a very small percentage are homosexual which makes the fanatical rants by some of these institutions seem pretty pathetic. Its no wonder people are becoming less religous in the United States.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  118. Anthony, Siloam Springs AR

    Considering it was the church that perfected torture back during the Inquisition and the inane witch hunts of the 15th – 17th century, all members are doing is expressing their desire to go back to the good old days....sad, isn't it?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  119. Mike - Denver

    Because those people who profess to attending church regularly are the ones who need to be taught humanity, compassion and respect for one's brother the most. Unfortunently these same people are the one's who understand these concepts the least. They assume talking the talk and walking the walk is the equivalent of doing the deed. Religious people will always be the one's furthest removed from God's understanding and compassion. It has always been like this and always will be.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  120. Teena


    I think the torture issue has been linked with fighting the extremist views of Islam and many evangelicals feel as if the terrorist battle is a battle against Christianity. This battle has been preached about from numerous pulpits in churches I have visited here in Colorado. Many ministers speak openly about the "fight to end Christianity" as practiced by those of the Islamic faith.

    As a Christian who attends church on a regular basis, I take issue with this viewpoint and DO NOT condone torture of ANY kind, as it is the antithesis of everything I believe in under Christ's teachings as documented in the New Testament of the Bible.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  121. Robert, New Jersey

    Jack, The Christian hypocracy at its best. Christians are supposed to be the followers of Jesus Christ – remember him. The American Evangelical Christians who support torture in this survey definitely worship Jesus who is different from Jesus the rest of the Christians worship.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  122. Jonathan

    Hi Jack,

    I will tell you why.
    The evangelical christians often have a more fire and brimstone approach to their beliefs.
    They are more apt to focus on the consequences of sin, than the all reaching forgiveness of the grace of God.
    Their sermons reflect that. They are less tolerant of other beliefs, religions, and lifestyles. This makes them more likely to demonize the "enemy" and that distances the human element of compassion towards those that they are afraid of, or disargee with.
    These same people idolized out last president, and were seldom seen speaking out against any of his policies.
    You aren't going to find many publicly speaking out within their own groups against torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  123. Kevin in MA

    I think this is more of an illusory correlation than anything else.

    Unless they were raised catholic, then they're just used to it (ever been to a catholic mass?) and wonder why anyone is complaining..

    May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  124. Terry Miller

    Jack I am looking forward to finding out the answer to this questoin I have been asking myself for a long time. The only answer I can come up with is there is some relationship between going to Church and fear. The Church preaches quite a bit of fear so it is easy to draw the conclusion on the relationship. I think the converse might also be true that people who do not fear are the people who volunteer for our Military and get up and go do something about the problem rather that fear it. When you get thru with this question, how about asking why the Republicans want more of the same failure we have had by voting no on any changes we have put in place to attempt to solve the problem. Thanks, Terry Miller

    May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  125. Jill

    As a wise person put it, the truth about the Christian Right is they are neither Christin nor Right.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  126. Sally Oswald from Fulton MD.

    People who go to church on a regular basis tend to be very self-rightious.
    They would support torture more freely because they believe people can be forced to conform to certain ideals. Torture is the ultimate form of coercion that one can inflict on another human being. The person being tortured is not able to fight back and therefore would submit to the torturer's demands. Unfortunately, I have serious doubts about the use of torture, but then again I don't go to church.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  127. Jeanette S

    Might it be that people who prefer highly-structured lives accept a higher degree of external control and expect their clergy as well as their politicians to practice any means necessary to catch and punish culprits?

    Americans who live in Europe are often asked why so many of their countrymen and women belong to "sects", whereby they are referring to mainstream branches of reformed Christian churches such as Baptists and Presbyterians.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  128. circy in new mexico

    Many Americans who go to church live rigid lives and allow others to do their thinking. That includes letting government leaders control their lives. That's why many people kept silent while the Bush Administration took away our rights, one by one, all under the excuse of protecting us. So, when the government said torture yeilded information to keep us safe, they accepted it. If they had bothered to think for themselves, they may have realized the truth. And that is that in this age of almost instant communication, with all the methods of gathering info available, torture is out-dated. The only reason left to torture someone was to inflict pain on another human being, because of anger or revenge, which shows how low our own people stooped.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  129. Abbie

    Jack, I don't know. Frankly, I'm quite baffled at these so-called Christians behaving un-christian like. I have found that people who go to church, quote the bible, etc are extremely intolerant to people who are not like themselves.

    Personally, I feel sorry for these people. They are so full of hate.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  130. Michael H

    It's simple logic Jack. Church goers tend to be more conservative in nature. Conservatives tend to be more supportive of torture. Therefore church goers tend to support torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  131. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: There are some who might say that there is no substitue for "an eye for an eye,"--–and when you are fighting a war--nice people finish last. Don't look at it as torture---it is really "applied physical psychology."

    May 1, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  132. Pete S.

    The religious tend to be conservative. The conservative tend to support torture. Simple as that.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  133. SKP

    Um, perhaps those of us who make our children come with us to services every week have become conditioned to doling out emotional pain and physical stress without a second thought?



    May 1, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  134. Jon in OH

    Maybe the question is backwards. A better question might be "Why are people who support torture more likely to attend church?" Perhaps people that have these feelings of hostility and indifference to the suffering of others feel more uneasy about the afterlife and their chances of heaven. Maybe they feel more of a need to actively seek salvation. Just a thought.

    Jon in Ohio

    May 1, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  135. Greg Brevik Dallas, TX

    This certainly goes to show that sitting in a pew on Sunday morning does not make you a more moral person. I personally dont believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny or Jesus, and I certainly don't beleive in Torture!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  136. Henry

    This points out one of two scenarios:
    1. Evangelicals feel that torture (of Arabs of course) is a way to protect Christianity.
    2. Evangelicals believe what they are told by their leaders who oddly enough appear to be political (Focus on the Family, Family Research Council). These "leaders" see evangelicals as sheep (no pun intended) to be led.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  137. Bryan

    As long as you go to church, Jack, all your sins will be forgiven – condone torture, ignore global warming, support anti-gay legislation, deny basic human rights for non-Christians, and all the other wedge issues fueled by evangelicals. It's the mindset of the born-again: "I go to church, therefore I'm a godly person. As long as I'm godly, nothing else I do matters. The ones being tortured are not Christian, therefore they're neither godly nor deserving of Christian charity."

    May 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  138. Larry A Weismiller

    The more right wing a Christian is, they more they love to hate people who are different or hold different religious beliefs. It then figures that they are more likely to condone torture for others. it goes back to the Spanish Inquisition. This should be no surprise.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  139. Gary

    Authoritarianism. Limbic system thinking versus high-order thinking. Reacting versus responding. Acting from fear rather than from reason – from feelings rather than facts.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  140. Jared

    They probably are more likely to desire the use of torture for the same reasons they had the crusades and other holy wars

    May 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  141. Sam

    I went to Catholic school and the nuns quickly understood that in order to keep law and order in the class room a few well placed smacks worked wonders.....As we always said back then...."Mercy nuns give no mercy".

    May 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  142. Luke

    From Shawnee, Oklahoma

    Here is a thought: churchgoers are primarily evangelical. Evangelicals are primarily Republican. And Republicans primarily say torture is justified in some cases. Can it really be that simple?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  143. Diana

    The Crusades. The Inquisition. The Salem Witch Trials. Christians have been killing in God's name for 2000 years. Torture is an improvement. For them.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  144. Jennifer

    I don't get it. I thought Christians were supposed to "love thy neighbor."

    Austin, Texas

    May 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  145. Duro Musa

    Some of the church goers are the bigots of the society; they hide behind going to church and commit immoral acts.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  146. keith

    possibly because many of those that attend church are not thinking humans and need instruction on moral issues rather than use intellect and compassion to guide them through their lives..

    May 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  147. Dillon

    You know that the secularization of America has really taken its toll on society when Americans turn away from the values of our founding fathers that made our country the greatest nation in the world. Once we stop torturing our enemies, what's next? It's just another step on the long road to European-style socialism.

    In case you didn't notice, Jack, that was sarcasm. I know it's getting hard to tell these days.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  148. Slayers1959

    No one expects the Spanish Inquisition

    May 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  149. Bryan from Missouri

    Sacred religious texts tend to be some of the most violent literature ever written. If someone is exposed to this week after week, they become desensitized to violence. The Abrahamic god uses violence to protect his people, so why wouldn't the devoutly religious support torture to protect themselves?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  150. PSKennedy

    Jack it would be good to see just which church goers approve. It is unfortunate we lump them all together. I would be interested to know if there is a regional and denominational factor involved in the number. I would bet on it. But it should not suprise you that these were the results. Many of those same churches were just as busy celebrating anything the last administration did as they were their spritiual beliefs even though the beliefs they espoused and their politics were a poor match for one another. Why does anyone wonder why the church is in decline? Political loyality is often much stronger than our willingness to adhere to the values Christ articulated in Scripture. That is our shameful truth!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  151. B from New Orleans

    Have you been to church lately. I am Catholic, and during Mass there is always at least one comment about politics, and it is always a remark aligned with Republican political views. I have heard the Catholic church preach against abortion, or anyone who supports it – and every Democratic candidate is accused of supporting abortion – and even heard, from the pulpit, to vote Republican, so your vote will support the church's views. I don't go to church anymore, because I'm tired of being told who to vote for and support Republican causes and candidates. I don't think churches should be involved in politics at all, isn't that how they claim their tax-exempt status – by not being involved in politics?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  152. Dave Smith, Oklahoma

    Its been my experience that the more adamantly religious persons are quite often those that sin the most during monday through saturday, and display a Fervent religious zealousness as a facade covering up for sinful behavior whether its denigrating the poor, adultery, abuse, deceit at home or work, or intolerance and unforgiving anger.
    If one truly loves God, believes, and tries to live as the bible guides, one doesnt need Arm-waving weeping screamin swaying fainting aggression to prove to anyone you are Christian. One just needs to get up, go find people in need, pray for them, help them, and sacrifice of the blessings God gave you.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  153. Mark, Fernandina Beach, Fl

    Well Jack, I think it's because going to church is torture. And the church likes to put fear in people. Fear+ torture = church.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  154. Mageen, Northern Virginia

    I don't know if you have ever really, really looked closely at some of the illustrations in the Bible or at some of the pictures or windows in various churches. What you see is actually a lot of violence. It would give someone the impression that if you are a believer then there is violence in your world. And since God made the world, that violence just might be justified and fine by Him. Christians are also fed a lot of the martyrdom stuff, and if that's what gets you into Heaven, hey, so be it. As for me, I worship at the rising of the sun and the going down of same and believe in rainbows.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  155. Mark W.

    What isn't stated in the questions is the religious faith of the supposed 'terrorist.' Most respondents would likely assume that faith to be Islam, which explains the strong correlation with regular Christian churchgoers. What the respondents didn't have the chance to say, and most of them would have, is that they believe torture is justified to protect the lives of their fellow Christians in this country. Of course, the simplest explanation is that rational, intelligent thought and religiosity are negatively correlated.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  156. Vinnie Vino


    It all can be contributed to the churchgoers state of mind. After all most of them are loyal republicans and they live their lives as devoted religious believers of a holy book, that preaches it wants an eye for an eye...

    Central Islip, NY

    May 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  157. Oregon Wally Las Vegas Nevada

    The church going folks feel they are above all wrongs. no one on earth knows the truth when it comes to god, to me they are sheep, the bible is a book, no different then a fishing book that i've never caught a fish out of....I like to deal in facts, like the saying, i don't believe anything i hear and only half i see. some people brainwash easyer then others.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  158. Roger

    Religious groups have tortured more people than any other throughout history. Think the inquisition and the crusades and witch burnings. Onward Christian Soldiers. I am actually a practicing, church-going Christian who happens to believe that the teachings of Christ are based on loving and serving your fellow man not judging and condoning violence against them as endorsed by many mainstream American churches.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  159. Cecil Furr

    Take a look at the "church" they attend for a clue. Not all chruches pretending to be Christian are teachnig Chistian principles. There is little about the 'conserative church' that resembles Christ. So to understand this poll, take a look at the profile of the 'church' these folks attend. I

    May 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  160. ConsciousAmerican

    reliance on the old testament, "an eye for an eye."

    May 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  161. Richard in Colorado

    Not all people who attend church regularly support torture , but I'll bet those that do also think going to war on a regular basis is also called for. They also try to get us to believe they want to protect unborn children, but after the child is born, they don't want to spend one dime on its health care or education. These are the same people who don't believe in birth control. Last but not least, the bible is full of hate and violence.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  162. Jason

    As someone who lives in the south I am keenly aware of how politics and religion are intertwined. That said it's easy to see the connection between church service attendance and the support of torture. Most Christians (at least in my neck of the woods) are Republicans, most Republicans favor the use of torture. It's just that simple. It just speaks to the unscrupulous nature and the hypocrisy of the Republican Party. How can so many Bible beaters completely ignore the very essence of what Jesus taught and stood for?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  163. Jane in CA

    Because evil people need more religion than good people.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  164. T. H. Strand

    Of course the religious are more apt to support torture. One has only to look at the antics of their god, particularly in the old testament.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  165. J. Brooks

    We should be surprised that people willing to suspend their reason for the sake of an imaginary divine best friend are similarly more willing to inflict cruelty on others than those who have out grown their superstitions?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  166. DC

    They're also more likely to back Wars and support the Death Penalty.

    Propaganda is a powerful tool, especially when if you disagree with it, then you're going to hell.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  167. Charle

    People are only partially rationale. Those who regularly exercise a belief in a mythical, invisible, omnipotent, omnipresent being indulge the irrational aspect of their minds more than those who do not, and thus, are more susceptible to outrageous ideas than others.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  168. Matt

    Church goes, as believers in a divine power that supercedes all, are less concerned with the emphasis on the individual. Thus, torture of an individual may be okay if it goes towards a greater good.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  169. John A. Maloney Jr.

    Because their fears of the other side allow them to rationalize the ends justify the means. This behavior happens a lot when you involve an unseen deity and fail to follow his teachings.
    John St. marys Pa.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  170. Frank

    Jack, it goes back to the Churches and church goers sense of entitlement, and non exceptance of any belief not in tune with theirs. Remember the Crusades. You would think that after Jesus was tortured and crucified on the cross they would be against torture and killing. Throughout history the church goers have attacked that which was not in tune with their beliefs like Minorities, free thinking women, gays, and anybody who isn't Christian.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  171. Dan Clemens

    The evangelical's view of God is based on their belief that the Bible is the inerrant " Word of God" ... and the Bible depicts God as being very violent toward His foes. Other religious groups and individuals, who view the Bible as not entirely dictated by God, leave room for God to be more focused on love, peace, and truth. So I think it has to do with one's view of God's character.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  172. Larry

    As a preacher's kid, I do not find these results to be surprising at all. For decades I have observed that a majority of churchgoers tend to be the least Christian thinking and behaving people among us. For them organized religion is a crutch, an opiate, if you will. Its probably always been this way and always will be as long as people try to take the easy path and 'feel' rather than think.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  173. sharon

    So-called "Christians" should be reflecting God's mercy, as Jesus did. His two key commandments were to love God and to love each other. Somehow the message has been lost among many of the "churched. " I think this is mostly due to mixing church and politics. It's hard to be on the side of George Bush and Jesus at the same time.


    May 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  174. Mary FL

    The more you are willing to let a church-leader interpret whatever text for you and to live your life based on that ruling, the more likely you are to listen to other leaders without questioning. The leaders who conducted the torture were put there by church-going evangelicals, to a large degree.

    For some, being very religious is an excuse to not think for yourself.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  175. Russ

    I think the reason why that is happening is because Christianity is inherently a black and white religion, where a person is either good or evil. It ignores the complexity of humanity and teaches its adherents that you are either with them or against them. It's easier to label them as evil and support ways to get rid of the evil than it is to have compassion and forgive them for their trespasses.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  176. Trent

    People who are most comfortable in an environment that sees the world in black and white – or in the case of churches we think of as being toward the right, in right and wrong – might also view others as being good or bad. Unfortunately, I believe they feel that "good" people must do whatever it takes to keep "bad" people from being bad – up to and including torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  177. James

    I believe that it's the fact that they read about it in the bible on a regular basis. Having it imprinted into your mind continuously will cause you to change your perceptions of what is right and wrong. Hey if they did it in the bible why not do it now?
    – Sitka, Alaska

    May 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  178. Larry @ Santa Monica

    Religious logic is a priori. It starts from a conclusion and seeks arguments to support that conclusion. Organized religion adds the further constraint of ruling out any other conclusions. With this logic, strongly supported ends can easily justify the most horrific of means. I know your 'surprise' is disingenuous, Jack. Religion is very intimidating, all those remotes in the hands of all those believers.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  179. Dave from Concord, California

    I believe the reason why regular church goers are more likely to support torture than are secular progressives is that they have a better understanding of the big picture, that there really is such a thing as pure evil in this world, as is demonstrated by the Muslim terrorists who would deliberately and intentionally target innocent civilians, including women and children. And that in the battle against pure evil, the only way to win is 'by all means necessary.'

    Secular progressives continue to harbor the idealistic, naive viewpoint that everyone is inherently good. Therefore, they fail to accept the inhumanity that is obvious in terrorists, and as such they identify equally with terrorists as they would with a decent upstanding citizen.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  180. J

    I find this strange b/c isn't the teachings of the Jesus all based around peace and forgiveness? Looks like religion is being perverted and turned into something else... something less than it should be.

    But I doubt it will make anyone stop and think for a second.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  181. Linda, Papillion NE

    Jack, Because the Bible tells them so. After all it's ok to torture all those heathens.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  182. Jeff Aita

    Because they are fearful. They go to church because the feer eternal damnation and they are for torture because they fear terrorist attacks. Fear its always fear. Oddly faith is missing

    May 1, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  183. csalafia

    "Why is it that the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support torture of suspected terrorists?"

    Because evangelicalism, for the most part, has married a particular political ideology.

    This is the worst thing that could have happened to American Christianity, as faith is traded for jingoism.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  184. K

    This concept is outrageous. Jesus clearly stated "love one another as I have loved you" and never has and never will show intolerance to another living being. Personally, I prefer to folow His example.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  185. Chris from Illinois

    Jack, I won't pretend to know the answer. But, I will say this: If you are devoutly Christian and you believe that torture is justifiable, shouldn't you take a long, second look at the words of your Lord. Jesus Christ taught peace and love. He supported the poor, the sick, and he embraced people of all races and ethnicities. What would Jesus do? He certainly wouldn't permit his followers to commit torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  186. Tom

    I am a devout Christian. However, I can say that my faith has nothing to do with my belief that "torture" is ok under certain circumstances. I believe that, in the time we live in, extraordinary measures must be taken to make sure we are kept safe. I believe we have forgotten, to some degree, 9-11. We have forgotten, not only the act itself, but the motivation of the terrorists behind it. Those motivations still exist. I believe that these poll results are due to the fact that most evangelical Christians are the more conservative members of society, that believe the safety of our homes and families comes before the "Human Rights" of those who want to destroy us.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  187. Paul from Parry Sound, Ontario

    The reason that churchgoers are more likely to support torture is that the purpose of church is to prevent spirituality.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  188. Tina, Chicago

    That would be an interesting study. Although, I don't believe that polls are an effective gauge for broad statements such as the above. I have a feeling you will be getting a lot of angry comments here, Jack.

    I try to be level-headed about things like this, but I do believe there is no instance where torture should be used. And I don't believe the information garnered is worth risking what this country is based on. All men (and women) are created equal no matter their religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or even their country of origin. We lose our humanity once we decide that another human being is unworthy of being treated as such, regarless of what they have done or are perceived to do in the future.

    So, with that brief outline of my beliefs above, I guess I should add that I do not go to church regulary, I do not believe in organized religion, nor do I believe that it is necessary for one to go to church in order to be religious.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  189. Allie in San Diego

    I don't understand it either, Jack. Perhaps they really fear death more than Judgement Day.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  190. Ellie in Aurora

    Religion has been at the core of most of the violence throughout history. There is no reason to be surprised that extremist Christians hold the same taste for abhorent behavior as do their extremist brothers and sisters in the Muslim and Jewish faiths. Religion – the root of all evil in the world!

    May 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  191. Paul

    The Hypocrisy of the church and religious right-winger shouldn't come has a surprise to anyone.....We should not forget the it was The Church performed the Spanish Inquisition, in the name of God.....So it's in those terms that the evangelist view good vs evil....Don't forget they also believe in the Apocalyse and the Final Days theory...

    May 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  192. Gigi

    Being a regular church attender and an adult Sunday School Teacher for many years (teaching the Bible), it has been a mystery to me. I think to many come for other reasons than to hear reading from scripture, learn how to cope with the mysteries of life and to fellowship with God. To praise, confess, give thanks and to ask for guidance. We teach the children about love and forgiveness, God is a god of love etc.. Then as adults many become unGodly. It's a mystery to me.


    May 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  193. Cheryl Carter

    Mr. Cafferty asked why more church-going people feel that torture is justified. I suggest that the crucificion of Christ is the reason why they feel that the torture of others is justified and particularly for non-Christians. Chriistians study the history of torture everytime they go to church. They have lost the empathy and sensitivity necessary to understand how inhuman torturing someone is.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  194. william fitzwater

    I support torture. Romans "Do not Repay Evil for Evil". I feel we have a moral impertive not to torture. Out enminies will do what they like with the people they capture but by not torture we occpie a higher moral ground and in some ways this should shame our advarsaries into showing what respect they have for the dignity of human life and freedom.
    As far as torture and being religious goes . I am a weekly Chruch goer . I am middle of the road when it comes to political views and I am often ridicled. Some more conservate people fee the means justifies the ends. If we don't get the inforamtion failrly it realy doesn't matter because they don't share our values etc. Maybee that is true but I feel it is alo part of a moral high ground to show through actions why our values and respect for belifs make people who do actions to harm us look as bad as they do thru thier actions.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  195. nikki, Pennsylvania

    My experience is that folks who are extremely devout in their religion often tend to lose their humanism. They seem to live in a spiritual place that precludes them from thinking beyond their religious beliefs. I will NEVER understand how the torture of another human being is justifiable to and God in any religion.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  196. Dave Collins

    I have a theory Jack. Atheists and Agnostics are by definition not affiliated with a religious group. The 'us' vs 'them' excuse works better if you're an Evangelical Protestant ( or whatever ) and you know all those being tortured are Muslims. Regular church attendance would only amplify this mindset. A non-religious person likely tends to see recipients of torture as human beings, not just evil-doers. Another reason, I am no fan of any religion. -Dave Göttingen, Germany

    May 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  197. John in St. Paul, MN

    I have long suspected that the majority of Americans that claim to be god fearing Christians are nothing but liars. The poll numbers you cite don’t surprise me at all. It really shows how immoral and perverted the Christian-right has become. I can’t wait for them to start claiming that Jesus would have tortured people if he had the chance.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  198. Michael J


    Thanks for bringing up this seemingly ironic poll results. However, a closer look at history brings out the obvious: the more faithful people are, the more likely they will use the same means and justifications as those of crusaders and jihadists to fight the "infidels".

    Bellevue, Washington

    May 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  199. nikki, Pennsylvania

    My experience is that folks who are extremely devout in their religion often tend to lose their humanism. They seem to live in a spiritual place that precludes them from thinking beyond their religious beliefs. I will NEVER understand how the torture of another human being is justifiable to any God in any religion.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  200. femi

    Laurel, MD.

    Hi Jack,

    Maybe its because the Church has often been guilty of such tactics itself. We all know what the Catholic Church did during the inquisition and how the religious right supported George Bush and Dick Cheney in their so called "enhanced interrogation technique". So why should we be surprised that the same people support torture?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  201. Michael Goetz

    The church I attend is very vocal about supporting anti-abortion candidates but unusually silent about other pro-life issues like unjust-war casualties, death penalty, etc. The ironic thing is the Catholic Church is big on it's followers not being "cafeteria catholics" but when it comes to what they preach from the pulpit, their preachings are strangely a la carte.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  202. Katie

    My guess would be that people who go to church often believe in consequence for wrongdoing.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  203. Sandi , Oklahoma

    Jack, I am a Christian. But, I am not a Religious fanatic. I have attended services in almost all denominations of religions. There is a big difference between church going religious people and Christians. Pretty much the same differences as between Dems and Repubs. Now can you see the connection. They both believe that what ever they choose to do is right whether God or other people approve or not.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  204. Amber Scott, Los Angeles CA

    Jack, are you really asking why church goers believe in torture when these people pray night and day for Rapture, Armageddon and the death of all 6.5 billion members of humanity at the hands of their God?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  205. ldk

    WOW!!! As a Christian and a liberal I am shocked. I would speculate that most of those in favor of torture are conservative Christians (Republicans) – but wait a minute. Torture and Christian are two things that dont belong in the same sentence. How can someone call themself a Christian yet support the torture of another human being for any reason? My answer – there's a problem. Either they arent truly a Christian or think they are and have no clue what that means. I really appreciated President Obama's remarks during his recvent press conference. – "its not who we are." You conservatives claim that this is a Christian nation. I say prove it with actions.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  206. Michael

    Most church goers picture a terrorist as someone of another faith. To them, I'd imagine, torture is just as good as a punishment for not believing in their god as it is to locate other heathens.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  207. Gaurav

    I'm not surprised, Jack. Here's why. Everyone agrees that terrorism is bad, but churchgoers are more prone to believing its "evil" – the work of Satan himself. And how else would you punish the messengers of Satan other than torturing them? The only way to break this link is through education. I'm sure that if Pew included a component of educational status in their survey, they would find an inverse relationship between education and the belief in torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  208. Denise

    This should be no surprise. Most people do not attend church nowadays to become closer to God – they attend church to surround themselves with people with like views. This provides the church-goers comfort and security in their hate and condemnation for all things not like them.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  209. Randall

    I think the answer is simple: Generally speaking, religious conservatives in this country – particularly conservative evangelicals – stopped practicing the Christian religion a long time ago and replaced it with the religion of nationalism. In other words, they’ve replaced God as the object of their ultimate adoration with their version of Uncle Sam – a Rambo-lite Uncle Sam who loves to “kick ass” – and in the process distorted the principles upon which this republic was founded in order to meet their transitory policy preferences. It is clear to me that significant portions of American Christendom understand very little of our Constitution and Laws or of Founders and even less of the Bible - this, in spite of the fact that they claim these as authoritative.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  210. Los, Los Angeles, CA

    Religions, at their core, deal in absolutes: good vs. evil, believers vs. nonbelievers, us vs. them. The effect of this is twofold: 1) those who do not share the views espoused by a particular religion are portrayed as outsiders, thereby dehumanizing them and making their mistreatment less unpalatable and 2) when torture is performed on perceived enemies of the supreme deity of one's choosing, one can always argue that it is being done in "the name of God", making even the most despicable of actions seem righteous.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  211. Debbie

    Eye for an Eye.
    And that would be fine, if we weren't a nation of laws. But we are, and we said it's wrong, so we have to stick by that.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  212. Marilyn Schaffter

    I am a Mehodist and I strongly oppose torture and I believe most Methodists share my opinion. I think torture will bring out a confession, right, wrong or just to make the torture stop. I would hate to think our policies are based on information gotten from captured enemy soldiers.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  213. Cheryl Canaday

    Why have more wars been fought and more people killed in the name of god than any other single cause? I think evangelical christians are more likely to see folks who are of another faith or of no faith as persons of evil rather than persons who adhere to a different faith, and in that context it is easier to be uncritical of torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  214. Gilbert Adams

    I think the results of the poll demonstrate the Republican Party's unfortunate stranglehold over regular church-goers, based upon only a few "hot button" issues. Those persons are politically active and unfortunately are adopting the positions of the apologists of the Bush-Cheney Adminstration who claim that torture is an acceptable practice by our government, when it most certainly is not and is illegal, immoral and hypocritical of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the New Testament.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  215. Tom Kaye

    "Turn the other cheek"

    So much for being a Christian . . .

    May 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  216. Paul

    Hey Jack,

    Thanks very much for these post. It feels like you have been reading my mind for the past couple of days. I have been wondering to myself why only the "religious folks" seem to be so bent on this torture issue. I thought Christ said "Love your brother as yourself". He even went further by saying "If someone slaps you on the cheek, show the other cheek". Pat Robertson and his gang of conservatives wish Guantanamo was in their backyard so that they too can help in the torture. God bless their soul...

    May 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  217. Daniel Kenis

    The God of the Bible—the ultimate source of morality for believers—routinely tortures people who don't obey him. In Deuteronomy 28, God says he'll inflict you with boils, sell you into slavery, and force you to eat the flesh of your children and miscarriages, "taking pleasure in your ruin and destruction," if you don't follow his laws. And that's before he tortures you forever in hell.

    The Bible condones (Leviticus 25:45) and commands (Deuteronomy 20:10) slavery. According to Exodus 21, you can legally torture your slave to the same extent the Romans tortured Jesus before they crucified him.

    So it's not really surprising that people who take this book seriously and believe it should be the basis of morality are okay with torture.

    —Chicago, IL

    May 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  218. Kat

    I have no idea. I always thought that church going people should be kinder, more forgiving. At least that is what Jesus taught. But i see things being totally opposite – there are more hypocrites among church goers.

    May 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  219. Greg Pelander

    Jack, I think your statistics are misleading. Bush supporters on average tend to support torture; Christian evangelicals on average tend to be Bush supporters; so of course Christian evangelicals are going to support torture, just as they are against gay marriage and gun control.

    A better question would be how delusional do you have to be to read the bible, go to church every Sunday, ask yourself WWJD, and still think that torture is OK?

    May 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  220. Vic of New York


    The term "church-going" is a good one. Catholics, Conservative Protestants, "Born Again" Christians, or Muslims - it's all the same. The pshychology of religion is almost always: "holier than thow, god forgives our transgressions, becaue we are in the right"

    Whether it was the middle ages, where clergy and believers would murder on behalf of the Church and be "forgiven" by thier bishop; or modern day Muslims blowing themselves up in crowded areas, the belief that "god is behind you" has somehow made it OK to commit all kinds of attrocities throughout history.

    So why would it surprise you that the more church going someone is, the more likely they are to support torture? After all, "God is with the righteous" - and Lord only knows they are the "righteous".

    May 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  221. Shoma

    That is because the pastors not only preach religion, but also preach politics . It is not a secret that most pastors are pro-life and pro-Republican. And it sounds like politics takes precedence over morality .

    Florence, SC

    May 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  222. eddie

    these people twist the bible to their own political gain.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  223. Denis Quinlan

    Jack, It's an old story – religion can bring out the best in us and the worst in us. My church (Roman Catholic) has a long history that includes the perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition who wrote the book on torture, as well as Mother Teresa of Calcutta a true saint in our time. And as to why people can be so bad and so good, all in the name of religion, is a question begging for an answer.

    Denis Quinlan
    Asheville, NC

    May 1, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  224. S Burns

    I'm from the Christian Left–Presbyterian–mainline if you will. Check the polls on us and you will find that we do not support torture. Why? Maybe because we are not told what we should support but are encouraged to read and study and and then, in thoughtful prayer, make out own decisions.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  225. Diane Panama City FL

    Just because someone is religious doesn't mean they are moral. The origins of waterboarding come from the religious. It was invented by the Catholic Church during the Inquisition to elicit false confessions from those whom they deemed heretics.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  226. Ginger

    It's the punitive nature of Christians. They enjoy the rush of getting "an eye for an eye".

    Valencia, CA

    May 1, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  227. David, Brooklyn

    As a regular church goer in the Catholic church it was difficult this past election season to read the diocesan newspaper each week as it took on more and more the tone of a right wing blog.

    There's your answer.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  228. Irina

    A person, who has not been tortured themselves, cannot know or understand what it is. Their so called "opinion" that torture can be justified shows lack of imagination, lack of empathy and lack of decency.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  229. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    without generalizing of course, I think anyone who supports torture has forgotten his or her moral compass and has lost its way in life!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  230. Paul San Antonio, TX

    Churchgoers have used the Bible to justify slavery, discrimination, and most recently the denial of rights for all Americans; why should this situation be any different?

    May 1, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  231. Tim

    This is an easy one, Mr. Cafferty. Have you noticed how religion is practiced these days? It's not about improving self. It's about damning others that don't follow your beliefs. That's the main reason why fundamentalist christians will never get along with fundamentalist muslims. Too much alike.


    May 1, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  232. Jamal Saint Petersburg, FL

    I believe that they may find tortue acceptable because of the Bible's depiction of a place called Hell, where God sends the sinner to be tortured everlasting. I am a believer, but I'll leave the painful stuff to God, if had to use force to get answers, I can't go wrong with showing my suspect cheesy re-runs of 80's TV shows.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  233. K Browne

    Dear Jack:

    I am a church goer from a very conservative denomination and there is nothing in the Bible that supports Torture. The only time Jesus exhibited any anger was when the temple was being desecrated. The so-called Christian right is a misnomer. Jesus said my kingdom is not of this world. The lesson for me is that I should raise my family with Christian values and the rest will take care of itself. I am very thankful for the human rights that we enjoy and I pray that these will remain in tact.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  234. Andrew, Tampa, FL

    The church has gotten too involved in politics, and now they have forgotten what it means to be a Christian.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  235. arlene in iowa

    Thats a really interesting question..I go to church about 3 times a month and i don't have an answer for that question jack..

    May 1, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  236. Juanita

    Mr. Cafferty:

    True followers of Christ would not see torture as a legitimate means to gather information. It is stated in the Bible in the book of Ecclesiastes that there is a "time to kill", which justifies legitimate wars. However, it is not noted or implied any where in scripture that there is a "time to torture".

    May 1, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  237. Kim in Houston

    Same reason they can be pro-life, pro- death penality and anti-government social programs to support the new life they claim to care so much about. Most are hypocrites!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  238. Stephanie - from Florida

    How are they measuring their faith? It seems so high. Perhaps they should check their calibration. Since there are occasional glitches, they need make sure that they are sufficiently backed up with some adquate weaponry and plans (that include torture) , in the event that plan A fails.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  239. Shari Stephenson

    I am a regular church goer and I hate torture and so do most in my congregation, so I find this very disturbing. I wish you would change the wording to read why are more 'fundamentalist' church members supporting torture rather than just why are more church members.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  240. Howard M., Bolingbrook IL


    This is one of the most thought provoking questions you have ever posed for input.

    Many people that I have met during my 60 years of life that are avid churchgoers use that activity as a veneer. My life observations has been that for many of those type folks avid church going is just a shroud. I have seen/found that far too many of those folks are the meanness and most vindictive people I have ever encountered.

    I don't mean to be offensive, that's just my life experience.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  241. Dallas from California


    Unfortunately, there are many in the world who affirm to be a member of a faith, without really understanding it. Terrorists who kill in the name of Allah and Christian church-goers who support torture are only two modern examples. They have yet to learn the meaning of "Love thy neighbor as thyself".

    What has happened is that these individuals have bought into a social and political culture that includes going to church, but does not include a comprehension that the religious and moral ideals they profess to believe are in direct opposition to torture. You could add to that list – preemptive war, ignoring the poor, and destroying the planet.

    Indeed, "the way is narrow and few are they that find it."

    May 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  242. RIfey

    I am a christian and I do not support torture. I am also a democrat. I have republican family members and friends who think that all christians are expected to be pro-life, there for they believe all christians should be republican. They vote on the issue of abortion every election. They would agree with ANYTHING that the Bush and Cheney administraion did because they are so close minded. In their way of thinking, if you are republican then automatically anything you do under a rebublican president is ok and godly. I am a democrat Christian and believe that we shouldn't judge others...or torture others. That isn't what Jesus would have us do!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  243. Lisa in Shelton

    I'm in church twice a week or more – and I believe that not only is torture illegal, it is a reprehensible abuse of human rights and I hope the Americans who authorized, condoned, administered, witnessed and ignored it, right up to members of our former White House and Justice Dept and various "agencies" – all deserve to be tried for their crimes, and not be pardoned if they're found guilty. Pardoning criminals (like sole scapegoat Scooter Libby) is an affront.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  244. BH

    They have not really read the bible!

    May 1, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  245. Didi

    I'm a Christian and horrified by torture. I think evangelicals who support torture don't know the New Testament and would even consider Jesus a wimp. I don't know what Bible they are reading. Torture accomplishes nothing and does more harm than good.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  246. Nicole

    Anyone going to church and justifying the torture, are going to church for "wrong" reasons...They haven't gotten the Lord's message

    May 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  247. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    The golden rule is not in the bible. These folks may be in the pews on Sunday but their hearts are hardened against cruelty.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  248. Brian

    Finally this question is being asked, thank you Jack. Being a regular church attendee, one might expect me to find torture, acceptable. Absolutely not! It shouldn't even be considered. The real problem is that when church and state were ordered to be separate, state did the separating, not the church. Church is more in control of politics then others might expect. Still, why do most church goers support torture? Im pretty sure Jesus didn't, being a victim of torture himself. Think about it.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  249. Gary Bonner


    As a licensed and ordained member of the clergy, it gives me great pain to say this.

    Too many Christians within the United States have fashioned for themselves a god who serves them rather than worship the God whom we serve. They have been taught by many from the "religious right" that God is an American who speaks only English and has blue eyes and blonde hair. He orchestrated the founding of our country and he loves us more than anyone else on the planet except Israel.

    When our political leaders profess to be men of God as George Bush and many Republican leaders do, many Christians ascribe a certain wisdom and a certain righteousness to their actions. This error in Christian theological perspective has lead to all manner of atrocity being committed under the cloak of God's righteousness.

    This is unfortunate and must be squarely faced and confronted by all believers.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  250. James Hineman

    Perhaps it is the tendency towards black-and-white thinking that allows the faithful to justify the means by the end? Perhaps the religious community should be more tolerant and should promote those leaders with moderate views, rather than caving in to radicals? I view Islam, Christianity, and the rest as all equally guilty of promoting this linear thinking.

    May 1, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  251. Mike

    Not sure why this should be necessarily surprising. I don't understand why people think that you need to go to church to have strong moral values. I choose to be a good person not because a book tells me to, but because I want to be.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  252. JR

    If you do a little research, you will find a correlation between religiosity and education. Specifically, the more religious are more likely to be less educated. A person who is less educated is probably less likely to be well-informed about the utility of torture and the ramifications of the policy.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  253. Zane

    It isn't surprising to me at all. Not only is there torture throughout the bible. These so called evangelicals are often the most hypocritical group of people in the world. Do unto others right ???

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  254. Mary

    Jack....the foundation of many religions is based in fear. Fear of hell, fear of eternal damnation. It isn't surprising that people who consistently hear that message week after week would find that torture – an extreme application of fear would work. After all, it works for them.

    Peachland, BC

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  255. ArtNYC

    Maybe this has nothign to do with religion but rather belief but rather in the wake of 9/11 it was more important to protect our country. Polls should be take with a grain of sal in my opinion.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  256. Catherine Speirs

    Maybe that whole idea of "an eye for an eye"??

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  257. Amy in Chicago

    This statistic just confirms what history has proven for thousands of years. Atrocities become acceptable if they're done in the name of God. Can you say 9/11?

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  258. Ryan in Los Angeles

    While "spirituality" is a personal journey and experience, western organized religion is a product and instrument of fear, and has been since before the Crusades swept through Europe and scared the local communities into joining the state-run church for fear of eternal damnation. We go to church out of fear for our souls, and we subject human beings whom we do not understand to torture out of fear for our lives.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  259. Lynda

    Jack, I go to church & my friends go to church and we DO NOT support torture. I am sick and tired of being lumped in with the evangical christians. They are giving Christianity a bad name! Those who follow Christ's example should be showing love to all, after all when asked how many times do we forgive, Christ said seven times seven, meaning an infinite number of times. The message of Jesus Christ is love and God's unending grace for all. A proud Presbyterian in Florida

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  260. Joseph Franz

    It's likely that the church-attending Americans see this as a struggle between good and evil- the evil being those tortured. If this is some sort of eternal struggle between good and evil then the torture is justified.

    Albany, CA

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  261. Tom, Switzerland

    These folks worship a figure who was tortured to death on the cross, died for their sins, and pray to a torture symbol all the time. Does it come as a surprise that for them torture can't be all bad?

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  262. Adam from Chicago


    Are we certain that the study really measures what it is we're looking for? It may well be that the religiously observant are marginally more likely to support torture because they're marginally more likely to have some other political view that better explains their support of torture. If, for example, churchgoers are more Republican than non-churchgoers, that might go some way toward explaining the correlation we see.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  263. Ben O'Hara

    Really Jack, why is this a head scratcher? All you have to do is read your history or even the Bible and it soon becomes crystal clear that almost all war and the associated atrocities have been the direct result of religious endeavors. From the birth of Christianity at least religion trumps even land grabs and economic reasons as the primary reason to go kill somebody.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  264. barry lubetkin

    It is a matter of correlation NOT causation............Churchgoers are simply more religious and more rigid and conservative in their feelings about law and order.......so they endorse torture more readily.....NO surprise!

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  265. Roanna Ossege Peoria, AZ

    I believe that the people who answered this survey supported torture out of fear after 9/11. Now that the fear has subsided they do not want to admit they were wrong anymore than the Bush administration does. It is not a matter of religious people supporting torture it is a matter of the usual hard-headed ideologues not wanting to eat their, well-deserved and even understandable, crow.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  266. Rose

    As someone who now refuses to call herself a Christian (I prefer Follower of Christ), I believe the answer is simple. Too many Christians have the idea that as Christians they are better than everyone else. I have often wondered how the must judgmental and cruel people can believe they are following the edicts of Christ.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  267. David, NY

    Indeed a head scratcher, jack. It seems to me that the people who have the most faith belive in torture because they think "god" can justify their actions so torture is perfectly ok, if you just close your eyes and...believe!

    May 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  268. Namita

    It is a known fact from considering various religions of the World that the more religious people are, the more fundamentalist they become. They do no evaluate situations from various perspectives which is why more religious people favor extreme measures.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  269. Tom Kenney

    Jack –

    It's a question of education level. Most studies show that non-believers have a higher level of education than those who are church goers.

    Tom Kenney
    Gilbert, AZ

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  270. Angelyn

    And while we're at it, whatever happened to Jesus' teachings to:

    1) turn the other cheek, and
    2) love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you?

    Many people like to conveniently forget those teachings.

    As much as this study frustrated me, we also have to note that Pew surveyed less than 800 respondents, all white. So I think the CNN question isn't really accurate.

    (i.e., the survey didn't show that ALL frequent churchgoers are more likely to support torture.)

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  271. Nick, Toronto

    I could have guessed at those poll results with pretty good accuracy. Because the 'chruch-going' populous are also in generala very hypocritical group. I would imagine if a similar poll was created on the question of the death penalty the results would be similar.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  272. linda in Columbus, Indiana

    Maybe going to church once a week isn't enough. If our servicemen were being tortured, wonder how those same polls would read??

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  273. Judith Blair

    I am sorry to reflect that the most frequent churchgoers are not espousing many of the essential truths of the major religions. From my observations, churches are too often building political points of view and a far right sensibility. I have heard torture justified not for seeking intelligence but as retribution; punishment for what "they did to us". I am not surprised to hear the research results, but I am disheartened.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  274. Cora - Hot

    Jack that is not true all religions don't believe in torture, Not if they are true christians, I am pentacost, And the word of god don"t teach that to hurt others.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  275. Greg in Chicago


    It may be as simple as the fact that evangelicals were strong supporters of President Bush, and the Bush administration is the one accused of torture, so they support torture because Bush did it.

    If a Democratic administration were the one accused of torture, they'd be against it, most likely.


    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  276. Brodie

    I think the obvious answer is that its a question of demographics, with churchgoers being more likely to be conservative, pro-security, etc.

    The less obvious answer is that it is a question of who we are torturing. If they were Christians, Christians probably wouldn't support it. Lets face it, Christians and Muslims haven't gotten along that well through history. This is an issue of religious warfare, not a case of Christians liking to inflict pain on others. Not that its any more acceptable. Its this type of misinterpretation of Jesus's teachings that keeps me out of church.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  277. vJ

    It is simple jack mere ignorance and lack of understanding on human life.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  278. Bob

    It’s interesting considering that racial Muslins feel exactly the same way.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  279. Patty S

    I'm not surprised, Jack. Throughout history, more have been subjected to torture in the name of religion than for any other reason. The Inquisition is a prime example. Ongoing terrorism. The list goes on and on.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  280. Jeff Florida

    Simple; organized religions teach hate!!

    May 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  281. Anna

    they're going to the wrong churches.


    May 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  282. Steve Johnson

    As an ordained minister I am absolutely shocked by the findings that religious people support torture more often than not. I would have to say that this approval of torture must come from political affiliation, not religious belief and devotion.

    This does not reflect the teachings of Jesus, who died by torture.
    This pole only shows that many Christians are more devoted to the Republican party than they are to Jesus Christ. And that to me is sad.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  283. Stacy McWatters


    It is real simple, the same church goers that support right to life, the death penalty would naturally support torture. Doesn't the Bible say "an eye for an eye"? Why would this surprise anyone?

    May 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  284. Pete

    The answer is easy for me Jack – a 64 year old, raised Methodist Republican, changed to Democrat and now an Independent. I am a spiritual but non-religious person, for after studying the 10 Great religions of the World, it became apparent to me that almost all wars are caused by differences in religion – not surprising that relgious factions support torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  285. Michelle, Madison, Wi.

    Dear Jack,
    Unfortunately, churches do not follow the separation of church and state rule... Instead, they preach to their congregations to vote republican regardless of any candidate's integrity due to the abortion issue.
    Churches preach to their congregations to support the republican party and loathe the Democrats because they believe the republican party supports the views and beliefs of the church.

    Therefor church goers feel a need to stand behind and support the republican party, yes, EVEN in the event of torture, or they feel they are not abiding by their church doctrine, therefor making them a "bad Christian."
    And I tell you this as a Christian.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  286. Lou

    Churches are no longer preaching the word of God... they have become dispensers for Conservative and Neo-Conservative Ideology. I am a Born Again Christian and I stopped going to church a few years ago because of its Neo-Conservative world-view on the Immigration issue. I am not Caucasian.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  287. Gregory Highfill

    Could be all those sermons about hell, fire and brimstone. It seems the more conservative the flavor of religion, the more disturbing the congregants. The divorce rate is highest among fundamentalist, while lowest among atheists.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  288. PRG

    I think any kind of torture is wrong and I try to go to church every Sunday. I'm Catholic. Maybe it has to do with a certain religious background. I would like to see a better breakdown of the voters....are they all of the Bush thought? Anyway, I guess that is why it is said that not everyone in Church will make it to Heaven. I'll bet Christ does not support torture, but a lot of people like to play God and judge, don't they?

    May 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  289. erinclot

    Evangelical Christians are some of the most judgemental people I've ever known. Most of them seem to think their worth is based more on things they do not do (drink, swear, have children out of wedlock etc.) than by the things that they do do (support torture, death penalty etc.) For what it's worth I am a Christian but I don't feel it's my place to tell anyone what to believe, I voted for Obama and I do not support torture.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  290. Larry, Ohio

    Whenever you mix religion and politics what you get is politics, a whole lot of using Gods name in vain to advance a political agenda. I would think that Evangelicals would recognize that as one of the ten commandments, or in thier case more like the ten guidelines.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  291. Michael Lockhart

    Churchgoers in America are split into "law" and "love" factions. The love faction places the Golden Rule above "rules are rules". The law faction values control, security and dogma before love. Jesus spoke of "wolves in sheeps' clothing", and it should not surprise anyone that a large number of people dressing in sheepskin have pointy teeth and little empathy for those accused of wrongdoing, despite their Master's experience with the death penalty.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  292. Kwesoe

    Anyone who says they are Christian and support torture is still living in Old Testament times. The teachings of Jesus from which Christians derive their ethic is based primarily on love for all, including neighbors and enemies. Suffice to say that the Bible as a whole is a very violent book. Think of the Cain and Able story, the story of Joshua, the numerous wars of King David and conquest of pagan kings. Even Jesus' treatment by the Romans support this claim. Jesus tried to sway the society of his time away from that violence and move them toward peace and reconciliation that he describes as love. But human nature being what it is, people still like to draw blood, an eye for an eye is easier and more retaliatory than loving terrorists. To rise above this human temptation to retaliate is the Christian challenge and many so-called Christian have difficulty meeting that challenge.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  293. Adrian Roscher

    It seems to me that the more church-going one is, the less one is likely to question authority and the more likely one is to accept the use by authority of means such as torture. Plus don't forget that the Catholic church invented many means of torture – and waterboarded in the Inquisition.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  294. Charles Brobst

    I am an Evangelical Protestant and I absolutely abhor torture, Bush and all he stood for. I can only hope that the poll which was the basis of this accusation was somehow flawed.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  295. Shelby Morrison

    I am a regular church-goer and I do not agree with my fellow Protestants in thinking that torture is ever justified. Some of my compatriots also think that God is speaking in their ear and, therefore, whatever they think must be His will. This is scarey! If God speaks so clearly, either personally of through the Bible, how can there be so many interpretations claiming to be the word of God? How do we know which one is actually God's word?

    May 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  296. Liz

    That's easy Jack! From my conversation with "regular churchgoers", most seem to believe that their religion is the "true" one. From that belief, especially in conservative churches adn ideologies, getting people to believe that their religion is threatened, be it by other religions, gays, or terrorists, is easy. And once people buy into this simplistic view of the world, it's a cinch to justify just about anything.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  297. AngelusQuest

    Churchgoers support torture because they feel justified in these activities. Almost without exception, religious folk of all faiths believe that their imaginary friend is the only answer to the world's ills. They are raised from birth to never question their leaders or their leaders' interpretations of ancient works of fiction. Religion has been a leading cause of war, intolerance, and violence world wide despite the hypocrisy of their actions. The world will never be safe as long as religious zealots are allowed to push the agendas of the voices in their heads on the rational thinking majority.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  298. Charles, Fremont, Indiana


    They probably remember the old saying...remember the past or you are doomed to repeat it. I still have nightmares of looking out of a window in a skyscraper seeing a jumbo jet heading right towards me. Must be easy to second guess success. What would they say about President Bush if we got attacked more than the two that happened on 9/11/2001. Church goers are not door mats.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  299. carlos Pippa

    It does not surprise me. These were the same people in the for front of segregation, many of them were leaders of the KKK, the last ones interested in social justice. They have a very narrow definition of family values and being pro-life.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  300. James

    If you go to church you are told of stories that involve torture from a young age. So you are used to the idea that torture can be a tool used for good. Also they believe that if you have god on your side that it's okay to use any method possible to protect your beliefs.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  301. mitch

    I don't know why but this is why I quit going to church. Organized religion has gotten why out of hand and almost cult-like. These conservative churchgoers say they are rightous by being anti-abortion, yet they turn around and support things like torture and the death penalty.

    May 1, 2009 at 5:16 pm |