You might think that after all those tens of millions of Evangelical Christians watched The Last Temptation of Christ, they perhaps developed at least a mild disdain for governments that hire soldiers to inflict violent brutality upon their prisoners.
A new national survey just released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals that it is precisely those folks who ate up Mel Gibson’s blockbuster — church-going Evangelical Christians — who are far more likely to support the use of torture than non-religious Americans. And of several groups representing various religious orientations, it is secular Americans that are actually the group most opposed to the use of torture.
What’s the deal? I thought Christians were into things like mercy, love, and forgiveness. Not water-boarding. Maybe I missed it, but of the thirty or forty times that I’ve read the New Testament — particularly the Sermon on the Mount — I just don’t recall the “Thou Shalt Torture” passages. It is fascinating that on this clear question of morality, church-going Christians seem to be the most, well, challenged.