political theology, terror, thesis, torture

On Torture, or Why America Should be Damned

A short video of an interrogation of Omar Khadr was released today. It shows torture for what it really is: a violent, coerced conversion. As usual, it made me sick. And again, made me realize my complicity. God help us.

From my thesis on torture:

The abstract “how” of torture, the grammar so to speak, is quite easy to cerebrally understand. Indeed, it is simple – the means of torture is overwhelming pain (physical or psychological) inflicted on a thoroughly vulnerable person by another human being to destroy the subject’s world. Either way the end result is a writhing, shamed, terrorized bio-mass that was once a human being. As one inflicts massive amounts of pain on the other, there is a great gulf created between the torturer and tortured. The tortured has lost, while the torturer has forcibly taken control of the relationship resulting in one of the most sadistic, one-sided relational situations ever conceived: “Every weapon has two ends. In converting the other person’s pain into his own power, the torturer experiences the entire occurrence exclusively from the nonvulnerable end of the weapon.” There is no gifting in such a relationship, only violation and impressment, for violence and blinding pain is the ruling language and defining experience.

I wrote my MA thesis regarding torture. For a much lengthier treatment, one can download it here, titled “Responding Theologically in the Face of Torture: Re-Politicizing American Christianity in Light of the Interruptive Jesus.” I realize quoting myself may seem a tad narcissistic, but I’m a bit busy and since I’ve already written on it, I might as well use what I’ve done. Its not like I’m pulling a Piper and quoting from another book I wrote, telling you to buy that as well…


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