May 1, 2009

Not good news for evangelicals on morality

At least from my perspective. This Pew Forum poll examines the breakdown of how Americans approach torture. They break down the question to can torture be justified, "often, sometimes, rarely, or never."

Overall, 49% of Americans say that torture can be often or sometimes justified. I find that number rather appalling. But then when you see how it breaks down by religion and church attendance. 62% of white Evangelical protestants say that torture can be often or sometimes justified, and include the lowest percentage (16%) who say that torture can never be justified. Mainline protestants are on the other end of the scale, with 46% often or sometimes, and 31% saying never. Those who attend church at least weekly support torture more than those who do not attend church at all.

I don't think this poll reflects very well on us as a country, to be honest, but am just amazed at how evangelicals respond to this question. It explains why that group stayed with Bush, but does not bode well for those who claim to be part of the "moral values" voting bloc.


Streak said...

From a similar poll last year, we get one view that gives us a hint why evangelicals support torture in larger numbers: "The new poll found that 44 percent of white Southern evangelicals rely on life experiences and common sense to determine their views about torture. A lower percentage, 28 percent, said they relied on Christian teachings or beliefs."

The good news is that when pressed to justify torture on Christian faith, fewer could do so. The bad news is that so many evangelicals compartmentalize their faith away from broader social and moral questions.

But however we parse this, it is just a sad day that the church goers are more supportive of torture. Just sad.

Monk-in-Training said...

I think that could be part of the core issue. We Christians have compartmentalized our faith for too long.

I am deeply saddened by this poll. No wonder people don't want to be around us.

steves said...

I think a lot of Christians compartmentalize their faith or pick and choose what parts of the Bible they want to follow. I wish I could say that I didn't do this, but I am not as consistent as I should be.

Streak said...

The issue of compartmentalizing seems a problem to me. I am not sure how else to explain evangelicals supporting torture. I just don't understand it.

As I mentioned to an evangelical friend today, I don't think they understand how horrific this appears to people outside the conservative evangelical circle. As Monk notes, it doesn't exactly encourage people to join in. I am not quite sure why that doesn't bother my evangelical friends a little more.