A number of evangelical leaders have made opposition to torture without exceptions a moral cause over the past three years, part of a broadening of the movement’s agenda beyond traditional culture war issues.
But others, like my neighbor, think otherwise.
Gary Bauer, a former Republican presidential candidate affiliated with several Christian right groups over the years, said the discussion should not come down to "Would Jesus torture?"
"There are a lot of things Jesus wouldn’t do because he’s the son of God," he said. "I can’t imagine Jesus being a Marine or a policeman or a bank president, for that matter. The more appropriate question is, ‘What is a follower of Jesus permitted to do?’"
Bauer said the answer is "it depends" — but the moral equation changes when the suspect is not a soldier captured on a battlefield but a terrorist who may have knowledge of an impending attack. He said he does not consider water-boarding — a form of interrogation that simulates drowning — to be torture.
"I think if we believe the person we have can give us information to stop thousands of Americans from being killed, it would be morally suspect to not use harsh tactics to get that information," Bauer said.