We are a religious, torture-loving nation

It is bad enough that almost the entire top echelon of the Bush administration authorized, condoned, and even encouraged the most disgusting forms of torture and that the Obama administration is protecting these criminals. What is even worse is that surveys show that a majority of Americans actually support the CIA’s acts of torture by a margin of 59-31% and similar majorities think that torture produced useful information, that the torture report should not have been released, and that the people who committed torture should not be prosecuted.

The survey provides a very disturbing view of how people can view themselves as highly moral people and lecture other nations on human rights and yet support the most awful acts.

The breakdown by religion is interesting. When asked if the CIA’s use of torture was justified or unjustified, a new survey found huge majorities of the various religious groupings in the US supported it and that the more religious one is, the more likely to justify the use of torture. The only group for which more people said it was unjustified was the non-religious. (The graphic is from Steve Benen of the Maddow blog.)


While that is encouraging, it was not nearly as large a majority against torture as I would have liked to see among the heathen.


  1. busterggi says

    What do you expect from people who believe that there is a ruler of the universe who delights in torturing people for eternity and that’s a good thing.

  2. Jackson says

    Also interesting is that they left out of the breakdown Muslims, and any religion aside from Christianity.

  3. Nick Gotts says


    No, it’s not really interesting. I’d bet it’s simply a function of the fact that they interviewed a limited sample of people, and the numbers of those professing other religions was insufficient for the results to be meaningful. If you go to the actual poll and click on “detailed view”, and then on the “Show results by”, you’ll find that the only ethnic groupings shown are “White, “**Non-white**” and “Hispanic”, that “Libertarian”, “Green” and “Socialist” do not appear among the political categories, etc.

  4. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Off topic here sorry but just want to say if I may please :

    Mea culpa. I am sorry. I apologise to Mano Singham and to y’all here for some of the things I’ve written on this blog before.

    Many of the things I’ve typed here before even. Earlier this year, maybe in past years too if memory serves – pretty definitely since I’ve been posting here however long ago that was. Those who know me from here & FTB generally know what I mean I hope. Maybe?

    I am sorry and, as cliched as it is, I actually do / did have Muslim friends / acquaintances, Muslim neighbours, in my life and I do worry for them now. Yes, that I am scared *for* them not worry of them right now despite recent events here in Oz. The Iranian family that lived next door to me and my family for a while – they were (are!) good people. The Muslim lecturers I used to know ,years ago; they were – are – good people. I don’t want them harmed and don’t want anyone harmed who isn’t out to harm others.

    I accept that I’ve said some Islamophobic things before here, yes, okay racist things even and I would like to now apologise for that now. If I could go back and take a lot of the hateful words I used to say here back now I would but since that’s impossible I’ll just say, well, this – I was wrong and I am sorry. You don’t have to accept my apology, I will understand if you don’t but its here on offer anyhow. I was wrong to call for bombing people and hurting people, I wan’t trolling because I meant at the time what I said before but I accept now I was wrong to say a lot of those things, I did get carried away in the heat of argument and I was and am pretty messed up and, again, I was wrong and I am sorry. I will try to do and be better in future and make up for some of the damage I’ve caused.

  5. StevoR says

    Testing new login thingummy – hopefully a small gesture of conciliation. What happened to the old FTB log in thingamajig btw?

  6. says

    The support for torture is another example of “us and them” thinking. As long as it happens to “them”, people don’t care what’s done in their name. Decades ago in the US when black people were railroaded into false convictions and executions based on unfounded claims, white America didn’t care because blacks were “them”. When a thousand jews were sent back to Europe on the USS St. Louis, the US public didn’t care because jews were “them,” even though they knew what the Nazis were doing at that time. When false accusations of being “all predators and pedophiles” were lobbed against gay people, straight America turned a blind eye because LGBTQ people were “them”.

    It’s also remiscent of Martin Niemoller’s poem. People are willing to sit back and do nothing as long as it doesn’t affect themselves. So what happens when the general public, the 99% become “them”, when white America is as much as target of the system as anyone? If the teabaggers are any indication, they’ll happily sit back and let the US become a fascist oligarchy, as will the religious if those creating the oligarchy invoke religion while doing it.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    StevoR – glad to see you making a serious effort at change.

    What, may I ask, precipitated this new perspective?

  8. says

    StevoR: Thank you, at least, for offering the apology. It does mean something (to me at least), and it’s better than a lot of people are able to manage.

  9. StevoR says

    @ 8. Pierce R. Butler : “What, may I ask, precipitated this new perspective?”

    Time & thought.

    I guess a lot of things really.

    I wasn’t happy with how I felt arguing here and other places, I’m pretty messed up in a lot of ways & I know that.

    I think the fact that I do know some Muslim people and they aren’t bad people at all was the main thing. I did – and do -think of them – then when we had the Sydney siege here and the backlash seems to hit and so many joined the #Illride with you hashtag and, well, a lot more besides too. But that.

    Sort of, ended up thinking and, yes, saying that well one scumbag extremist really doesn’t represent them all and then realising that was the very same (il)logical trap I’ve kinda fallen into myself here.

    Plus again, arguing and getting hammered here (both colloquial senses) and thinking I hate this, it ain’t really who I am or how I want to come across because it’s really not what or how I think and yet I’m saying & coming across as that etc ..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *