#TortureReport: Does Religion Change Opinions on Torture?

by Anthony Sibley (AJ) on Dec 27, 2014 | Views: 376 | Score: 2
Believe CIA Treatment JustifiedNot Justified
No Religion4153
All Americans5931
White Catholics6623
White Evangelical Protestants6920
White Non-Evangelical Protestants7522
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Anthony Sibley (AJ)
Anthony Sibley (AJ) on Dec 21, 2014 8:09 PM said:

A poll following the recent Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing CIA "enhanced interrogation techniques" on suspected terrorists has found nonreligious Americans to be "effectively alone in their opposition to torture," across racial, gender, age, economic, educational, and other breakdowns. Attitudes on torture, and in what circumstances it may be justified, are likely to reflect individuals' religious convictions, which factor heavily in shaping moral judgments and political ideology. A 2009 Pew survey found similar results, though with political ideology as a better predictor.

Charlotte A.
Charlotte A. on Dec 30, 2014 11:11 AM said:

I think people who are minorities within a country are more likely to oppose torture. If you are a minority, it is easier to imagine yourself as being persecuted and tortured, and therefore easier to have sympathy for the tortured person.

Peter Graham
Peter Graham on Jan 4, 2015 5:29 PM said:

I'm not sure any Christian sect explicitly advocates retributive 'justice.' Unfortunate that their followers somehow end up using their perceived superior moral codes in justifying torture. Religious teachings are, after all, universal maxims, and not to be applied whenever it's convenient.

Anthony Sibley (AJ)
Anthony Sibley (AJ) on Jan 8, 2015 12:02 AM said:

Peter, exactly right.

Charlotte, great insight. This certainly could play a role, especially for the 'no religion' group. I would question how many Americans honestly believe their government has any likelihood of torturing them, though. Certainly not for Christians, I would say, who, regardless of their denomination, are probably not likely to experiences the feelings often associated with being of a minority group. This is obviously conjecture, and I could certainly simply be unaware of others' lived experiences, overly optimistic for the future, or else naive truly to our government's dealings hah... but I certainly hope not!

Thanks for commenting y'all!

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