“Torture is not always impermissible,” argues Charles Krauthammer in “The Truth About Torture”, his provocative essay in The Weekly Standard. “However rare the cases, there are circumstances in which, by any rational moral calculus, torture not only would be permissible but would be required (to acquire life-saving information). And once you’ve established the principle, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, all that’s left to haggle about is the price. In the case of torture, that means that the argument is not whether torture is ever permissible, but when–i.e., under what obviously stringent circumstances: how big, how imminent, how preventable the ticking time bomb. ”
The “truth” about torture is an issue being widely addressed throughout the country, yet our sense is that the Christian intellectual community has been relatively silent on this important issue. We believe a symposium of this nature could significantly aid and inform the Church and the wider culture and help provide clarification on the principles involved in judging this practice. In order to open the dialogue we have asked several leading Christian ethicists and opinion journalists to respond to Dr. Krauthammer’s article and to address the questions: “What is the truth about torture from a Christian worldview? Is torture ever allowed? And if so, under what conditions and circumstances? ”
The responses appear below in alphabetical order:
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