A new Pew poll correlates Evangelical Christian profession with support for the torture of “suspected terrorists.” That correlation is 79%. See the poll results here. And see here and here for dissection of the poll.
In other words, eight in ten professing Evangelicals somehow manage to call themselves followers of Jesus as well as at least occasional supporters of torture. And fully 62% think torture is not just something that can be “rarely” justified, but rather is it something that can “sometimes” or “often” be justified.
More than half.
How on earth can such a thing happen?
And it’s even worse than this, for there is no other major religious group in the United States that supports torture more than professing Evangelicals. Indeed, opposition to torture is actually highly correlated with non-religious enthusiasm and attendance. Put differently: atheists and agnostics have a clearer head on torture as a moral evil than Evangelicals, and the less that you attend church, the more likely it is that you oppose torture.
26% of the religiously non-affiliated told Pew pollsters flat out that torture can never be justified. Period. But only 16% of Evangelicals could muster the same response.
I’m doing my best to get my head around this. How can someone who enthusiastically professes to follow an unjustly tortured outsider (Jesus) also support the torture of outsiders who have not even received a trial?
At least Jesus got one of those first.
In other words, how could one’s Christianity become so, well, perverse? I have a theory. Strong professions of religiosity—particularly of the Bible literalist and fundamentalist variety—correlates with psychological authoritarianism.
What’s your theory?