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Torture Of Prisoners Is An Obvious Sin
Which No Christian Should Ever Support

By Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - Internet Church Of Christ -
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I am speaking now as an Internet Christian minister, to all those American voters and elected officials who consider themselves to be Christians. In particular, I am speaking to those Conservative Protestant Christians who have in the past been the most reliable supporters of President Bush, no matter what he has tried to do.

And here is my message to you: "Torture of prisoners is an obvious sin which no Christian should ever support." In case you think otherwise, here are the Scriptures which make this fact absolutely clear. I am quoting from the three Bible versions which are most favored by Conservative Protestant Christians: The the King James Version (KJV), the New International Version (NIV), and the New American Standard Version (NASB). All of these Bible quotations are provided by, a long-established trusted Christian source.

First, I cite Matthew 7:12, from Jesus' "Sermon On The Mount." In this Scripture, Jesus teaches us that all of "the Law and the Prophets" is summarized in this one verse. Please read it carefully, and then try to see how this Scripture permits torture of prisoners:

Matthew 7:12

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (KJV)

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (NIV)

In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (NASB)

If you were a prisoner, would you like to be tortured? Obviously not. Therefore you should not torture your prisoners, if ever you have any. And we should not permit our Government to torture our prisoners, either. In America, We The People are the Government. Bush is our employee, and we can remove him from office by impeachment if we choose to do so, acting through our elected representatives in Congress. Therefore, his sins are our sins, unless we oppose him as strongly as we can.

Next, I cite Galatians 5:14, where the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is writing to the first-century Christians in Galatia (now part of Turkey.)

Galatians 5:14

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (KJV)

The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (NIV)

For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." (NASB)

And who is my neighbor? Jesus answered this exact question by telling the story of "The Good Samaritan," which teaches us that everyone is our neighbor. Also see Also please notice that Matthew 7:12 and Galatians 5:14 both give the same instruction to us, namely, to treat all people with love, just as we would like to be treated in a similar situation.

But some people may say, "Yes, I know it is a sin to torture prisoners. But maybe it is necessary to accomplish the greater good of saving innocent lives."

In response to this, I cite First Corinthians 10:13, where Paul is filled with the Holy Spirit, writing to the Christians in Corinth. He teaches us that God will always give us a way to accomplish any good purpose without the need to sin.

1 Corinthians 10:13

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (KJV)

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (NIV)

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (NASB)

If we want to avoid sin, God will always make a way for us to do so. Hungry people do not need to steal food. Cold people do not need to steal clothing. Lonely people do not need to have sex with another person's wife. Poor people do not need to covet another person's possessions. Fearful people do not need to bomb apartment buildings or torture their prisoners. Oppressed people do not need to murder innocent civilians.

God will always make a way for our legitimate needs to be met without causing us to sin. Count on it! Sin is always avoidable. It is never necessary for any of us to sin against other people or against God. If we keep on looking, trusting God to give us what we need, He will always provide us with an acceptable way to accomplish any good purpose.


"Yes," you may say. "But what about the Ticking Bomb scenario, where a nuclear bomb has been planted, set to go off in an hour. You have captured a prisoner who knows where the bomb is located. If you don't torture the prisoner, to make him tell you where the bomb is located, a million innocent people will surely die."

This is the kind of situation most frequently given by those who feel it is necessary to use torture to extract information. "Isn't it better to torture or kill one person than to allow a million other people to die?"

In reply, let me point out that people being tortured will tell you anything they think will stop the pain, whether it is true or not. During the Satanic period of medieval Christianity -- when they had the Inquisitions and the Crusades -- Christian priests would routinely torture suspected witches in order to extract "information" about other witches. As it turned out, most of this information was completely wrong, because the tortured prisoners would simply start naming innocent people in order to stop the pain. And thousands of non-witches were burned at the stake as a result. For details see

Similarly, in the Ticking Bomb scenario, the tortured prisoner could very well give false information, just to stop the pain: "The bomb is in the big green barn in the next town." You go running off to the big green barn to disarm the bomb, but it's not there! Meanwhile, at the true location of the bomb, it goes off as planned, killing the million people. Your torture has gained you nothing.

And so it is in our present situation. Our badly-advised President truly believes we need to torture our prisoners to extract needed information to protect innocent Americans. (Disregard the obvious lie that "what we are doing is not torture." Of course it's torture. Are you blind?)

But he is wrong. And it is the moral obligation of every Christian to oppose him in this sinful, needless pursuit.

When Judgment Day comes for you, and the Lord asks you, "Why did you let them torture the prisoners?" - what are you going to tell Him, "The President said we needed to do it?" I hope not.

Blessings to you. May God help us all.

# # #

May the Lord bless this presentation of His holy Word.

     Rev. Bill McGinnis  <><

See more pages like this, at our Index of Pearls Of Faith, a treasury of Biblical truths.

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Blessings to you. May God help us all.

       Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director -

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