Sunday, March 18, 2007

"torture chic" is the Republicans' Roe v Wade -- destroyer of souls

Mark Shea continues to be a strong Catholic voice speaking out against our embrace of torture as a weapon against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. He notes that Maclin Horton likens the right's embrace of torture to the left's embrace of abortion. Horton writes:
Another item over at Dreher's deals with a piece by William F. Buckley suggesting that Iraq will be to the Republicans what the Vietnam war was to the Dems. I wonder if a better analogy might be to Roe v. Wade, and to abortion rights in general. The Democrats had either to embrace that view and alienate the cultural right, or reject it and and alienate the cultural left (n.b. I haven't forgotten a promised explanation of what I mean by that term, just haven't been able to concentrate for long enough). Many of us believe that in choosing the latter course on abortion and related social issues, the Democratic party lost its soul.

The Republican party may be doing the same thing on Iraq, and on Islamic terrorism in general. I don't mean by going to war in the first place. I think there was a reasonable moral case to be made for the Iraq war and have sometimes described myself as an uneasy supporter of it. And I'm still praying every day for a decent and stable government to emerge out of the mess.

I mean rather the temptation to discard long-held principles, now that the thing is going so badly: principles against taking innocent life and the use of torture. And I don't mean the occasional violation of those principles, which can be forgiven, but the conscious and explicit rejection of them. It's not when you say "I know this is wrong but, God help me, I can't resist doing it anyway" that your soul is in the greatest danger. It's when you say "I can't resist doing it, so it must not be wrong," because you've hardened your heart by an act of will. You've added the sin of pride to the sin of disobedience, and the road back home from that place is far longer and more difficult.

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