When it comes to my blog, I try to stay away from politics. Really, this post isn’t even about politics, but it is about the words of a politician who openly professes a faith in Christ, and who recently made some unusual comments about baptism.
She puts it best really. To set the stage, she just called Democrats hypocrites for allowing kids to cuss up a storm at school, but wanting to silence any child attempting to pray in school [which I’m confident isn’t a real thing]. She then follows up with this rant:
Now I do have to apologize for that. I am sorry. Not all intolerant, anti-freedom, leftist liberals are hypocrites…I’m kidding YES THEY ARE! [Applause and laughter] And they are not right. Policies that poke our allies in the eye and coddle adversaries instead of putting the fear of God in our enemies.
Enemies who would utterly annihilate America. They who’d obviously have information on plots to carry out jihad. Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen [“Smidgen” said in falsetto voice].
Well…if I were in charge…. [pause for the crowd to start screaming] …they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists. [screams and applause from the audience]. – Sarah Palin
If you’d like to watch her passionate speech about guns, hypocritical Democrats, and waterboarding as a viable mens of baptism, check out the video below. The specific quote in question starts around 6:15.
In case you’re unfamilar with how waterboarding works, there’s a diagram below. You can see a fuller version HERE.
- Restrain the person
- Place a towel over their face
- Pour water on the towel
The water and towel combination makes it impossible for the person to breathe, but it leaves no external evidence of torture.
So we’re clear, Sarah Palin is openly a non-denominational Christian who has a series of books on faith and family available in Christian book stores. Therefore, as I write the rest of this, I write as if responding to the words of a fellow believer and their attitude towards those far from Christ.
As a quick first thought, there’s something very distasteful about a Christian making a joke where you equate waterboarding with a spiritual sacrament.
As for torture as a subject, I don’t know that I’m qualified to discuss the ethics of using torture to save lives. I’ve seen a lot of 24, and in the show torture seems like a viable, reasonable, and necessary option. Of course, if the best defense of torture is a TV show, that’s kind of a problem. While I don’t particularly want to discuss torture as an issue for a nation, I would like to spend some time discussing how a Christian should view other people.
So long as we view TERRORISTS as TERRORISTS instead of people, we dehumanize them. They’re merely mustache twirling caricatures in our heads. They don’t feel real pain. They’re heartless monsters who we can treat however we want.
Unfortunately, as Christians we don’t have the luxury of dehumanizing ANY human.
“Terrorists” are Created in the Image of God
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
“Terrorists” are Dead in Their Transgressions and Sins…just like I once was
Ephesians 2:1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
“Terrorists” Need God’s Grace & Mercy and the Redemption Which Comes Through Faith in Jesus
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
How Should We Respond To Our Enemies?
What I find most troubling about Sarah Palin’s words about terrorists is that they are devoid of any love for her enemies. Just moments before flippantly advocating waterboarding terrorists, she made comments about how Democrats oppose prayer in schools. As it turns out, Jesus had a few things to say about how we should treat and pray for our enemies.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
Our hearts should break for the depravity that would lead these people to do such extreme acts of violence, but our hearts should also break when we flippantly respond by enacting equally extreme acts of violence against them.
If our heart is for bloodlust and vengeance against someone created in God’s image, we must repent. All people, whether entitled children, youth group kids, politicians, business men, pastors, or terrorists need Jesus.
We don’t make jokes about torturing those far from Jesus, we pray for them and show them love.