A Christian radio show host asked me the other day how I could, as a believer, be cool with waterboarding terrorists for intel crucial to our national security—or, as I like to call it, the implementation of the Irrigation for Information Act. Irrigation sounds so much more pleasant than torture, oui? Oui.
I told my inquiring host that as a patriotic white male Christian redneck, as far as I can deduce from the holy text, Jesus and the balance of Scripture seem to be okay with dunking Achmed if said butt munch has the 411 regarding the 10/20 of the next mass slaughter of innocent Americans. Call me crazy. I’m well aware, however, that I could be committing an exegetical error given the fact that I’m white and male and all. This is my cross.
Please note: If Christ wasn’t cool with irrigating irate Islamicists for facts, I must admit, I would still have to green light our boys getting data from enemy combatants 007 style. Stick a fire hose up their tailpipe and turn it on full blast. I don’t care. I’m not as holy as most of you super saints or as evolved as some of you progressive atheists purport to be. Security beats spirituality in this scenario, as far as I’m concerned.
Now, as you can imagine, the holier-than-I show host was a tad bit taken aback by my confidence and giddiness over teaching captured terrorists how to snorkel minus the snorkeling gear if it would keep our country safe. He saw that as somehow incongruent with the Clay Aikenization of the sassy Christ a stack of Americans now worship. He then asked me, in kind of a tsk-tsk tone, for a proof text or two from Jesus’ lips and la Biblia that would come even close to him wishing or implementing ill on those who would harm or kill the innocent. This was like taking candy from a baby for me.
How’s this for starters, Slappy? In John 2:12-17 Jesus whipped religious hacks who were turning God’s temple into a Costco for religious crap. According to San Juan’s account, it was the second thing Jesus did after John baptized him in the river Jordan. The first thing he did was turn water into wine. That’s two things lame evangelicals can’t imagine Jesus doing: making wine or using a whip, but I digress.
Yep, Jesus opened up a can of whup ass on charlatans in the temple. He didn’t pray for them or write them an angry email with the caps lock on or call them “man-made religious disasters” that we need to apologize to for forcing them to sell overpriced spiritual curios. Nope, he methodically sat down, got ticked, made a whip and cleared the punks.
Having that snapshot of Christ violently snapping on the 1st century televangelists in the temple, I’m a thinkin’ that if he got that riled up over overpriced Precious Moments figurines, personally whipped the culprits for it and then ransacked their product display tables, more than likely he would be cool with submerging a couple of murderous morons who have information regarding the pending liquidation of thousands of innocent civilians. (And by the way, I’ll take water in the face over a whip to the back any day of the week.)
If you still think he would have problems with waterboarding the wicked who have the poop on potential terror plots, then what do you do with the story of Noah’s Ark? Correct me if I’m wrong, but those chumps got waterboarded to the max, right? Aw, what’s the matter? Does that 411 not fit with the Jesus you made up? Shame.
Not only did Jesus flog greedy religious freaks, he, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, created this little place called hell for the wicked—which makes Gitmo look like a Chuck E. Cheese. Although, come to think of it, Chuck E. Cheese is quite hellish. Bad analogy. You get my point.
In Matthew 18:6 Jesus said if you harmed a little kid it would be better for you to have a chunk of concrete tied around your neck and tossed into the drink off Miami Beach compared to what the Trinity has prepared for you in eternity (author’s paraphrase). Sounds bad, eh? Worse than waterboarding? I’m thinking . . . yeah.
And then we have the book of Revelation. Yikes. This book is one chapter after another of agony on steroids for those that war against that which is holy, just and good.
So, once again, I’m kinda thinkin’ Hey-Soos wouldn’t blink at how cautiously and methodically our intelligence gents have been in pouring some Zephyr Hills down Habeeb’s nostrils in the hope that such “torture” will make him spill the beans regarding his posse’s plans.
Y’know, maybe I would be more empathetic toward the terrorists who wish to kill us if I were a squishy liberal from the Berkeley, but alas, I ain’t. So, I say, in the name of Jesus, water baptize the bastards for an extra minute or two if that’ll persuade them to unveil their buddy’s macabre machinations.
Granted, it’s always great and right to err on the side of civility, except of course when saving many lives trumps the uncomfortable nature of sticking a garden hose in a terrorist’s snout.
Get Doug Giles’ new book, Rise, Kill and Eat: A Theology of Hunting from Genesis to Revelation today!