On Distant Shores

Politics and religion.

Journalists with no understanding of religion failed to understand that the fundamental purpose of religion and politics was formulating a common belief in purpose. And too many journalists failed to understand that the principal purpose of both was to unite people.

This week there was more transparency to methods of torture used by the Central Intelligence Agency in the name of the American government. Orders which came on down from the White House concerning the CIA’s interrogation plans following September 11, 2001 were about nothing except cruel inhumane torture to extract information from suspects never tried under rules of evidence. As people involved in methods of extracting information from “terrorists” discuss their own role, what gets lost in the discussion was the methods which were used on suspects. Suspects were being punished through torture.

The memos with the sterile discussion of the safeguards against real torture evoke days of totalitarianism in gulags and concentration camps. The cruelty of a real experience of torture was not the sadism of the ancient figures but of living people. There was a real contempt for the conceit of the journalist, or a new government with a different political persuasion, who dared question with a distance which the immediacy after September 11th did not allow for those responsible for both order and the law.

The distance and location of the world discovered by Christopher Columbus had always seemingly allowed a separation from problems far way on other continents. America until the past 20 years had few Moslems. Since September 11, 2001, politics has become
more entwined in a religion that most of us still know little about.

There was little real contempt for the conceit of the academic who studies antiquity with the distance which to understand the past. The distance allowed a separation from the past. The distance that too often is involved in the failure of modern men and women to recognize the passions tied up in reality.

So how distant was morality this week? In the modern world? In a week after Good Friday. In a country that practices capital punishment. How distant seemed to be the question which was supposed to be left over from Good Friday. In what essentially was meant to determine right and wrong in an environment of terror against what mostly a people of a distant faith.

The sole archaeological evidence of a crucifixion from Roman days is a picture of the heel bone of Jehohanan. Jehohanan was crucified probably between 7 A.D. and 66 A.D. the beginning of the war against Rome. The cruelty and the sadism of a real experience, torture to an ancient figure, can be read about at another website.


An appreciation of the horrors of antiquity, with the nail still embedded. What better time to question the means of torture and capital punishment, too often shown with modern DNA evidence to demonstrate that sentences imposed have been based on bad evidence. Seeking a commitment to joining those who campaign against the cruelty of torture, of capital punishment in the contemporary world.



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Religion Blogs


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