After reflecting in my post on the apparent fragmentation of evangelical Christians, the GOP’s key block of voters, I raised a question popular among this group, “What would Jesus do?” and left it there.
My thoughts later drifted back to childhood Sunday school lessons when we were taught that Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world; he wasn’t interested in political power. But as I recall, Jesus had a lot to say about loving our neighbor, including the foreigner in our midst, famously illustrated in the story about the good Samaritan. In that light it’s a little jarring to read the Fox News summary of Roberts’ reasons for supporting Giuliani:
Robertson on Wednesday said Giuliani is the best candidate to handle the War on Terror. He said Giuliani understands the need for a conservative judiciary, and that he is a "true fiscal conservative" who is tough on crime.
"The overriding issue before the American people, is the defense of our population against the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists," Robertson told the National Press Club audience. "Our world faces deadly peril...and we need a leader with a bold vision who is not afraid to tackle the challenges ahead."
Robertson said Giuliani is "a proven leader who is not afraid of what lies ahead and who will cast a hopeful vision for all Americans ... It is my hope and prayer that he will lead the Republican Party to victory in November of 2008."In today’s Los Angeles Times, Rosa Brooks reminds us that Giuliani’s “hopeful vision for all Americans” includes his boast to use torture whenever it suits America’s needs:
Giuliani's main selling point with GOP stalwarts is his toughness on terrorism, symbolized by his "gloves-off" approach to interrogations. In the campaign's first GOP presidential debate, Giuliani told a cheering crowd that if the U.S. captured a suspect believed to be planning a terrorist attack, "I would tell the people who had to do the interrogation to use every method they can think of." Pressed on whether that would include waterboarding, Giuliani repeated, "Every method they could think of, and I would support them in doing that." More recently, Giuliani claimed that whether or not waterboarding is torture "depends on who does it."
I make no claims to being a traditionally defined Christian, but as a peace-loving, theistic Unitarian-Universalist, I respect the social justice teachings of Jesus, and I’m appalled that a segment of our society, led by the likes of Pat Robertson, continues to distort his teachings and exploit gullible followers to promote cruelty and inhumane treatment of other human beings in our own country and throughout the world.