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My daughter read this article to me while I was washing dinner. The gist is that the more an Americans goes to church, the more they tend to support torturing people. The article is from 2009, so it’s a few years old. But reads:

So who can be surprised by the new Pew report?

Specifically, it’s from the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, and it surveys Americans’ attitudes on the torture of suspected terrorists. Pew found that 49 percent of the nation believes torture is at least sometimes justifiable. Slice that number by religious affiliation, though, and things get interesting. It turns out the religiously unaffiliated are the “least” likely (40 percent) to support torture, but that the more you attend church, the more likely you are to condone it. Among racial/religious groups, white evangelical Protestants were far and away the most likely (62 percent) to support inflicting pain as a tool of interrogation.

You’d think people who claim connection to a higher morality would be the ones most likely to take the lonely, principled stand. But you need only look at history to see how seldom that has been the case, how frequently my people — Christians — acquiesce to expediency and fail to look beyond the immediate. Never mind that looking beyond the immediate pretty much constitutes a Christian’s entire job description.


Now, where did my 16 year old come across this? Her English teacher brought it out. She said they ended up reading it out loud and she knows the teacher wanted them to discuss it more than they had a chance to (thanks to kids taking a make up standardized test, class was 20 minutes short.)

Before he let them go, the teacher took a poll, who does not support torture. Three kids raised their hands. He called on my daughter asking her why she wouldn’t support torture. She said, “Well... that’s morally wrong...”

“Are you religious?”

“No, not really. We believe in God, but we don’t go to church or anything. I think my grandparents are Methodist(?).”


The two other kids said pretty much the same.

He asked who thought torture was something that could and should be used. The rest of the class raised their hands.


All of them go to church regularly, totally proving the point of the article. Mini-Moxie thinks that the irony of what they are supposed to believe vs. what they think is acceptable is totally lost on most of them. She also said that the disappointment of the teacher that they wouldn’t get to debate the article because of time constraints was palatable.

I tried to explain that, before most people hit their early 20’s, they really don’t have the mental chops to handle philosophy and, before you can really handle thinking that big, all religion is just indoctrination.


I’m proud that Mini-Moxie shows some moral fiber because that’s just what you’re supposed to do. Today, I feel like we have succeeded in our attempt to grow a good, thinking individual.

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