Just as with social issues, many on the Christian right have ceded to the religious left the issue of torture. Joe Carter and John Mark Reynolds want to make sure that some conservative voices stand up in opposition to torture.


I blame myself, and implicate my fellow Christians. We have remained silent and treated an issue once considered unthinkable–the acceptability of torture–like a concept worthy of honest debate. But there is no room for debate: torture is immoral and should be clearly and forcefully denounced. We continue to shame ourselves and our Creator by refusing to speak out against such outrages to human dignity.

As Christians we must never condone the use of methods that threaten to undermine the inherent dignity of the person created in the image of God. … there is something clearly repugnant about our unwillingness to distance ourselves from the fear-driven utilitarians willing to embrace the use of torture.


Torture removes the internal free will of the combatant by forcing him to a mental submission that should not be in the power of humankind. We should allow his mental defiance, even if we cannot allow his physical defiance. In this way, we honor his reason (one aspect of the divine image), while also protecting the innocent.

I agree with both Reynolds and Carter that torture, for a Christian, should always be off the table. My only question: where is the line where torture begins? I suppose that is where the true debate lies – defining what is and what is not torture. However, I agree with them that we should always err on the side of protecting human dignity, just as we would with human life.