Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Torture and Crucifixion

When I was in college I was on the swim team and was an expert swimmer. I did not fear the water and made it my friend and enjoyed the pure pleasure of swimming. Once in a while we swimmers would play water polo. One team tried to get the ball into a net at one end of the pool while the other team tried to prevent them and to steal the ball. One trick was to “duck” opposing players and hold them under water while they went for the ball and the goal. I got ducked a number of times and felt I was going to drown. Holding my breath as long as I could, I screamed silently for air until my head burst free and I got to the surface for air. I became quite frightened and gave up the sport

The United States under the guidance of our president and the approval of the congress has endorsed water boarding as a proper technique for interrogating prisoners in order to get information from them. This is torture. It is simulating drowning. The prisoner is tied up, held down and water is poured into his open mouth to make him feel like he is drowning and presumably will be forced to give vital information.

This is supposed to be more humane than pulling out fingernails, beating prisoners on the soles of their feet or using a hot branding iron on flesh in order to elicit information. American propaganda had us believe that only Nazis, Communists and Imperialist Japanese used such methods. During the inquisition Christian prelates used the rack, starvation and cages to convert non-believers into becoming followers of the prince of peace.

Now that water boarding is the preferred form of American torture, can flogging and beatings be far behind? No matter that thoughtful studies have indicated information from torture is vastly unreliable, our leaders hurtle on to allow torture to be just another part of the American way of life.

Christian Churches will hear the narratives of the Passion of Christ read on Palm Sunday, during Holy Week and finally on Good Friday. The story is told of Jesus being tortured by the Roman soldiers and executed on a cross in a slow and excruciatingly painful way until his death. Torture will always be with us, and humane human beings need to do all we can to prevent and stop it.

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