A recent survey by the Pew Research Center finds that the more people go to church, the more likely they are to support torture. And you’re never going to guess which group is most supportive of torture.
Oh, did you guess white evangelical protestants? Then I suppose I underestimated you. Please don’t waterboard me.
The religious group most likely to say torture is never justified was Protestant denominations — such as Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians — categorized as “mainline” Protestants, in contrast to evangelicals. Just over three in 10 of them said torture is never justified. A quarter of the religiously unaffiliated said the same, compared with two in 10 white non-Hispanic Catholics and one in eight evangelicals.
There are two obvious explanations for why 60 percent of white evangelical protestants are such torture-lovers. The first is that they are so fixated on the afterlife that they are more ready to forgive crimes against the corporeal body. The second is that they are by and large sanctimonious fucks.
Either explanation works for me. Though having grown up in an extended family filled with white protestant evangelicals, I probably have more sympathy for them than most. I think maybe they have just evolved a different understanding of what constitutes torture. Have you ever been to a wedding reception where the guests think drinking and dancing are sinful activities? It’s like Chinese water torture with mayonnaise and awkward handshakes.