Senate Votes to Ban Torture

Officially, the United Methodist Church holds that:

“the mistreatment or torture, and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment or punishment of persons by governments for any purpose violates Christian teaching and must be condemned and/ or opposed by Christians and churches wherever and whenever it occurs.” — The Book of Discipline, Paragraph 164.

I agree with the above statement wholeheartedly, and so I’m cautiously optimistic about the fact that the Senate has voted to ban torture (with a majority in both the Republican and Democratic caucuses). I say cautiously optimistic because the bill will not become law unless and until passed by the House and signed by the president. (Since it echoes an executive order that he issued, it seems safe to assume that he will sign it.) The Senate measure approves the interrogation techniques included in the U. S. Army Field Manual. Though not torture, those methods are highly effective when used by people who know what they are doing. I’m keenly aware that celebrating this as good news sets the bar rather low, but on this front, I’m thankful for any good news I can get.