Torture and Terrorism

From the Grauniad, an interesting article about torture, but its about the Inquisition. The assertion that Torture and execution were always carried out by the secular authorities, not church officials is new to me, and perhaps has modern-day analogies. The interesting bit is the quotes from Very Rev Joseph Augustine Di Noia, attempting to put it all into context. He says:

It is a mistake to torture people. However, torture was regarded as a perfectly justified, legitimate way of producing evidence and it was therefore legally justified. Killing people over ideas, generally speaking, seems to us not to be a very good idea after 2,000 years of history ... and generally we disapprove deeply of this kind of purgation, but it seems to me it is possible to understand it within the context of its times and also to understand it within the sociology of religion, how communities react to threats which they regard to be dire or fatal.

There are things to quibble here. Describing killing people as not to be a very good idea is a bit weak; and the "is" of the first sentence seems to delicately assert that it might not have been a mistake in the past. But the arguement that it can all be understood "within the sociology of religion" makes sense to me. But then, I'm an atheist, not a member of a church that claims to be the One True Faith, and on occaision, claims inerrancy. So is this the new Catholic policy? No Eternal Verities, just religion understood from within sociology and context. Sounds radical.

Moving right along, we come to... Terrorism. Which brings me to Israel's shooting of young girl highlights international hypocrisy, say Palestinians (also from the G). And of course links to the recent Hamas victory (for which I'll refer you to CIP and subsequent). And the demands for Hamas to eschew Violence. Which is total nonsense: *we* don't eschew Violence, and nor do the Israelis (what do you think all those guns, tanks and warplanes are for?). Oh... you didn't mean *Violence* from the dictionary definition... you mean Violence excluding anything we do? And as for the equally slippery Terrorism: The army said the boys planned to throw rocks at Israeli cars, which the military defines as terrorism ah yes, Terrorism is what we define it to be. But shooting dead 9 year old girls definitely *isn't* terrorism ...as long as the right side is doing it, of course.

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