Readers of this blog may be interested in the short article I have written over at Reformation 21. The gist of my claim is that the person of Jesus Christ shapes our primary ethical response to torture and our attitude to its perpetration by our authorities. Person, that is, over procedure, particularly over fear based consequentialist reasoning that might allow in extremis the ends of security to justify the means of torture. I very minimally offer that the health of our moral imaginations as Christian citizens is attested to in our habits of corporate prayer.
I don’t cite Scripture explicitly in the text but I hope readers will spot the echoes, allusions and authorizations. I also don’t write as an academic paper with footnotes. I deliberately didn’t read the book treatments of torture that theologians have penned recently but I am sure these are useful.
For the theologically inclined reader who is curious, let me make explicit some of those missing references for you, that were probably at work in my subconscious. With this caveat, it is certainly possible that similar thoughts could arise from Scripture with the mediation of very different voices, especially non-academic or non-theological ones, so that this in part is just auto-biographical disclosure:
The account of representation in political theology, and its ecclesiological pattern, is drawn from Oliver O’Donovan Desire of the Nations, and Ways of Judgment. So too is the reference to Revelation from his essay on that book in Bonds of Imperfection.
The allusions to Romans 12 and being members one of another is nod to Bernd Wannenwetsch, who also points me to comment on prayer, in his Political Worship.
The Christological emphasis owes much to Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Concerns about technology come from George Grant via both Oliver O’Donovan and Brian Brock’s Christian Ethics in a Technological Age.
Fear and its grip on our current mindset is prominently exposed by theologians such as Stanley Hauerwas and William Cavanaugh or Walter Bruegemann, while the critique of consequentialism is most strongly from Michael Banner Christian Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems as also most popularly explained in Andrew Cameron’s Joined-Up Life.
No doubt other formative influences might come to mind, but I commend these thinkers to your attention.