‘Devils and Dust’: How We Learned to Torture (by Brian McLaren)

Post by Brian McLaren for Beliefnet: God’s Politics

In The New York Times story about the administration’s secret authorization of torture, one sentence is particularly chilling: “With virtually no experience in interrogations, the CIA had constructed its program in a few harried months by consulting Egyptian and Saudi intelligence officials and copying Soviet interrogation methods long used in training American servicemen to withstand capture.”

Copying tactics used by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the former Soviet Union … what does this say about our nation’s trajectory? Since reading those words last week, I can’t keep Bruce Springsteen’s song out of my head. First, he echoes what many Americans might say in response to the secret authorization of torture:

Well I’ve got God on my side
And I’m just trying to survive.

But then he raises this question:

What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love?

Springsteen then concludes:

Fear’s a dangerous thing.
It can turn your heart black you can trust.
It’ll take your God-filled soul
Fill it with devils and dust.

Springsteen’s words have me praying for our nation today: Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

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