Author Topic: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?  (Read 12243 times)

Norman Teigen

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Some might think that the torture report is a time for national repentance.  I wonder what the good readers of this  distinguished Forum might have to say about this.
Norman Teigen

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2014, 03:46:53 PM »
Those who actually did it might consider repentance. As a nation we might consider many things related to how we treat our citizens, the guests in our country, and our attitudes towards the rest of the world. I'm sure we would find reasons to confess our arrogance, selfishness, and lack of consideration for God's people And God's planet.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis.

Terry W Culler

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2014, 03:48:08 PM »
Repentance, national or otherwise, is always appropriate
"No particular Church has ... a right to existence, except as it believes itself the most perfect from of Christianity, the form which of right, should and will be universal."
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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2014, 03:58:15 PM »
Repentance, national or otherwise, is always appropriate


Was that not the gist of thesis 1 of the 95 thesis? Oh, but there I go again--living in the 16th century..... :o


Lou

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2014, 05:31:18 PM »
Repentance, national or otherwise, is always appropriate

'Tis the season for repentance, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Time to ease a tortured conscience, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
For the sins of self or nation, fa-la-la, la-la-la, la-la-la
Go make your Advent Confession, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2014, 06:26:43 PM »
So the nation should turn to The Lord. Somehow whenever a conservative says that he gets derided as a theocrat who can't understand the separation of church and state. But somehow the calls for national repentance today don't seem like calls to turn to The Lord, but calls to wallow in guilt and turn to progressivism. Maybe I'm wrong. What would a day of national repentance look like in practical terms? Would God be one god among many? Would we read the Scriptures in the public schools? How would it work?

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2014, 06:37:31 PM »
Peter, have we ever observed a national day of repentance?  I think repentance was connected to prayer in connection with 9.11 by some and then others felt that was wrong to repent because God did not use bad things we didn't do to punish us for things we did do or something like that.... and then there is the question of innocents and just who they might be...  no one seems to know what things are really God's punishment and what things just happen because the world is what it is or isn't...

the torture report...  are there CIA type things that we approve of (somewhere less than torture or even what some do consider torture) that a Christian can't do but we are happy as Christians to have non-Christians to do them for our nation?

say a school of 300 grade school kids was taken hostage by bomb bearing terrorists and the CIA caught a couple of the terrorists who did not make it inside the building.  Are they allowed to lie to these terrorists, threaten them, hurt or harm or torture them if the children are at grave risk in order to save them?  Can Christians participate in some or none of the above actions if they are deemed necessary? 

Anyone?

Harvey Mozolak
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2014, 06:46:49 PM »
Peter, have we ever observed a national day of repentance? 
Yes--151 years ago.

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/fast.htm

Quote
By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.

And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State.
The essential question is:  What would our parish clergy do on such a day?

Observe all the Prayer Offices in the Nave?

Hold a service of Corporate Confession and Forgiveness?

Be vested and at prayer in the Nave for a specified period so as to be available for Individual Confession and Forgiveness?



« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 06:48:24 PM by J. Thomas Shelley »
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2014, 07:36:12 PM »
The first whereas would never pass muster anymore. There has been too much "progress."

Harvey_Mozolak

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2014, 08:27:52 PM »
Thomas, Oh, that is right, I read that about Lincoln and I think even re-read it this summer in a Civil War book I perused...  sorry I forgot, thanks for reminding me.  Harvey
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2014, 08:41:15 PM »
Thomas, Oh, that is right, I read that about Lincoln and I think even re-read it this summer in a Civil War book I perused...  sorry I forgot, thanks for reminding me.  Harvey
Having served a parish literally at the end of the rail line from Gettysburg the events of 1863 were quite important to us last year. 

Strange how the some of the bloodiest fighting came AFTER the day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer.
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Bergs

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2014, 09:25:43 PM »
Maybe we should have repented when we hit 50 million babies aborted?  But we passed that point a couple of years back.  Should we start to repent when we hit 60 million? 

What makes the politically partisan torture report an indication that repentance is now necessary?

No, this report is not indicative of a time for national repentance.  The report is an obvious final slam on the Bush (Boosh, Boosh, Boosh) Administration to take our eye off of all the imperial decrees of the current administration.   Why is there a desire to make this politically partisan report issued for political reasons into a cause celebre for a national moral reflection.  This is a very odd question.

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DCharlton

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2014, 09:31:25 PM »
Some might think that the torture report is a time for national repentance.  I wonder what the good readers of this  distinguished Forum might have to say about this.

This is very relevant to some of our earlier discussion of repentance and forgiveness. 

1.  Does repentance mean ceasing the sinful behavior?  Do we need to make sure that the current administration isn't continuing those past practices before we ask for forgiveness?

2.  If we are sorry for past torture, must a pastor insist that we intend to change our behavior in the future before forgiveness is proclaimed? 

Those questions are theoretical and practical.  It has been argued before on this forum that sorrow for past sin suffices and to ask for a change of behavior constitutes legalism.  On a practical level, I want to make sure that we are going to repent of the sins of both the Bush and Obama administrations, and not just those of one of them. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2014, 09:36:51 PM »
No, this report is not indicative of a time for national repentance.  The report is an obvious final slam on the Bush (Boosh, Boosh, Boosh) Administration to take our eye off of all the imperial decrees of the current administration.   

Yes.  Why not repent for the drone assassinations carried out on American citizens by the Obama Administration?  Why not repent for Obama's failure to close Guantanamo?   Why not question the methods used to locate Osama bin Laden after Bush left office?  Why not repent for Obama's expansion of government spying on citizens? 
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Is the torture report indicative that it is time for national repentance?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2014, 10:48:38 PM »
I tend to be leery of calls for groups of people to repent of things that they did not personally do and for which they were not personally responsible.  If there had been a national referendum listing the various enhanced interrogation techniques that could be employed and then to check off those permitted to be used, then perhaps those who voted yes for certain techniques should repent for giving permission.

It seems to me that repentance is always a personal thing.  I repent for what I did wrong in thought, word or deed.  Can I repent for someone else?  It seems to me that is a cop out and a cheat.  If I repent for what others did, I can feel virtuous for being repentant and still point the finger at them for doing wrong.  It is also another expression of what has become a national debate ploy - collective guilt.  If I can be classed as part of a group and certain members of that group commit certain wrongs, then must I bear guilt for those wrongs?  I am white.  Does that mean that as a white man I bear guilt and need to repent for slavery?  If I bear guilt for slavery, does that mean that I personally should bear some punishment for slavery?  Even though neither I nor any of my family or ancestors were in any way involved in slavery?  But I am a member of the white group and some whites enslaved blacks so therefor I bear guilt?

Does it work the other way?  Some Blacks have brutally killed whites.  Does that mean that all Blacks bear guilt for that?  I don't think so and I doubt that you would get very far with that argument.

I think that this whole call for national repentance is a red herring and if pursued will side track us from effective and meaningful response.  What is needed is not so much national repentance, but national reflection on what got us to this point.  What led the leadership of the United States to pursue terrorists using torture?  Was it moral?  Was it effective?  If we decide that pursuing the policies that included the torture reported is wrong, how do we prevent it is the future?  What should we do about the instances of torture that occurred?  On both a national and personal level, how did the individual reactions to the attacks on 9/11 contribute to a climate that permitted torture, and how can we manage the shock, grief and anger that arise from such attacks into more constructive actions? 

Or to put it another way, I do not see this as an occasion for which we bear collective guilt and thus in need of national repentance.  (I don't believe in collective guilt.)  I see this as an occasion for which we bear collective responsibility to decide if our leaders acting in our name did wrong, to make any injustices right, and to work toward preventing such actions in the future.

We also bear a responsibility to work toward just and effective policies to deal with threats and attacks in a responsible way, not simply acting out of fear or anger.

Dan
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