Thursday, March 17, 2005

Slippery Slopes: Justifying Torture

A timely article by the conservative Catholic commentator Mark P. Shea draws an analogy between those who justify "pelvic" sins (including abortion) and those who justify torture.

Both sets of apologists claim that the ends justify the means. Thus, non-lethal torture is often justified because it might lead to the prevention of terrorist atrocities.

Shea points out that in Catholic morality, all torture is an intrinsic evil and a mortal sin. He warns conservatives tempted to downplay allegations of torture in Iraq that they are on the slippery slope which denies certain categories of people (such as enemy combatants or suspected terrorists) their human rights. He points out that the left made a similar mistake in arguing for the acceptance and spread of abortion and sexual liberation, which, he argues, was a slippery slope leading to unanticipated and unwelcome consequences.
Crisis Magazine

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