Donald Trump has revealed his thoughts on the right way to handle Islamic State militants (ISIS). In an interview with ABC News, the new president of the United States of America recommended torture as the appropriate way to deal with the terrorist group.
In his words, “When they’re chopping off the heads of our people and other people. When they’re chopping off the heads of people because they happen to be a Christian in the Middle East, when ISIS is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding? As far as I’m concerned, we have to fight fire with fire.”
Speaking on waterboarding, another form of torture, Trump said: “I will rely on [CIA director Mike] Pompeo and [defence secretary James] Mattis and my group. And if they don’t want to do it, that’s fine. If they do want to do it, then I will work toward that end.
I want to do everything within the bounds of what we’re allowed to do if it’s legal. If they don’t want to do it, that’s fine. Do I feel it works? Absolutely I feel it works…I asked [intelligence figures] the question does waterboarding work? And the answer was yes, absolutely.”
These statements have been criticised by many Christians, including Brian Zahnd, pastor of World Life Church.
Using his Twitter account, he wrote, “Once you try to reconcile ‘love your enemy’ with ‘torture works’, you know you’ve forsaken Christ and are only pretending to be Christian.”
Speaking with Christian Today, Peter Dixon, a spokesperson for Action by Christians Against Torture (ACAT), said: “Being realistic it is unlikely to happen because of the likely opposition from within the Senate and the Congress. It is reported that Republican Senator John McCain said yesterday that even if President Donald Trump were to sign an executive order allowing torture, US law is clear on the practice. It also appears that President Trump’s Cabinet members, including his defence secretary James Mattis and the CIA Chief Mike Pompeo disagree with the President on this matter.
“We greet this response with gratitude and relief although we cannot disregard the statements of the new president. This matter will be kept under constant review by ACAT worldwide. ACAT UK stands by the UN Declaration of Human Rights when it says in Article 5: ‘No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.’ We stand with Archbishop Romero of El Salvador when he said: ‘Whoever tortures a human being, whoever abuses a human being, whoever outrages a human being abuses God’s image, and the Church takes as its own that cross, that martyrdom.”
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, has reacted to Trump’s statements.
When asked, she said: “The UK Government’s position on torture has not changed. We condemn torture and my view on that will not change whether I am talking to you or talking to the President. Our guidance is very clear about the position that the UK takes and our position has not changed. We have a very clear view in the U.K. That we absolutely condemn the use of torture and that has not changed and will not change.”