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Christians in the News

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Andrew Sullivan salutes the Christian faith, strict morality, patriotism, national idealism, and sense of soldier’s honor in one American military man. Tell the truth: Who out there is rolling eyes right now? Well, guess what? It’s the soldier who persisted in protesting the torture and abuse of prisoners in the war on terror.

It doesn’t surprise me that the newest hero in the American armed services, Capt Ian Fishback, is a devout Christian. Fishback tried for 17 months to get his superiors to address systematic, condoned torture and abuse of military prisoners. His superiors knew they had the green light from the very top and did nothing but intimidate Fishback. He persisted. Why? He has a conscience. As he put it: “We are America. Our actions should be held to a higher standard. I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is ‘America.'” Part of his courage, however, came from faith:

[F]or Fishback, who friends describe as a deeply religious Christian and patriot who prays before each meal and can quote from the Constitution, his ordeal may be just beginning. Army officials have temporarily furloughed him from Special Operations training school at Fort Bragg, N.C., to make him available to the Criminal Investigation Command as it sorts through his allegations.

The Bush administration policy of allowing cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners is about as deep a moral crime as one can imagine. It violates every central tenet of Christianity, and the hard-won honor of the U.S. military, which is why some evangelical Christians, to their credit, have spoken up about it. These last few days, however, I have waited for others to take note of what Fishback has testified to, at great personal risk. I have waited for his courage to be hailed, especially on conservative Christian blogs. There are few moral evils worse than torture. So why the silence? Why?

Aye, Andrew, why indeed?