17 December 2014

Non-Religious People Hold Moral High Ground On Torture

Religious people often claim that they are more moral than non-religious people.  Faced with a concrete question:

"Do you feel the torture of suspected terrorists can be justified?"

here is the percentage of people who said that it could be often or sometimes justified by religious affiliation in a recent opinion poll:

White evangelical Protestant: 69%
White Catholic: 68%
White non-evangelical Protestant: 63%
Non-whites (not broken down by religion): 51%
Non-religious: 40%

No statistically significant data was available for whites adherents to non-Christian religions such as Jews and Muslims.

In my view, it is the non-religious people who hold the moral high ground here.

16 December 2014

Juan Cole on the Pakistani Taliban's School Massacre

Juan Cole provides useful background and context in understanding an incident yesterday in which six or seven Pakistani Taliban militants killed about 145 people mostly older school children and injured more than a hundred more, while burning several teachers alive at a school run by the Army in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

In a nutshell, he explains that the Pakistani Taliban are mostly part of a single linguistic and ethic group in the tribal areas of uneducated people allied with the "seminary student" movement in Afghanistan.  They were allied with the Pakistani Intelligence Services for years, but after U.S. encouraged pressure from the top, the Pakistani military has declared war on them in the past few months and killed about 2,000.

Cole describes the school massacre as a futile effort to exact revenge for their losses, that look to them like a betrayal, during this campaign which is taking a great toll on their movement.