Christian College Gives Torture President Honorary Humanities Degree

Texas Baptists confirm Obama’s comments about Christian crimes

The American torture president and self-professed Christian, George W. Bush, gratefully accepted an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the Christian-ideology-based University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas, on February 11, in a “public” event that was closed to most of the public. The only direct media coverage allowed for the event was by Fox News and the college public relations team.

Even though it might have been headlined as “Christians Honor War Criminal,” there were apparently no national news stories about the former president’s award. Five days after the fact, the Washington-insider publication, the Hill ran a short summary noting that Bush had said, “Evil is evil.”

The European Court of Human Rights has confirmed its judgment that the Bush administration orchestrated a global network of CIA black sites where suspects were imprisoned and tortured, a form of human trafficking for which Bush and his associates have yet to be held accountable. As the human rights organization Reprieve reported on February 17, the corruption of Poland’s “justice” system on behalf of the Bush administration illustrates the sheer horror of the way the U.S. handled people regardless of evidence:

“In July 2014, the ECHR had ruled that Poland “facilitated” the torture, secret detention and unlawful transfer of Abu Zubaydah, who is now held in Guantanamo Bay.

Mr Zubaydah was flown from a secret site in Thailand to another CIA prison in Stare Kiejkuty in northern Poland, where he was detained and tortured during 2002 and 2003. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) detailed in its recent report how Mr Zubaydah was subjected to torture numerous times by the CIA, before the Agency concluded that he was not a member of al Qaeda at all.” [emphasis added]

“Christian values” appreciated, but not clearly defined

Speaking to Bush in front of the gathering to honor him, Hardin-Baylor president Randy O’Rear told the self-described “war president”: “We appreciate your Christian values, integrity, your love for family, your love for our country, your boldness, and your strong leadership.”

“Evil is real,” Bush told the Baptist college crowd, without referring to beheadings by Saudi Arabia, assassinations by U.S. special forces, or terror-bombing civilians in places like Afghanistan or Iraq:

“Evil is real. There is no light grey. Murdering innocent people to move a political point of view has been, is, and always will be evil…. So one of the real dangers is an isolationist tendency….”

Bush described his father’s service in World War II, using it to frame the success Japan has had moving from an imperial, warlike culture to a firm democratic ally of the U.S. Bush did not mention Hiroshima or Nagasaki or the incineration and maiming of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. He did not come close to suggesting that murdering hordes of innocent Japanese to move their political point of view toward democracy was evil.

After destroying Hiroshima, President Truman offered thanks to God for the power to kill indiscriminately, though he expressed it more delicately:

“It is an awful responsibility which has come to us. We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies, and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.”

Obama has been attacked for telling the truth about abusing “God”

At the February 5 National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama didn’t mention any of the more recent American slaughters of innocents when he commented on “those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends.” But he did follow that by saying with simple factuality:

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

These are facts, and not even the worst facts available. Christian genocide against the native peoples of the Americas was compounded by the missionary arrogance of seeking to convert them to Christianity to save their souls. How is that less twisted thinking than any Islamist currently on the loose?

Many of those attacking Obama for tiptoeing close to principles Jesus might actually embrace, commit the sort of hypocritical faith cudgeling – typically Islamophobia – that they blame on Obama. It is as though, looking at Obama, they are seeing themselves in a mirror. They do not embrace what he later, sanely said:

“There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith…. And that means we have to speak up against those who would misuse His name to justify oppression, or violence, or hatred with that fierce certainty. No God condones terror. No grievance justifies the taking of innocent lives, or the oppression of those who are weaker or fewer in number.”

In this context, Obama did not mention the innocents still held in Guantanamo, nor the innocents killed by predator drones, nor the innocents bombed in Iraq and Syria, nor any of the innocents elsewhere falling victims to unbridled U.S. military terror and Christian fervor.

As a candidate, Bush told people: “I believe God wants me to run for president.”

Being honored for his Christian leadership at Hardin-Baylor, Bush made this effort to explain his success:

“There are universal truths that are essential to good decision making. One such universal truth… is that there is an Almighty, and a gift of that Almighty to every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth is a desire to be free.”

This Christian ex-president didn’t say that he exercised his desire to be free by lying his country into a devastating war and adopting a torture regime that honored a popular technique handed down from the Holy Inquisition: water-boarding.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. A collection of his essays, EXCEPTIONAL: American Exceptionalism Takes Its Toll (2019) is available from Yorkland Publishing of Toronto or Amazon. This article was first published in Reader Supported News. Read other articles by William.