Excommunicate the War Criminal, Already!


Just in case anyone is unclear on the relationship of state-sanctioned and inflicted torture--and more particularly state-sanctioned tortured inflicted on political prisoners by a western army occupying some portion of the middle east--let me remind you that that's how Jesus died.

Jesus was tortured to death. The "Prince of Peace" (not the Prince of Abstinence, nor the Prince of Sobriety) was tortured to death. So if someone else also tortures people--maybe not to death, at least not on purpose--but as violently as possible without causing death ON PURPOSE, does that make the person or people doing the torture followers of A) the Prince of Peace or B) his executioners?

The Mormon church worked hard to say that the reason they excommunicated the guy who created the shirtless elder calendar wasn't because he created the shirtless elder calendar; it was because he had stopped wearing garments, didn't pay tithing and was inactive. This is pure bullshit. The church doesn't excommunicate inactive people who don't pay tithing, wear garments or attend church; it bullies and harasses them by sending home teachers, and devotes part of each General Conference to inviting them to come back to church. (My sister mentioned that when she heard that in the GC two weeks ago, she said to someone she was with, "Those people aren't listening!" No duh.)

The stated rationale for excommunicating the guy might have been that he didn't wear garments, but the reason he had to be disciplined was the calendar. He embarrassed the church. That was his real crime.

Other people who embarrass the church are kicked out, even when they're doing work vital to keep the church honest, like Lavina Fielding Anderson.

So there are two questions I am waiting to see answered now: A) Will the church feel embarrassed by the fact that some of the most egregious memos from the Bush adminstration justifying torture were written by a Mormon, Jay Bybee; and B) will it do anything to discipline him?

My guess about the answers is: no, to both questions. But both answers should be YES.

Someone might argue that the answer should be NO, because after all the Mormon church hasn't informed its members that they are endangering their membership or their salvation if they support, justify or engage in torture.

That is true. The LDS Church is too busy working to deny women and gay people full civil rights to care about the things like war crimes.

If the church were truly a moral institution, it would condemn war crimes, even when commited by its own members. That's easy. But it's not a moral institution. It's a repressive structure devoted to preserving its own power, and it doesn't give a shit about ethics or the rule of law, unless that law is its own form of sharia.

I honestly believe that the church's indifference on this topic is as vile as its active work to deny marriage to gay people. I think anyone who cares about justice should be outraged by its silence.

I can only say, Flip Monson, Fetch the Twelve.


This guy is a piece of work. I googled him and found the following article (from 2003 I think) with highlighted excerpts below. Either his quotes are lies, or he doesn’t adjudicate how he believes.

“...he is not a compromiser of principles.”

“Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho)…spoke publicly on his behalf.”

“…decent human being…”

“…provided President George W. Bush with legal counsel…”

“The Constitution is the bedrock of Bybee’s professional life…”

“Bybee said he appreciates the role of law in a society which must ask the fundamental question, ‘How are we going to conduct ourselves?’ He explained that there is a system of rules and standards in the law as well as in our personal lives. In his own home, for example, a standard is, ‘Be nice,’ and a rule to encourage that is, ‘Don’t hit.’”

“Bybee believes that society would function better if people demonstrated an attitude of reconciliation rather than revenge.”

“He said both parties in a dispute, the offended as well and the offender, need more compassion as they work towards resolution.”


Hi GMA--thanks for the link. I read the story with bile in my throat. I am sure that Bybee actually believes he is one of the good guys, but....

but I'm speechless. There's a real disconnect and problem here.

I don't know what else to say.

Bybee is not alone. Two Mormon psychologists, James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, devised the CIA's torture regime in the first place.

Link: http://www.vanityfair.com/online/politics/2009/04/torture-memos-link-lawyers-and-psychologists.html

Hi Kuri--thanks for telling me about this. I had somehow missed the info on Mitchell and Jessen, but now, having read the original VF article linked to in the blog entry, I'm truly horrified. I hope these guys get what's coming to them.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on April 17, 2009 11:41 AM.

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