Rushdoony On Torture
“…In terms of God’s law, thus, even a God-established confession must have the corroboration of evidences. Clearly, confession in itself had no real standing in Biblical law. In this respect, Biblical law preserves the person of the suspect with all the respect due to one created in the image of God.
According to George Horowitz, in his influential study, The Spirit of Jewish Law…because a confession was in admissible as evidence, torture was not and could not be used. This preserved the person of the accused from torture, the third degree, or any other like method of extracting a confession. It meant that justice required evidence gained by lawful means.
Thus, the whole of Biblical law worked, first, to protect the accused from lawless methods of compelling a confession. Since a confession in itself is not evidence in Biblical law, we have all the ingredients of what in the United States became the Fifth Amendment, the immunity of the accused from being compelled to testify……How remarkable it is that men choose to despise God’s law and idolize or at least idealize Greek and Roman law.
The Greeks used torture regularly…The Romans…used torture, and they refined crucifixion……With the revival of Greco and Roman thought, the shift began in Europe from the centrality of the faith and the church to politics and the state. We are now reaping the consequences of that shift in our operative paganism….as a result of this shift, the rational modern state and its philosopher kings or elite became the great defenders of man…To suspect the state was for the philosophers of the state like suspecting God.
They held plainly that right is what the state does.We have thus had a major revival of torture in our time, and the greatest mass murders as well. A higher percentage of mankind has been killed in the 20th century than ever before by mass murders, death camps, man-made famines, war, revolution, torture, and so on. The end is not yet….Biblical law is not popular with men even though it limits civil government to a minimal dimension; sharply limits civil taxation to a small sum, preserves the person form torture; requires self-government; and furthers freedom.”
-R.J. Rushdoony, ‘Justice and Torture’, from the “Roots of Reconstruction”, p. 302-305blog comments powered by Disqus