A survey of 742 Americans last month found that 49% think it is 'often or sometimes justified to torture terrorist suspects to obtain important information'. In fact the situation is worse than that since only 25% think that it's never justified. (So much for 'western values'!)
Religion does make a difference but unfortunately for its apologists it's the wrong way. The proportion saying torture is often or sometimes justified are:
- 54% of those attending services weekly
- 51% of those attending monthly or less often
- 42% of those attending seldom or never.
OK, it's probably more complicated than that. Americans probably have several other reasons for supporting torture such as support for state authority which is a positive value for conservatives but not for liberals.
What it's not is evidence that religion - even a religion allegedly based on the Sermon on the Mount - makes society better. Plainly, if it has any effect it is to make it worse.