Monday, May 2, 2011

Celebrating the Death of Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden is dead. As Commander in Chief, the President and Special Forces under his command are to be commended for eliminating this man’s ability to deal in death and destruction. What happens to Bin Laden now is in God’s hands and I am content to keep it that way. What is in question now is how we, as a Nation, respond to this news.

             It is one thing to breathe a sigh of relief that one of the most dangerous men in modern history is dead and can no longer unleash his terroristic evil on the world. It is another thing to turn death into a celebration. Understandably pleased at the news of Bin Laden’s demise, revelers have gathered across the country and most notably in front of the White House and at Ground Zero.

            Rejoicing in spilled blood and celebrating the finality of death was fuel behind much of what drove Bin Laden and his terrorist organization. Images of revelers dancing in the street rejoicing in the senseless slaughter of thousands on 9-11 were horrible to watch. Yet, I also recall that such media images served to galvanize American resolve for justice and retribution.

            The retribution began nearly a month later when, on October 7, 2001, US forces launched Operation Enduring Freedom. It continued this weekend when the elusive Bin Laden was finally killed. It will likely continue for some time as the beleaguered Al Qaida regime struggles to regain its legitimacy without its spiritual leader.

            From a political perspective, massive celebrations and mindless dancing in the streets reveling at the death of a spiritual leader—albeit one deemed by most Muslims and Christians and evil spiritual leader—will do nothing but embolden his followers.

            From a spiritual perspective, the reality may be even more serious. As a Christian, my mind turns to King David of the Bible. When faced with the death of his arch enemy, the psychotic and destructive King Saul, David did not rejoice or revel in his death. Rather he mourned the fact that conflict had risen to the level where death was the only solution. Rather than see political killing as a point of celebration, David recognized it for what it truly was—a stain on the integrity of the human spirit and affront to that which was created in God’s image.

            As a nation, the most dignified and faithful response we can have to the reality of Bin Laden’s death is somber appreciation for what has happened. Celebratory antics may feel good in the moment but they run the danger of making us no better than the man whose life was dedicated to reveling in the deaths of others.

            Bin Laden is dead. Rather than celebrating his demise with an arrogant presumptive nature that we are lords over death, it is now time to come to prayer as a Nation and collectively seek God’s guidance to work for a world where death is no longer necessary to bring peace. 

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