"Do not rejoice when your enemies fall…" — UPDATED

To me, scenes like the one below, outside the White House after the announcement of Bin Laden’s death, are troubling.

God knows, I can understand the impulse behind them.  I still have vivid memories of being in New York on 9/11, and the many weeks of walking past bus stops and lamp posts and seeing the tattered photocopied pictures of  friends and loved ones and neighbors, many accompanied by just one word, “Missing.”  I live in a city that still bears the scars.  There is a sense of profound, long-delayed justice to last night’s news.

But is the taking of another human life, no matter how despicable that life was, something to rejoice over? The vanquishing of Bin Laden calls for a more sober response. A quiet, grateful exhale, and two simple words: “Mission accomplished.” Then, shake the dust from our boots, and move on.  The story isn’t over.  There is still more work to do.

The reality remains that the death of Osama Bin Laden doesn’t end what he began. And displays like the one above only serve to make us seem as vengeful as the Afghans who giddily danced in the streets after the Twin Towers collapsed.

We’re better than that.

Aren’t we?

Blogger Dan Horan notes:

This is not a moment for “triumph” or “celebration,” contrary to what so many television pundits and so-called patriots will suggest. It is indeed an important moment in our national and global history, something to take seriously and reflect upon, but the celebration of the death of a human being is not what Christians are called to do as Jesus makes quite clear.

And he quotes from Proverbs:

Do not rejoice when your enemies fall,
and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble,
or else the LORD will see it and be displeased,
and turn away his anger from them.

Do not fret because of evildoers.
Do not envy the wicked;
for the evil have no future;
the lamp of the wicked will go out.

Or, as someone once put it:  “Love your enemies.  And pray for your persecutors.  Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

What part of that don’t we understand?

For more on this, James Martin has some excellent observations:

Christians are still in the midst of the Easter Season, when Jesus, the innocent one, not only triumphantly rose from the dead but, in his earthly life, forgave his executioners from his cross in the midst of excruciating pain.  Forgiveness is the hardest of all Christian acts.  (Love, by comparison, is easier.)  It is also, according to Jesus, something that should have no limit.  No boundaries.  Peter once asked him how often he was supposed to forgive.  Seven times?  “Not seven times,” answered Jesus, “but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.”  In other words, times without number.  “Forgive your brother or sister from your heart,” he said.

So the question is whether the Christian can forgive a murderer, a mass murderer, even–as in the case of Osama bin Laden–a coordinator of mass murder.  I’m not sure I would be able to do this, particularly if I had lost a loved one.  But as with other “life” issues, we cannot overlook what Jesus asks of us, hard as it is to comprehend.

For this is a “life” issue as surely as any other.  The Christian is not simply in favor of life for the unborn, for the innocent, for those we care for, for our families and friends, for our fellow citizens, for our fellow church members or even for those whom we consider good, but for all.  All life is sacred because God created all life.  This is what lies behind Jesus’s most difficult command: “I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

UPDATE: The Vatican statement on bin Laden’s death reads, in part:

“Osama bin Laden, as we all know, bore the most serious responsibility for spreading divisions and hatred among populations, causing the deaths of innumerable people, and manipulating religions to this end…In the face of a man’s death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred.”

  • Waz

    Strange blog marriage, “Do not rejoice when your enemies fall” appearing just above the picture of the FDNY celebration in Times Square.

  • naturgesetz

    The man was the head of an organization which continued to plot and engage in acts of terrorism against the West. Governments have a responsibility to protect their people. We can be glad that this fanatic has been brought to earthly justice and will no longer wreak evil on the world.

    May God be merciful in judging him.

  • HMS

    Would it have made a difference if Bin Laden had been captured and not killed?

  • naturgesetz

    And BTW, the attempted moral equivalence between Twin Towers and the killing of bin Laden is (I was going to say “outrageous”) unjustified, IMO, because the former was unjustified, whereas the latter was justified. And if the killing of bin Laden is not morally equivalent to the attacks of 9/11, then there is no moral equivalence to the rejoicing in the two events.

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    Natur…

    I wasn’t attempting to draw a moral equivalence between the two events. I was comparing the reaction to the two events. I have no doubt the people who danced in the streets of Kabul felt that what happened on 9/11 was justified — no matter how wrong and misguided and immoral that way of thinking might be.

    And I still think we are called to be better than that.

    Dcn. G.

  • Bill McGeveran

    I agree with the above two comments from naturgesetz.

  • Regina J. Faighes

    Thank you for this important article, Deacon Greg. As a Catholic, I have been wrestling with a troubled conscience over all of this. On the one hand, my conscience dictates that rather than rejoicing over Osama bin Laden’s death, I should be mourning the fact that he was killed before he underwent a metanoia– a metanoia which would have prompted him to live out his life atoning for his sins and working to be a force of good in the world instead of a force of evil. On the other hand, the more pragmatic side of my nature tells me that the likelihood of such a scenario having taken place was slim to nil. Now, I must remind myself that bin Laden’s soul is the hands of God, Who alone will determine its fate. It is equally important for me to remember that my soul also is in the hands of God. And when my day of reckoning comes, will He hold me accountable for having passed judgment on, and for having failed to love, one of His children?

  • HMS

    …and the whole thing occurred on Divine Mercy Sunday.

  • ron chandonia

    The so-called Seamless Garment gets a lot of bad press nowadays, but its point is still relevant and very much in line with the example and teaching of Christ. The world’s response to problematic people is killing them, whether through abortion or (as evidently in this case) through assassination. This must never be cause for celebration on the part of those who claim to follow a higher way.

  • Cindy

    What do we gain by celebrating his death? Some temporary, worldly satisfaction that someone who hurt me got hurt.

    What do we gain by mourning the loss of any human life? Hopefully a share in the kingdom of God.

    Talk of “justified” and “unjustified” makes my skin crawl. I’m sure God knew exactly what he was doing when he made me a small-town suburban housewife rather than a world leader.

  • Steve P

    Amen, Dcn. Greg.

    In praying with our children this morning (most of whom are two young to understand), we commended the soul of bin Laden to the mercy of God, and asked for peace and justice in our world.

    In my mind, this is a time of somber resolve to move in that direction. The inclination to whoop it up when someone gets his just desserts only plays to our baser instincts, and it’s even worse when it’s disguised as “patriotism”.

    I say all this recognizing that it’s easier to be the pious peacemaker here in front of my computer screen. I know I would feel differently if I was one of those firefighters, or a soldier sent to Afghanistan for the third tour. At the same time, I would bet that even those folks have a muted sense of triumph, knowing all they do about sacrifice, danger and death.

    May God protect them, and bring us ever closer to that Kingdom envisioned in Isaiah 2.

  • dymphna

    I hate word “troubled’. Old women are troubled when their knitting turns out differntly than the pattern indicated.

  • dymphna

    Oh and by the way, were you troubled when the Palestinians danced in the streets on 9/11?

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    Dymphna…

    You’re right.

    “Offended” or “horrified” would be better. The image of people celebrating outside the White House horrified me.

    Dcn. G.

  • Deacon John Leary

    Deacon Greg,

    I could not agree with you more..these pictures are disturbing. No matter the sin or circumstance we as Christians should never rejoice at the taking of any human life.

    He appeared to them through locked doors and said to them “Peace be with you.”

  • Brother Jeff

    Americans celebrated the destruction of the Nazi empire and V-J day as well. We were literally dancing in the streets. Was that all evil? The distinction I think Father Martin and other miss is that the joy is not over the death of a man per se, but the sense of closure and justice having been done that results from it, kind of like when Hitler died. Were we suppose to walk around quietly after WW2. I don’t think so.

    Do I wish Osama had not gone down the evil path he did? Sure. Same with Hitler.

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    Br Jeff…

    The celebrations at the end of World War II signaled the end of conflict, and the surrender of the enemy. The war was ending. The troops would be coming home.

    This isn’t that.

    Dcn. G.

  • Klaire

    I totally agree that no life, regardless of how evil, is worth “celebrating” when dead. The reason I changed my POV on the death penalty is because I came to understand in more depth God’s great mercy, and how much he wished to give it to EVERY soul. God can transfom ANYONE, and ever human deserves all of his/her God given time to accept or reject that grace.

    That said, if anything can be truly called a “just war”, this is it, as OBL’s death most probably will save innocent lives, however never a reason to celebrate.

    As for closure, I fear this is only the “new beginning.” If anyone thinks the terrorists are going to “sit quietly” and let us take our victory lap, think again, the worst may yet be coming.

    Sorry for the doom and gloom, but I try to think like a terrorist might think in these matters.

  • Brother Jeff

    Oh boy, does this mean that the fireman raising his arms in exultation on your previous post was acting badly? I don’t think so.

    I agree with Klaire, of course this isn’t the end. But it is justice of an extraordinary kind. I think it is fine to celebrate justice being done. 9-11 left an enormous psychological scar on the American public, and it would have been strange if this news was not met with outpourings of emotion.

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    On a more practical level, jubilation of this sort can only serve to inflame the enemy’s desire for revenge. In the last few hours, terror alerts have been raised. Security has been tightened. I know a few people who are flying home from Rome this week, and they’re very VERY anxious.

    We live in an age of madness and terror. I agree with Klaire: the worst may be yet to come.

  • http://forgetfulmuse.blogspot.com/ Thag Jones

    Deacon Greg, they would have increased the violence whether we celebrated or not – if their desire for revenge is inflamed, the fault is with them. Their desire for our blood is increased by everything we do – perhaps we should stop breathing altogether to quell their bloodlust? Isn’t that what they want?

    That said, I’m with you, and celebrating won’t change what happened on 9/11. (I pinched your pic for my post – I swear I already had the title because a friend posted it on facebook!)

  • Brother Jeff

    Full agreement there, but the enhanced security will most likely deter any retaliatory attacks, which would/will come much later. So people flying should rest a little easier.

    But you know they have been doing these sorts of things long before the United States ever set foot in the so-called holy land of Saudi Arabia (at their request). Do we remember Munich? The jihadists are motivated by hatred of all “non-believers”. They have clearly barked up the wrong tree with the United States, and hopefully they are getting that message as spiteful and emotional as they are.

  • http://new-wood.blogspot.com/ Deacon David Backes

    This is a good and important post. I was thinking along the same lines this morning after reading the Vatican’s fine statement and Fr. Martin’s excellent blog post, and have put my reaction here: http://new-wood.blogspot.com/2011/05/on-osama-bin-laden-do-not-rejoice-in.html

  • Rick

    Turtillian said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Unfortunately, I think something very similar can be said about terrorists.

    At a pragmatic level, there is a good chance we made Bin Laden a martyr. Rejoicing over his martydom will only increase the anger and resentment of terrorists.

  • Deacon Alexander Breviario

    In my heart I know that we should never rejoice over anyone’s death no matter how good or eveil they may have been, because that is not our call as Christians. It is a quite simply just another way of judging, which is not our call to make! There is only one just judge that we know of and his name was mentioned many times in this thread… That would be God…

    While I have not directly lost a loved one in the WTC tragedy, I lived through it that very day as a native New Yorker caught in the middle of the tragedy that unfolded before my very eyes. My experience was very different from the two people I worked with in my office that each sadly lost brothers. I can only hope and pray that they will be able to deal with this news however they must and that it will not open up past wounds with which they suffer each and every day…

    What concerns me more about the Washington DC photo is the age group of the individuals protrayed. They seem to be a group of youth and I wonder if that is doing them a disservice because I believe the youth of this country is better than what this photo seems to suggest. I believe we have to be very careful as a country about how we show our reactions these days… With the way and speed at which news travels the globe we can cause hurt quite easily to many many innocent people…

    I’m sure the photo of the Firemen could also be misinterpreted by many without knowing the context of those shown and loved ones or coworkers they may have lost on 9/11…

    This is very troubling news indeed… I pray that the outcome of this news will not drastically change the world for the worse and play into the hands of evil that are always at work…

    Jesus’ words “peace be with you” and “do not be afraid” seem very distant at this moment…

  • jcd
  • Katie Angel

    We need only remember our reaction to the pictures of Palestinians dancing to understand how we will be perceived by those who see pictures like this. The celebrations at the end of WW II were about our men coming home safely – not about the humiliation of the Germans and Japanese.

  • David

    I agree that celebrating over the death of any individual is problematic. Yet, there are several things I would be remiss in not pointing out.

    1) It is hihgly unlikely that Bin Laden has much value as a martyr. His actual influence has wained signficantly in recent year as Al Qaeda has become increasingly fragmented. In many respects he was simply a figurehead for an organization that had moved beyond his direction. Whatever inspirational value he did have was tied to his ability to avoid U.S. forces despite American promises to bring him to justice. Now that he had been taken down that power will dissipate.

    2) While terror alert levels will rise and their may be attempts at retaliation any suggestion that they are in anyway related to celebration in the United States is spurious. There would have always been terrorists who attempted to capatalize on this moment whetehr or not there was celebrating in the streets.

    3) I was struck by one major element in the photos of the street celebrations last night: the vast majority (but by no means all) of people at the celebrations were young. Many appeared to be college students or in their mid to late twenties. There are people who have had their entire adult lives defined in many ways by the War on Terrorism. They have never known a world without secuity checkposts, homeland security or the spectere of devestating terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. I know many college students who to this day are wary when they board trains to travel across the city or are on edge while traveling via plane. This is to say nothing of the countless children who lost parents in 9/11, the resulting wars and coutnerterrorist operations, or had their parents marriages disentegrate due to stress but about as a result. The losses of 9/11 can never be undone but I think it would be only natural for there to be some type of “release” once the man that has been assoicated with the worst attrocities of the 21st century has been brought to justice, particurally for a generation that has grown up in the shadow of that madman.

    Finnaly, at I watch the celebration in the streets I am reminded of the words of Dr. King:

    “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. … Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

    In churches throughout the world the Easter Candel banished darkness in our churches, now we must bring that light out in the world. Perhaps a generation raised in the spectere of violence can finally begin to banish that darkness and find the light.

  • Rick

    Christians in Pakistan seem to be preparing for violence. Catholic schools are closed and many people are fleeing.

    I hope that David (#28) is right and that the Christians of Pakistan are wrong. They certainly need our prayters given the violence they have faced the past few weeks.

    Rick

  • Judith

    I was sad to hear Osama bin Laden was killed. What was done was not taking the high road. He should have been captured and brought to trial. And what was that ? – the fierce celebrating in the streets? This is not a football game guys! We didn’t win the cup!

  • Emily

    Sorry, but there is usually no place for the high road during war time. If you take the high road, you’ll likely end up dead. That’s why it’s war. We’ve been looking for this guy for 10 years. Do you honestly think that if we could have gotten him out alive, we wouldn’t have? I think just about everyone in America would have rathered him come here alive, but it’s not as though the U.S. military could say, “Hey, Osama, why don’t you come with us?” They’re terrorists; they’re not going to come easily. They’ll do ruthless things including killing innocent civilians and using them as human shields just to save themselves. The military did a good job this time ensuring that they got Bin Laden without too many other casualties.

    Quite honestly, if you really believe that we should mourn this man than you are a far better person than I am. At least a far better Christian (though I don’t think this is necessarily applicable given that I don’t follow the Christian faith). However, I’m wondering if any of you quoting this particular passage from the Bible have family members who were victims of this man (and I don’t just mean the American victims)? If so, then I am doubly impressed if you could still say the same thing, but I don’t know if that’s the case. This isn’t meant as an insult or to question anyone’s faith; I am really curious to find a victim’s family or friends who will truly mourn this man.

    And I’m with Dave. I’m a college student in my early twenties and what he’s said basically sums up how I feel about it all. And it’s really nice to hear someone not in our age-set “sympathize” with us. Growing up, I heard my grandparents talk about the Great Depression and WWII, my parents talk about the Cold War and Vietnam. They make it sound like we’ve had it so easy but I’ve lived half my life wondering in the back of my head if another terrorist attack is going to happen. I don’t live my daily life in fear but it is still a nagging thought. Therefore, I’m not glad that the actual man Osama Bin Laden is dead as much as I am glad that particular “fear” or “threat” is gone.

    The celebrations are over the top, yes, I agree. Especially when we get indignant or angry when others celebrate in our moments of dispair.

  • Mike

    I think this is another incompetent blunder by our president. This man is militarily naive, and will lead us into Armageddon if we let him. He has no personal experience of war, no concept of negotiation through strength, and worst of all no humility before the maker of human life.

    Obama voted — several times — to allow newborn babies to die without medical care after a ‘botched’ abortion resulted in their live birth. What kind of human being is he? A heart of stone, if ever there was one. And we have put him in charge of the largest nuclear arsenal on earth?

    In a world unravelling at the seams and teetering under unprecedented dillemas, only God’s mercy will help us get out alive.

    It is a time for sober reflection, not carefree jubilation.

  • Lynn Thomas

    Judith,

    bin Laden was given an opportunity to surrender. He refused. It wasn’t a tea party, and he wasn’t a nice guy. While it might have been nice to capture him alive, for a lot of reasons this works out better for the United States. It’s simpler, cleaner, and probably safer for us here. Bringing him to trial would have been a very long, complex, difficult process and likely would have invited other entities to misbehave in hopes of freeing him, or simply to express support for him. This skips all of the temporal judgment and lets him go straight to God’s bench. God is far better qualified to judge him than we are, anyway.

    I take no pleasure in his dying. But I’m not overwhelmed with grief, either, and I’m delighted that he no longer poses a threat to anyone.

  • Kate

    Does anyone have a source for the claim that Osama refused an opportunity to surrender? There is a Reuters report to the effect that the mission was to kill him, not to capture him.

  • Brandon

    Blessed John Paul II, pray for us. On the day of the beatification of one of the greatest men who ever lived; someone who showed the world what love is; someone who taught me and everyone else in the JP2 generation that ALL life is sacred, something like this happens and tears us apart. How quickly we forget what the late pope taught us. Many of us sat and watched early Sunday morning and by late Sunday night we are debating over the most prominent message he spoke. I too have mixed emotions, but our emotions can lead us astray. Hold fast to your convictions. Remeber your leaders and the things they have taught you.

  • Will

    John Brennan said that while the possibility of capturing bin Laden alive was considered remote prior to the assault, “if we’d had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have.”
    - NPR on the Internet

  • Kate

    I tracked down the Reuters report:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/02/us-binladen-kill-idUSTRE7413H220110502

    It’s a very brief report, quotes an unnamed national security official as saying, “This was a kill operation.”

  • Will

    Per huffingtonpost.com:

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Monday that U.S. military operatives were prepared to capture Osama bin Laden alive but were “absolutely” ready to kill him if he fought back.

    “If we had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have done that,” Brennan said during an uncharacteristically candid exchange with reporters at a White House briefing.

    Intelligence officials and Obama “extensively” discussed the prospect of capturing bin Laden alive during the U.S. military raid on his compound Sunday, Brennan said, but were “certainly were planning for the possibility … that he would likely resist arrest.” In the end, the al Qaeda leader fought back and was “therefore killed in a fire fight,” Brennan said.

    The bottom line, said Brennan, was that “we were not going to put our people at risk.”

  • cathyf

    I wonder if the crowd in front of the White House was an SEIU “rent-a-mob”. Some friends in Iraq who were watching the news video commented that they didn’t act like Americans, they acted more like the swarm of Palestinians that overruns the site of an Israeli missile assassination to collect body parts of the executed.

    Perhaps the president would have preferred a different crowd, but they settled for what they have on retainer.

  • http://deepsouthdeacon.blogspot.com Dcn Paul Augustin

    Dcn Greg,

    Great post. The capitulation of Nazi Germany without doubt put an end to WWII. However, I fear that the death of bin Laden does not signal the end of anything. My thoughts on this whole affair: http://deepsouthdeacon.blogspot.com/2011/05/eye-for-eye-makes-whole-world-blind.html

  • HMS

    Mike:
    “I think this is another incompetent blunder by our president. This man is militarily naive, and will lead us into Armageddon if we let him.” (#32)

    Don’t be too surprised when you find out that you are in a minority (perhaps, a minority of one) with that comment.

    When Dick Cheney says: “I also want to congratulate President Obama and the members of his national security team,” you must know that you are definitely out of the loop.

  • Brother Jeff

    Well I guess I have to note that Americans celebrated like crazy after we won at Guadalcanal in 1944. It was the cause of a great joy – - and the war wasn’t over by a long shot. And thousands of Japanese had died horrible deaths.

    I’m sure some of you will strain to find some difference there too, but it’s a little, well, strained at this point. There is nothing wrong with celebrating this event, as long as we are focused on the justice of it, the sense of closure it provides after 9-11, and love for the people we lost that day.

    The “Blame America” meme is hard to overcome it seems.

  • Michele

    Thank you, Deacon Greg.

    I heard the news last night when people started shouting out the windows of their rooms at my college. One of my friends called out his window to me and told me the news. The campus then proceeded to erupt into a massive celebration. Watching this and reports of other celebrations at other colleges and cities disturbed me.

    First, it reminded me of the celebrations that happen when a team wins the World Series or the Superbowl. Go team America, we got ‘em, we won. People were in the streets chanting and singing, smoking cigars and drinking. But the singing resembled fight songs and the waving of flags resembled that of waving a team’s banner. It seemed as if no one took a moment to think deeper about the death of another human being. No one sat down and realized that this one man’s death does not magically mean we have won anything but the sick pleasure of revenge.

    Secondly, this nation actually is committed to taking the high road. Our soldiers follow the laws of war, even in countries where there are no rules. Children have placed IEDs and women have been used as sheilds. But when our soldiers stray from the laws of war, headlines are made, and those soldiers are brought to justice. It is a difficult fight they are fighting. But our commitment to the high road is what makes me love this country and honor the heroes who have died for the high road.

    Third, while I did not personally know anyone who died on Sept. 11th, I have several friends in Afghanistan and Iraq now. In fact, I may be over there in a year or two. The possible danger for these brave men and women that lies in the fallout of martyrdom seems more real to me than the thrill of revenge.

    Yet, if any of you were doubting the youth of this country, I encountered a friend of mine as I was returning to my room. He and two of my other friends had just heard the news, and he was leading them in prayer for our troops overseas, as well as for the soul of bin Laden. He too could be in Afghanistan in a year. My roommate was just as disturbed by the celebrations, neither of us participated. I know that we are not alone in that. I have spent my entire adult life under the shadow of the war on terror, and I know that it is important to recognize that while Osama bin Laden was a leader in an evil organization, there is plenty of evil in the world that has yet to be defeated.

    In closing, I know I will remember where I was on Sept 11th, 2001 (in class in 7th grade, the principal came over the PA system and asked us to pray for terrible events going on in our country) far more vividly than I will remember where I was on May 1st, 2011. Yesterday, and today, I remember more clearly where our deployed troops are, and pray that they will be safe in their service to our nation and to the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan. A true soldier prays for peace. I hope Americans continue praying for peace, and not for revenge.

  • Kate

    The funny thing is, Brother Jeff, that I have never, never been one to “blame America.” I have pretty much always defended US actions. But there is something so unseemly and coarse about partying in the streets because of this one’s man’s death (and that for vengeance) that is making me ashamed, today, for the first time in my life, of America.

  • pagansister

    The evening news(ABC) reported bin Laden was told to surrender by the men who entered his bedroom and refused—and was shot. He didn’t deserve to live—-but the military even had the body washed and wrapped in white cloth, on the ship, in keeping with Muslim law and Muslim prayers done by a Muslim sailor—that was, IMO more than he deserved. Then into the water so there would be no gathering site for his followers to come to. THAT was excellent planning. His wife ID’d him and so did DNA. The advice to not rejoice when your enemies fall? Not being taken by this person.

  • ecb

    “every man’s death diminishes me. Because I am involved in mankind. Therefore never know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”

  • Win Nelson

    What disturbed me most was the absence of prayer to those who were lost and their families, to our troops and their families and a call to keep them in our hearts and a call that this was part of a greater struggle, and in so doing, to maintain our humility.

  • Barbara

    Glad you wrote this Deacon Greg. The joy I heard expressed this morning left me feeling hollow. Rejoicing over Bin Laden’s death is unseemly, in my opinion, and is an expression of revenge.

  • Brad

    Nobody is celebrating the death of the man, but they are celebrating the justice that his death represents. They are celebrating that miniscule level of closure this brings to many of the 3000+ victims and their families. They are celebrating that this world is an ounce safer today than it was on Saturday morning.

    The perputally compassionate may still not find this to be enough, however. This man had a family, raised children, and was beloved by many. Those who celebrate this military achievement know better than simplifying his life to such a routine level. This man shamed and endangered his family, he raised children with a perverted translation of the word of God, and he was beloved by many whose hands dripped with blood of the innocent.

    It’s very simple, the more cherished a person was, the harder we will cry, the longer we will mourn. We’ve all lost people and have had varying degrees of sorrow depending on how much of a positive impact those people had on our lives. I now believe that the inverse relationship between positive impacts and sorrow is the same between negative impacts and joy.

    “The enlightened” shouldn’t be judging how callous the people around the world celebrating are. Instead, they should be re-evaluating just how grotesque a person had to have been in order to evoke such primal urges to celebrate after his immediate passing.

  • http://www.brutallyhonest.org Rick

    I confess to not reading all of the comments and so perhaps this has already been addressed.

    “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.” Proverbs 11:10

    Having trouble reconciling these apparent contradictions.

    If God ordains the structures and authorities in power, and they mete out justice as they are purposed in doing, why not rejoice?

    Struggling big-time here with Deacon Greg’s sentiments… not a position I’ve been in too many times before.

  • K. Tyler

    To claim that Bin Laden’s death was justified while the attack on the Twin Tower unjustified is completely elitist, and ignores the hundreds of thousands of deaths of innocents that American bombs, bullets and more importantly CASH and weapons have caused in Arab countries since we stuck our noses in their affairs LONG AGO.

    WE DECLARED WAR ON THEM LONG BEFORE THEY ATTACKED US, REMEMBER??

    It should have been expected, and guarded against. In our elitist arrogance the US took the attitude that “no one would DARE attack us, we can kill whoever we like and get away scot free… harummmph”

    Reap the rewards of your arrogance and elitism, and stfu.


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