Last night the world received tremendous news: Osama Bin Laden is dead. The mastermind behind the attack on 9-11, the 1998 attacks on the US embassies, and the USS Cole has been killed at the hands of American military forces in Pakistan. I am thankful for our nation’s leaders and for our military who continue to defend our freedoms and who give so much to make the world a safer place.
Osama Bin Laden’s death, one might argue, is a justified one – a sponsor of terror and hatred, Bin Laden is not only responsible for the death of thousands of Americans, but also of unnumbered Muslim’s around the world. In the name of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, not only have the symbols of western democracy, Christianity, and capitalism been the targets of senseless destruction, but so have Mosques, schools, and community centers in eastern and Muslim societies. The dead of Osama Bin Laden may not make the world a whole lot safer, as surely there will be volunteers eager to take his place. Still, the world is short one more murderer, and he shall not be missed.
There is something that bothers me, not about Bin Laden’s death, but about the jubilant reaction of so many at the news. Watching the news coverage last night and this morning, I was disturbed to see images of great masses of people gathered at Ground Zero and the White House, chanting “U.S.A” and singing the National Anthem. While there were a few there who treated this as a somber moment of long-awaited justice finally fulfilled, the majority of those shown looked like soccer hooligans who got lost on the way to the pitch.
Crowds of twenty-somethings crowded to the streets creating a flash mob of revelers, dancing on the grave of the wicked.
To be honest, it reminded me a lot of the celebrations in the Middle East shortly after 9/11…
As I said before, I am thankful for our brave military forces and determined leaders who have brought an end to this man’s grip of terror. But I am reminded of passages like Ezekiel 18:23 (ESV) “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” This is a time to give thanks to God for justice being done, a time to commit to working for peace and the dignity of all people.
But is it becoming of a people to rejoice in death?