Jewish Journal


May 2, 2011

Should religious people rejoice bin Laden’s death?


Going back-to-back-to-back-to-back like the Dodgers in the 2006 NL West race against the Padres, here comes the fourth straight Osama bin Laden-related post at this here blog. The reason, besides the fact that bin Laden’s death is big news, is that RNS has an interesting story about how religious people should respond.

Here’s an excerpt:

“A Christian never rejoices” in the death of any man, no matter how evil, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said, but instead “reflects on the serious responsibility of each and every one of us has before God and before man.”

For many Americans, bin Laden’s death was quite literally an answer to prayer. Muslims who saw bin Laden as an apostate breathed a quiet sigh of relief. Ethicists and pastors searched for the appropriate space between vindication and vengeance.

U.S. special forces did what they had to do. How everyone else is supposed to feel about it is a little less clear.

“As Christians, we believe that there can be no celebrating, no dancing in the streets, no joy, in relation to the death of Osama bin Laden,” Christian ethicist David Gushee said. “In obedience to Scripture, there can be no rejoicing when our enemies fall.”

Definitely an interesting story hook. My Facebook news feed has been a mixture of people celebrating Osama’s death, references to law school finals, bin Laden jokes (which I really don’t get), and people commenting on Osama’s death in light of God’s justice.

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