Monday, May 2, 2011

Celebrating the Death of an Enemy

Last night, after working out and taking the boys to swimming, I got home and settled in to read.  It had been a long day.  Internet was off.  TV was off.    The wife and I both sat on the sofa, me reading my book for the D.Min program and she working late as she so often does.  We did this until about 11, and then we went to bed.  The TV was on for a minute or two as she went through her necessary ablutions and shutdown rituals, but it was Netflix streaming through our Roku topbox.  We were still blissfully oblivious of the world.

Which is why, when I finished walking the dog and went to pick up the newspaper from our driveway, that as my hand went down to grab it,  I noticed that the headline was huge.  What?  What was this?  A big headline, taking me by surprise?  I'm usually so connected that I know things the moment they happen.  Here I am learning about something like it's 1892, through the paper, made of paper, arriving at my house.  It was an odd feeling.

Then I processed the headline, and saw the picture of Bin Laden, and thought, wow. 

Oh.  My. 

Being a born and bred DC townie, that thought was followed immediately by the thought, well, I guess that wraps up the 2012 presidental election. 

It'll also mean that the "Birthers" will be joined by "Deathers," those folks who'll swear up and down that Osama Bin Laden was never killed and/or had actually been killed years before, and that the whole thing is just a conspiracy to score political points.  They'll have plenty of opportunities to pitch out their crazy while Obama celebrates his second term, and still more when he becomes Secretary General of the newly muscular United Nations in 2021.  You know, so he can join with the Illuminati, the Bilderbergers, and the Free Masons as they welcome in the thousand year rule of our Extra-Dimensional Overlords in 2023. 

All part of the plan, baby, all part of the plan.

The killing of Bin Laden doesn't, of course, solve anything strategically.  The Middle East is still a mess.  It will certainly be a major psychological blow to Al Qaida and those who support it.   The young crowds that gathered shouting and gleefully cheering outside the White House and at the 9/11 memorial site last night reflect that psychological reality.   We hated Bin Laden. We had reason to hate him.  Now, we have destroyed him.  It smells like victory. 

Personally, I harbored no human love for Bin Laden.   It is not possible for me, as a husband and a father, to love a man who would personally have killed my Jewish wife and both of my Jewish children if given half a chance.

But neither, as a Christian, can I bring myself to celebrate it.  With the death of Bin Laden comes the end of any chance at his redemption.  Yes, I know, it wasn't going to happen.  But still.  With the death of Bin Laden comes the reminder of how deeply and completely a human life was wasted and squandered in the service of hatred and death.  With the death of Bin Laden comes a reminder of the thousands that died because of his hateful actions, and the many thousands more who have died in the wars that followed.   His death will bring none of them back to the arms of their loved ones.  With his death comes the knowledge...from my faith...that he is now in the presence of God, and that the consuming fire of God's love that is my joy and hope is for him an impossibly unbearable and eternal anguish.

None of those things are cause for celebration.  Just somber reflection, and then moving on. 

There's a lot more work to be done in this mess of a world.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to speak for a moment in accord with you. Bin Laden was not effectively killed by the USA; he took his blood 'on his own head' as it says in the scriptures. He killed himself, some Seals just made it an incarnate reality and helped realize some of God's justice on Earth.

    Should we celebrate that he brought his blood on his own head? No, certainly not! Was it ever certain he could not be saved? No, I was never certain. It would have been quite a turn, but human history has such turns sometimes.

    Should we celebrate that the Earth just got a little closer to God's justice? Perhaps... but I can't really bring myself to celebrate that grace in the context of such striking depravity. It's like celebrating partial recovery from a stroke. There's enough memory of the time before Bin Laden to wish it had just never happened, that he had lived within God's moral laws a little better.

    Sometimes even the smallest glimmer of goodness is better than nothing at all, and to see those lines transgressed is blatant, bold, scandalous fashion, is depressing.

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