Sunday, May 01, 2011

Feeling Strange About Bin Laden's Death

I preface this post by saying that these are the feelings I am feeling right now, and I don't wish to be attacked for feeling them.

I recently learned the news that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. My first thought was "Finally!" but as I dwelled on it and as I read some of the comments of my friends' reactions on Facebook, I had another thought: while there is some comfort in knowing that a man who committed evil acts and was continually interested in our downfall is no longer on this earth, at the same time I found myself having a hard time sharing in the glee that many seem to feel over this man's death.

Please don't misunderstand me; I think the world is a better place without Osama Bin Laden in it, and I truly hope this can bring some closure to those who lost loved ones on 9-11. The man did some terrible, unconscionable things, and I can understand that people are happy that he's dead. I just have a hard time myself celebrating another human being's death even if that human being did some horrible things.

I guess what I'm saying is that more than relishing this man's death, I feel sorry that he felt he had to cause injury and death to so many innocents for what seems an unworthy cause. Yes, I can be happy that justice has been served in a way, but I don't feel like it's right to be so gleeful about it. Again, these are my feelings and mine alone. If others want to be gleeful, that is their right. It just doesn't feel right for me to be feeling that way.

At the very core of it, if I believe what I claim to believe - what I believe Christ taught as I understand it - every soul is valued and loved by our Father in Heaven. That certainly doesn't mean he condones wicked actions nor does it mean justice shouldn't be served if a soul has done something that merits it. Therefore I have to believe, though it is often difficult in my mortal state to do so, that Heavenly Father loves a Bin Laden, a Charles Manson, or a Hitler as much as He loves a Gordon B. Hinckley, a Gandhi, or a Mother Theresa, for example. I don't imagine Heavenly Father is feeling much joy over the things Bin Laden did with much of his life, but nor do I think He feels much joy in celebrating how that mortal life ended.

In the end, God is judge of all: you, me, Hinckley, Lincoln, King, Stalin, Hitler, and Bin Laden alike. We are all his children, and even if I don't fully comprehend the kind of unconditional, all-reaching love He has for each and every one of us, I believe in that love. I know it exists and I know it sees every facet of the human heart, even a Bin Laden's. I don't feel like celebrating his death even if I hope at the same time that the world may be safer without his presence (and even that I am not sure of).

Again, I am not defending the man or his actions; I'm just choosing not to be gleeful over how his life was lived and how it ended.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Thanks for posting this! :)

MoHoHawaii said...

3,000 people were killed on 9/11.

The two wars that resulted from 9/11 have caused the deaths of 1,000,000 people, about half of them civilians who merely happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's payback of 300 to 1, if your morality requires an eye for an eye (which we can all agree Christian teaching does not require, in fact quite the opposite.)

To kill these 1,000,000 people, we've spent 3 trillion dollars on two wars that have lasted ten years and show no signs of stopping. To put that in perspective, consider that 3 trillion dollars is 3,000 billion dollars. This means we have spent a billion dollars, or 1,000 million dollars to avenge the death of each and every person killed in 9/11. So far.

My heart is sick over the public reaction to today's news. I have no idea if extra-judicial killing (i.e., assassination by order of a sitting U.S. president) in the case at hand is legal or advisable. Perhaps, it is both, perhaps neither. I'm not going to weigh in on that question. However, I do know that dancing in the streets over the death of another human being is shameful. I don't care who the person was. It's not something that requires a party.

(I do think President Obama's remarks announcing the event had the appropriate, sober tone.)

Also, Bush dismissed Bin Laden as irrelevant back in 2002. What's changed since then?

Sometimes I feel very, very out of synch with the spirit of the times.

Beck said...

I'm feeling very strange about it all... definitely not in the mood to celebrate.

Sam Noll said...

Thank you so much for your post. I have had a hard time with this because I feel the same way as you. I have yet to actually say that out loud to anyone, so typing it here is very helpful. Thank you again.

The Faithful Dissident said...

I feel much the same way as you do, Cody.

A friend of mine on Facebook summed it up well:

In addition to many horrific crimes of violence, Bin Laden is also responsible for two crimes against the American psyche:

1) The belief that revenge is a legitimate and acceptable emotion; and

2) The conviction that exigent circumstances can require the abandonment of principle.

Let us hope that his death leads to a re-evaluation of these ideas.

Miguel said...

Wow, you nailed it and said what I've been trying to process so thanks!

I do see a little bit of closure for the families and victims of 911 but past that I honestly don't see much relevance in the events or how it is that I need to celebrate, it just is what it is...

BHodges said...

I never saw this blog before, I congratulate you on what a fine blog it is, and I really appreciated your thoughts on bin Laden.