“Death of OBL reflects the world’s universal longing for justice. We want a God of love, but we also want a God of justice.”
–Dan Darling via Twitter (@dandarling)
Since the news broke last night about the death of Osama Bin Laden, there has been a flurry of reaction—some patriotic, some celebratory, some hilarious, some warning, and of course, some articulating the “Christian” response to Osama’s death. According to some individuals (who I don’t want to call out and “flame” on this blog post), because Osama Bin Laden was a human being created in the image of God (a fact I don’t dispute), Christians should not be celebrating his death. He was, after all, a human being. In fact, the only “Christian” responses I’ve read on the blogosphere are ones condemning Christians for being happy because, they claim, Jesus would not celebrate Osama’s death.
Honestly, I don’t know what Jesus would have done. While I can’t envision Him dancing around with a flag and a tacky patriotic T-shirt (His allegiance was to God after all, though He did render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s), I also cannot say that Jesus would not approve of Osama’s death. Since there is no actual depiction of Jesus and the death of a human terrorist in the Bible, I guess we’ll just have to divvy up the Bible verses between this side and that and try to make sense of this whole thing.
And that’s the funny part—I’ve got my verses talking about how God hates injustice, my Old Testament stories about how God smite “mighty” tyrants (like how Pharaoh’s heart was hardened against God, which I would argue, is probably also the condition of Osama’s heart), and a slew of other Scripture to back up my position. The other side has verses about how Jesus calls us to love our enemy and do good to those who mistreat us, but then again, aren’t we talking about interpersonal conflicts? Jesus also said there would be wars and rumors of war…and He didn’t usher in the peace that everyone was calling for. In fact, He brought a “sword.”
Therefore, I don’t think either side can really lay claim to the biblical position because I’ll match you Bible verse for Bible verse. We can argue this thing all day and all night. So I’m not going to do that. In fact, I’m not even interested in debate. I merely want to say this—to those of you who, like me, are tired of other Christians trying to make you feel guilty for being happy about a very bad man being killed, you are not alone. In fact, you may find much justification for your feelings in Psalms and the Old Testament (which some have conveniently thrust aside).
My breakthrough came from a high school girl named Janette, who tweeted this: “’When the wicked perish there are shouts of joy’ Proverbs 11:10.” She told me that she felt bad about celebrating until she found this verse. Interestingly enough, Janette’s older brother is in the Air Force and has served overseas fighting in the war on terror (or whatever we’re calling it these days.) Despite her family allegiance, she sought a higher allegiance—one to her God.
I am not saying that Janette’s verse or conclusion settles the argument—that would be oversimplifying the whole debate. I am merely pointing out that there is another side to the “Christian” response—one that understands that to bring justice, social or otherwise, evil must be destroyed. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we know that evil will be destroyed once and for all, but until then, we simply do our best to understand how to live in light of what Scripture and God reveal to us. Unfortunately, we all seem to have varying opinions on what that is. And my opinion is that we Christians can celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden, for it is a picture of when our Warrior God will destroy Satan and his legions. One day we Christians will be at a miraculous party, a wedding feast, for the royal union of Christ and His Church—after He vanquishes the villains. Now that’s something worth celebrating.
Here’s a post my grad school professor, Dr. Phil Monroe (call him “Dr. Phil”) wrote titled, “What is the proper response to Bin Laden’s death?” I believe that Dr. Phil and I are saying the same thing, but being as he’s highly intelligent and much more eloquent, so he says it minus my tongue-in-cheek.
On a completely different note…I can’t help but sharing some of the funny (and touching) Tweets I’ve read about the death of OBL in the same post. I don’t want to overplay the “Osama is dead” thing, so you get a mixture of both sides of my personality in one bite.
In no particular order, here we go:
@Reuters: U.S. official says loss of OBL puts al Qaeda on path of decline that will be difficult to reverse.
@jaykrul: The joy is not that he is in hell but that he can’t destroy other peoples’ lives.
@jimmyfallon: Got Bin Laden AND interrupted Celebrity Apprentice? Win for Obama all around.
While waiting for the President to officially announce OBL’s death @jenbjones said “News folks are now reading tweets to stall for time. All they had to do was ask me to sing. I have numbers ready just for times like this…” To which I asked what number she had prepared. Jenny’s response, “I’d do my Born in the USA/Material Girl mash-up. It’s only half relevant, but the costume is very sparkly.” (Read her blog at JennyBJones.com. She’s a laugh riot!)
@amysondova I might just unfollow the next person who tries to make me feel guilty for being happy about the death of a VERY BAD man. (That’s me and I think I’m funny because a lot of people RT’d this!)
@KatDuncanPhoto: Obama didn’t address speculation that bin Laden was killed by a blue bird that turned into 3 blue birds just before hitting the compound. (Angry Birds game referece)
@AmandaStratton: The girl married her Prince. The bad guy is dead. It’s a real Disney weekend here on Earth.
@ArizonaNewsnet: Historical note: Hitler death announcement also came on May 1 (1945).
@nimprojects: Is Obama also going to announce who got fired on Celebrity Apprentice?
I can’t find the Tweet, but Harry Potter nerds all over the place will appreciate this one (paraphrased): “Apparently Obama’s birth certificate was Obama Bin Laden’s final horcrux.”
So, what’s your response to Osama’s death (without getting too heady)? What’s your favorite Tweet or something funny you heard? And what do you think about the U.S. burying OBL at sea at 2 AM Monday morning–does that scream conspiracy theory to you?