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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rustler Article for 5.6.11

Monday night we were informed that the United States military had successfully eliminated the threat to the world that was Osama bin Laden. Moments after the announcement crowds gathered at the former site of the World Trade Center in New York and the White House in Washington, all celebrating and chanting “USA!”
Shortly thereafter there began a national discussion on whether or not we should “celebrate” the killing of a man, even one as vile as bin Laden. In the conversation that has followed these last few days, many Christians are divided over their beliefs and their patriotism. Is it “Christian” to be happy someone, let alone a Muslim, has been killed? Should we condemn those who, even under orders, killed another human being? What about the poor woman used as a human shield that died in the firefight?
Please understand that whatever position you take in this argument you are making a theological statement about your faith. If you proudly cheer with the patriots that America has won a victory by killing bin Laden, then you testify that some killing is justified, that sometimes Christians have to hold their noses and kill. If, however, you side with those who object to the cheers of joy and celebration you testify that killing is never justified and that Christians should denounce killing in all its forms.
I am not going to definitively take a side in this argument, because I’m not settled on one. On the one hand, I want to feel “ok” with an enemy of my people being stopped once and for all. On the other hand I mourn the killing of even a murderer like Osama. Jesus’ words are clear: don’t kill. So I’m convicted, satisfied, guilty, and proud all at once. All I can do is breathe a prayer with my friend Roger and say “God have mercy.”
Remember: you cannot comment on an event like the killing of bin Laden without commenting on what you believe. As one of my friends said this week, whenever we cheer or condemn this and other moral actions “our theology is showing.”

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