Why I Weep.

Bin Laden

As I look at my Facebook homepage and my Twitter feeds I see updates from my friends and family, people who I thought I knew well…I was wrong.  Several of the updates are just cut and pastes from news reports or URLs that lead to a video report of the hottest news off the press, I am of course talking about the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Among those status updates however, are ones rejoicing in the killing of Bin Laden, some even giving thanks to God for his death, they are the updates that I weep about.

President Obama, in his address to the nation and the world repeatedly talks of the American Army’s mission to kill or capture Bin Laden, Obama says “And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against Al-Qaeda…” This statement in itself is enough to cause anyone to pause, and I think it hits home more when it is written in black and white than recited from the comfort of the White House. This statement shows an inherent inconsideration for life, an attitude that I, as a Christian cannot accept. I think most Christians would testify to the sanctity of life, and even Obama himself refers to this sanctity in his address. How is it then, that this sanctity can be violated in a way that can only be described as sacrilegious, and yet the world rejoices? Osama Bin Laden is a bad man, fact. Does that mean that we are free to kill him? What makes us different to Bin Laden? How is the killing (not to mention the collateral damage) any different to the atrocities that he himself perpetrated? Simply put, there isn’t a difference. Our difference was our deeply held conviction that all humankind are created in the image of God and because of that every human life is inherently sacred. This isn’t a claim that only Christians can make, scripture doesn’t tell us that only the people we like are created in the image of God. It doesn’t say that only people who are the same colour as us are created in the image of God. It says that all are created in the image of God, and that includes Osama Bin Laden. How then can we rejoice in his death? How can any Christian, anywhere possibly rejoice in the death and brutal killing of any fellow human being? Now, I know some would say, and some have blogged that Bin Laden’s death was justice. Justice for 9/11, justice for all of those who have died in the fight against terrorism. Osama met his end in a violent and extreme way and he deserved it. I am sorry but as soon as we begin to be as flippant with the value of life as those who take it away in the first place we are no longer witnessing to Christ crucified and risen. We begin to move away from what it means to be followers of Christ. When we begin to rejoice in the death of another person then we move away from Christ full stop. There is no grey area on this issue, Christians everywhere should be condemning this attitude that has reared its ugly head in the fall out of Osama’s death.

To rejoice in the death of another person, save that of rejoicing in the hope of the resurrection, is to do a disservice to our calling and is an act of contempt to the cross of Christ. Bin Laden’s death, in the great scheme of things is an almost non-issue. All it has done is given America and other countries justification for what has been 10 years of pain, loss, grief and death. His death will no doubt re-energise what is an already unjust war (not that there is such a thing as a just war.) Bin Laden’s death isn’t something to rejoice about, but to weep about. His death has just bought the world another 10 years of possible pain and inevitable suffering. And even more than the fact that people are rejoicing in death, I weep because of that.

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About Christopher Huriwai
I am a twenty-something, husband, student, minister, Anglican, Maori, son, brother, uncle.

7 Responses to Why I Weep.

  1. Chris, I share your sorrow and disappointment. The rejoicing among so-called “conservative Christians” in the U.S. today is embarrassing and disheartening. From the moment of the attacks on September 11th, the cry for revenge and killing has been the loudest and most persistent voice. Those are not what Jesus taught, and I am horrified to see how quickly and conveniently some of my fellow Christians can reject Jesus’ messages of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation, in favor of violence and retribution. I pray that, at the moment of his death, Osama bin Laden prayed to his God for mercy, and I am confident that, if he did so, he received it in abundance, as I pray that we all will. I am not surprised at my President’s speech – he is a politician who is running for re-election, and he could not afford to express any other opinion. I hope that, in his heart of hearts, he grieves for the death of this fellow human being.

    Blessings!
    Brother Tom+ OPA

    • Ruth says:

      I’m sure many people feel the same but I admire your courage to write openly about it.

      God is a God of love but don’t let us forget that He is also a God of justice. Ultimately we will ALL face individual judgement whether good or bad. Personally I thank God that I don’t have to do the judging.

      • Hi Ruth, thanks for your comment. You are right, we will all stand before God at the last. As you say, God is a God of Love, and he doesn’t rejoice in the death of anybody. “As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but would rather them turn from their evil ways.” Ezekiel 33:11.

        Nga Manaakitanga,

        Christopher.

  2. Geoffrey Dunbar says:

    Bad non-Christians are bad enough. But the so-called “Western democracies” (ALL predominantly Christian societies, we are always asked to believe) have been given dispensation to kill civilians in large
    numbers — men, women and children — ever since Winston Churchill was persuaded by “Bomber” Harris in WWII to try to shorten the war by the mass bombing of civilians in German cities. Before the war’s end, American President Truman didn’t need any persuading that shortening the Pacific war by mass atomic execution of civilians — men, women and children — was a justifiable, moral no-brainer. Taking innocent lives would save other lives.

    Today, the Americans in particular go to great lengths to deny any DELIBERATE taking of civilian life. Thus, the hundreds of thousands of civilians who died as a result of the US-led embargo of essential goods and supplies into Iraq don’t count, because somehow it wasn’t seen as deliberate and, anyway, Iraq’s government could have prevented it all by simply buckling under to its enemies’ demands.

    The concept of “collateral” damage resulting from military action is another device intended to preserve the fiction that the armies of the West don’t ever deliberately kill civilians. However, when the civilian deaths occur as the result of air strikes, the highly vaunted ability to “precision bomb” has now rendered the idea of accidental (i.e., “collateral”) execution by bomb obsolete. This is why the recent killing of Ghadaffi’s son (and quite likely three of his grandchildren — an accusation that has still be be even slightly disproven) must be flatly denied, since the argument of “collateral damage” will no longer wash.

    Likewise, the US claim that Bin Laden used his wife as a “human shield” is absolutely necessary, if the fiction of civilian inviolability (except under demonstrably accidental circumstances) is to be maintained.

    Where we have come to is this: Obama, Cameron, Sarkozy, et al = child killers. To the degree that our own PM supports the air attacks on Tripoli (why hasn’t a jounalist asked him?) he ALSO is a child killer. And even if the Nato leaders eventually are shown NOT to be guilty of the deaths of Ghadaffi’s grandchildren,
    their participation in the Afghan War (for example) has produced plenty of evidence that they bear responsibility for the deaths of many, many innocent civilians — men, women and children.

    Only our eager, uncritical acceptance of their flimsy rationalisations keeps them safe from immediate indictment in the Court of Western World Opinion.

  3. Sophie Hollis says:

    This is a strong statement Chris that I largely agree with. Ever since the news broke, I havent felt right about it. Yes, he created the plans of terror but isnt revenge just as bad?

    This battle to get Osama accomplished nothing, particularly for those familes who have loved ones fighting overseas that still wont be able to return home inspite of this event. Now is not a time for celebration.

  4. Bolivia says:

    Psalm 103:8-17 – I particularly love verse 10 where it states, “He does not punish us for all our sins;
    he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.” I am so thankful that you are bold enough to write such an article about the current situations occuring on the other side of the world. 1st thing that happened Monday morning when i got into work was the discussion of “Osama Bin Laden’s death” and so many of my colleagues made snide comments like “He deserves it”, Good on Obama… etc the list goes on but the question is “who are we to judge?” So sad to hear of others rejoicing in the death of another human… funny how angels rejoice when one sinner repents but humans rejoice in the death of a human… anyways thanks Chris for the insight. Glad i joined twitter and got this off Don’s page… yeah stalker muchh… lol but yeah thanks again Chris. So good we have young people who are into this kind of thing… love it.

  5. Jordin Faith Tupuola says:

    i agree. completely. the day that Osama was executed i must say that yes i was happy. not that he died i was happy that justice was served. but then viewing how people are just posting saying they all happy and stuff and showing off the photos videos and etc? just makes me sad and wonder if we really are Christians. executing Osama did us a favor but also made the problem worse. i have family and friends now that i aint even sure if im gonna see again. having thoughts running through my mind if we even safe now thinking that a bomb will be flying through and questioning out safety. people are stating that this will lead to a ww3 clash…

    killing osama was good but celebrating in his death just made us be just as low as any unchristian person if you ask me.

    sup

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