Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Should We Be Celebrating the Death of Osama bin Laden?

Shouts of "USA! USA! USA!" rang out in the streets of midtown Manhattan and in front of the White House at the news Sunday night of the demise of top Al-Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden. The celebrations of the killing of the mastermind behind the 9/11 attack on the U.S.A. were patriotic and victorious.

However, for the past two days radio talk shows were flooded with callers who questioned whether or not Americans should celebrate the death of bin Laden.  Several people felt the celebrants were cheering in the streets as though their favorite sports team had won a World Series or Super Bowl championship.

I reject this thoughtless comparison and question the wisdom of those who dare compare the rejoicing of over a city's baseball team to the sense of justice felt over the shooting of an enemy of America who killed thousands of our people.  Unlike several sports street celebrations, there was no rioting, destruction of property, looting or attacks on the police by those who enjoyed America's victory over Al-Qaeda's evil leader.

Many callers felt those who rejoiced over the Al-Qaeda leader's death were no different than our enemies who danced in the streets when New York's Twin Towers fell on 9/11.  In fact, the opinion voiced by many stated we should never celebrate the death of anyone. Rather, the demise of a person is always a time of sadness. All deaths are equal.

I find nothing distasteful at the sight of Americans rejoicing over the news of Osama bin Laden's death. Yet I find a lot to take offense at by callers who felt Americans should not rejoice over the death of a noted enemy of America.

First, the celebration over the death of Osama bin Laden marked the triumph of good over evil.  Osama bin Laden plotted with his Al-Qaeda goons to kill as many American citizens as possible, including Muslims.  In several videos bin Laden gladly took responsibility for masterminding the 9/11 massacre.  For the families who lost loved ones in the toppling of the Twin Towers, the United Airlines Flight 93 disaster and the attack on the Pentagon, they were given a sense of righteous revenge knowing bin Laden faced justice.

Second, the celebration of the death of Osama bin Laden is a normal reaction to the downfall of  a wicked leader.  Though I was not alive when the news came across the wires that Adolph Hitler was dead, I can imagine the celebration by "America's greatest generation" over the death of this maniacal dictator.

I rejoiced when Saddam Hussein, the murderer of hundreds of thousands of his own Iraqi people, was hung for his heinous crimes.  In the Book of Esther chapter 9:16-18 describes how the people of Israel created the Feast of Esther or Purim to celebrate the death of Haman, a Persian official who plotted the destruction of the Jewish people in Persia.  In addition to Haman's death, the Jewish people also killed 75,000 inhabitants of Persia who were seeking to destroy the Jewish population.  Esther 9:19 describes how the Jewish people set aside the fourteen day of the month of Adar as a "day for gladness and feasting."

Third, the celebration over the death of Osama bin Laden demonstrates that all deaths are not the same.  When a loved one dies, we are saddened by their passing.  However, when Osama bin Laden was shot in the face and in the chest, I was not saddened for his wives nor the bin Laden family.  I saw his death as just dessert for a man who dedicated himself to terrorist activities and devoted his talents to the destruction of others. Proverbs 11:10 instructs us that "When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness."

If a person struggles over the ability to feel of sense of justice when an evil man is executed, that individual has lost their moral compass.

I remember as a young child watching the hanging of Nazi killer Adolph Eichmann, and how proud I was of the Israelis for tracking down this monster, putting him on trial and then executing him for the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people.  As a young child I had a sense of justice and have refused to allow our  morally softening culture from taking that quality from me.

I'm sad to say that many of the callers protesting the celebration of the death of bin Laden over the radio were men.  I would call them men who have lost their moral spine - men who most likely would not serve in the military due to their refusal to see the necessity of war to protect and preserve the freedom of our country.

I often wonder if these same men would've refused to fight Hitler's Nazi Germany were they alive during World War II.  No wonder the Marines' slogan say, "We're looking for a few good men."

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