The killing of Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011 presents an important moment of reflection, prayer, and action for peace-loving people around the globe.
We understand and share in a sense of relief and visceral satisfaction that bin Laden’s physical voice is silenced. A mass murderer is dead. As the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks and the founder of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden was the international icon of violent extremism and global terrorism for a decade. Almost 3,000 victims were killed in the 9/11 attacks, representing more than 90 countries. Not only did bin Laden’s evil plot result in untold physical and emotional suffering, he hijacked and distorted Islam itself, falsely portraying it as a religion of violence. President Obama was correct in saying that bin Laden was “not a Muslim leader, he was a mass murderer of Muslims.”
At the same time Jesus calls us to a new way of being, “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put this in realistic terms, “Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all.”
Violence breeds more violence. An eye-for-an-eye definition of justice does not interrupt the spiral of violence that takes us all down to destruction where there are no winners, only universal loss and destruction. That is the nature of our interconnectedness today. The nature of the global network of terror demands that perpetrators be captured and brought to trial under the rule of law. The rule of law must prevail over the rule of war.
The book of Proverbs teaches, "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when your enemy stumbles.” (Proverbs 24:17) We must see the dangers and distractions of triumphalism in celebrations of another’s death. Rather, we must rededicate ourselves to a united international effort to replace policies of retaliation and humiliation against enemies with passionate and imaginative diplomacy.
See the video of Susan Russell's homily at the Noon Eucharist on Monday, May 2, 2011, announcing the statement from the rector.
Ed Bacon is on sabbatical leave. For further information please contact Communication Director Keith Holeman at 626.583.2765 or firstname.lastname@example.org