Monday, May 9, 2011

We Got Him

This is about a week late, but it's given me some time to mull over the death of Osama Bin Laden. I always think it's better to wait when you have strong feelings on something and sleep on it, think it over, before you put your opinion out there. I felt such strong emotions. And after a week, I'm ready put out my thoughts (for what they're worth) on the situation, from a Christian prospective. Beginning with some of the statistics from September 11, 2001, via New York Magazine:

Total number killed in attacks (official figure as of 9/5/02): 2,819

Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343

Number of NYPD officers: 23

Number of Port Authority police officers: 37

Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60

Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402

Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614

Number of employees lost at Cantor Fitzgerald: 658

Number of U.S. troops killed in Operation Enduring Freedom: 22

Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115

Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1

Age of the greatest number who died: between 35 and 39

Bodies found "intact": 289

Body parts found: 19,858

Number of families who got no remains: 1,717

To those of you who remember that day, I'm sure you can't erase the images of people jumping from the 90th floor of the World Trade Center rather than be incinerated by the flames engulfing the towers. You probably remember the phone calls played from passengers on United flight 93 to loved ones. It was a day that was truly scarring for every American who was glued to the TV, watching these events unfold. The "mastermind" behind these attacks was a name few of us were very familiar with: Osama Bin Laden, who had previously been quoted as saying: Allah has ordered us to glorify the truth and to defend Muslim land, especially the Arab peninsula ... against the unbelievers. After World War II, the Americans grew more unfair and more oppressive towards people in general and Muslims in particular. ... The Americans started it and retaliation and punishment should be carried out following the principle of reciprocity, especially when women and children are involved.

Men, think of your wife. Mothers, think of your children. Osama Bin Laden would have killed them if he had the opportunity. I've seen so many Christians posting things on Facebook, Twitter, and speaking through radio about how they find it hard or nearly impossible to rejoice in another life lost. Many note the words of Christ saying "turn the other cheek", which is understandable when it comes to a lie or sour feelings between an acquaintance or even a family member and yourself. But to do the same with the mass murderer, life ruiner, a
person who has maimed tens of thousands of lives, is wrong and only inviting more death.

I take you back to the book of Exodus, when Moses parted and crossed the Red Sea. After all the Hebrew people had safely passed, he once again raised his staff, and the water came and engulfed the Egyptians. After this, Moses composed a song of thanksgiving to the Lord, which can be fully found at Exodus 15:1-18. Here is an excerpt:

2 “The LORD is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The LORD is a warrior;
the LORD is his name.
4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army
he has hurled into the sea.
The best of Pharaoh’s officers
are drowned in the Red Sea.

5 The deep waters have covered them;
they sank to the depths like a stone.
6 Your right hand, LORD,
was majestic in power.
Your right hand, LORD,
shattered the enemy."

I have seen quotes from inspiring figures in the past, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr condemning taking human life, but I felt it was important to go to the Word. Though it is true that God does not "delight in the death of the wicked", one can only wonder if his disappointment lies more in the actual killing or in the fact that one of His creations turned away from Him and had to lose his life for because of that.

To those of you who are against capital punishment under any circumstances, obviously there is no convincing you that the killing of Bin Laden was just. To those of you who are against capital punishment, but relieved in the death of Osama Bin Laden, I ask you how you can condemn the death of a man who has killed one and savor the death of a man who killed thousands? Either way, a life was taken and a group of family and friends was emotionally destroyed by the actions of that man.

Usually, I'm very apathetic on matters like this, but for some reason, the reactions I saw of solemnity were very upsetting, especially when God was used to justify those feelings. Twisting the Word of the Bible to fit one's personal views is exactly what the Islamic extremists have done with the Qu'ran. I will be the first to admit that I do not understand the mind of God. I look to the Bible, and try to figure out what one should think about this situation. But when something is so upsetting, so mind boggling as what happened on September 11, 2011, it is hard to find a concrete answer of how one is supposed to feel about the death of Osama Bin Laden. I just wanted to share my voice along with some Biblical truth for everyone to digest. And in the words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that".

When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy. - Proverbs 11:10

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