Thursday, May 05, 2011

Osama bin Laden: must he have been murdered?

Like, I hope, many people, my sister was quietly appalled at the blatant rejoicing of a death of a human being. On her Facebook page she wrote:
I'm trying to figure out the morality of this Bin Laden assassination. Although I don't think it's wrong, but indeed right and just, I don't think the death of another human being should be celebrated. For sure not in a manner reminiscent of New Year's Eve or some team championship.
I gave her post the old FB "thumbs up" and commented that it was well put. And it is well put.

But I need to go further.

I need to ask: was it necessary to kill this man, in the manner which, according to reports, he was killed?

To understand my question, you need to understand my perspective on all human life, on all creation. All creation is, or once was, good, created by a God who doesn't deal in creating crap.

You also need to understand that, from a Christian perspective, it is the duty of all to insure that all souls -- indeed, ultimately all bodies united with their souls -- end up in Heaven with the God who loved them into being.

When the news broke of the assassination, I obeyed without questioning the impulse -- or was it the prompting of the Holy Spirit? -- to pray for the man's immortal beg for mercy on him.

What followed -- what assaulted all of my senses -- was an eerie chorus of media-covered celebration. Celebration of a man's death.

I can, I believe, understand the all-too-human instinct to celebrate the end, please God, of the activities of a man driven to terrorist, terrifying, unholy acts.

But what I can't understand? The usurpation of a right belonging only to God: condemnation to Hell.

"Rot in Hell" was the headline blazing the New York Post. "Hell has a new citizen" wrote at least one Catholic priest on Facebook. It didn't hasn't ended, although I hope it does soon.

"I disapprove," said Agatha Christie's famous detective Hercule Poirot, "of murder." I do too, and not just because "the Church says so" but because it robs a beloved-by-God soul of any chance repent for past sins.

And while I know nothing about the waging of war, the tactics of the battalion, I still have to ask: wasn't it at all possible to capture Osama bin Laden, rather than destroy him? To give him every opportunity available to save his soul?

Of course, despite what the New York Post and others who have presumed -- without any right to do so -- it may well be that his soul was saved, hard as this may be for you to believe.

I hope so. And I plan to continue to pray so. And to pray that in the future, we give our fellow human beings the basic right to repentance, and everlasting life.