Monday, May 2, 2011

On the Death of bin Laden

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Matthew 5:43-44
I'll admit straight up that I'm not a good enough Christian to pray for someone as evil as Osama bin Laden. I know I'm supposed to love my enemies and pray for them, but I can't.

When I heard the news of bin Laden's death, I felt several emotions simultaneously. Surprise and relief were the two biggest, followed by concern for potential repercussions. I'll state unequivocally that I think bin Laden is an evil man, that in some grand moral scheme of things, justice was served, and that he's burning in Hell.[1]

However, when I got home, I logged into Facebook and was saddened by what I saw. Many of my friends were posting joyous status updates. They were happy at his demise. Even though I knew the result was just, it still felt profoundly wrong to see people who profess to be followers of the Prince of Peace cheering at the death of a human being.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth.
Proverbs 24:17
I can't love my enemy, but I can at least refrain from rejoicing at his demise. I think an instructive passage can be found in the Pearl of Great Price.[2] A vision Enoch had of God is recorded, and God details the coming flood.
And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?
And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?...
The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands...
And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;
And the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them.
Moses 7:28-34

So, even as God knew He had to destroy the wicked, He still wept at their demise. How can I justify doing any less?

[1] I'm aware that there's no place in official LDS theology for a burning lake of fire and brimstone as the eternal abode for the wicked. Still, I think that there are some people so evil that while they don't merit the scriptural definition of Sons of Perdition, I can't believe that a just God would send them to even the telestial kingdom. In short, I believe in Hell.
[2] The Pearl of Great Price is one of the LDS books of scripture. It is a collection of works revealed to or translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith.


Helen said...

While still dealing with the loss of my son ( I find my own conflicing emotions about Osama Bin Laden's demise running from "about time!" to concern for his family's pain. I know that pain! Perhaps we should remember Martin Luther King's thoughts, "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

Darkstar The Peaceful Warrior said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Keri Brooks said...

Darkstar, your comment violated my no profanity policy. If you wish to repost the same sentiment without using curse words, you may.

Erstwild said...

While he functioned as a figurehead for evil, so I feel his killing was justified in all senses, I don't have any great joy about this. Many 9/11 victims are still far from whole.

Then there's the Book of Mormon Teancum effect: Teancum killed 2 leaders, by stealth, of the Lamanite army, but that still didn't stop the war.