Thursday, May 05, 2011

The proper Christian response: w00t!

If there is one thing Christians are great at, it's acting holier-than-thou. Jim Wallis has made self-holiness an art form. He admonishes us not to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden. Why? It isn't Jesusy, or something.

Pumping our fists in victory or celebrating in the streets is probably not the best Christian response to anyone’s death, even the death of a dangerous and violent enemy.
True. The best Christian response is to do shots. However, some people are trying to carry over some momentum from lent related abstention, so pumping our fists is fine, if not ideal.

The world can be relieved that a leader as evil as Bin Laden can no longer plot the death of innocents.

So we can be relieved, but not celebrate? On what principle?

We can be grateful that his cynical manipulation and distortion of Islam into a message of division and hate is finally ended.
Nobody cares what he did with the message of Islam. We care that he killed people, and that he's dead.

Even if we sharply dissented from the moral logic or wisdom of the failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan of the last decade,
Failed war? Did you hear the news about Osama? Mission accomplished, bitch.

we can be glad that a mass murderer has been stopped and brought to justice.

To be clear, Christians may be grateful, relieved and glad, but may not celebrate. Wallis sounds like the coach of a Big Ten school admonishing his team not to gloat over beating Alcorn St.

(Osama Bin Laden - The Alcorn St. of madmen. Moving on...)

And we can be hopeful that the face of the Arab world might now become the young nonviolent activists for democracy rather than a self-righteous smirk of a self-promoting video character who tells us he is going to kill our children if we don’t submit to his hateful agenda.

To which, according to news reports, when we shot him in the face, his eye popped out and pieces of his brain flew through the air. #hownavysealswipethesmirkoffyourface

But the book of Proverbs clearly warns us to “not rejoice when your enemies fall.”
Here's the rest of that Proverb (17:28, if you're interested):

when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,

To which:

a) The Proverb is talking about the wicked as our enemy, who fall when "calamity strikes". In other words, just because someone rejects God, that is no reason to be happy when things do not go well for them.

b) FMI, read Psalms. Plenty of rejoicing over the death of enemies there.

c) What the hell is the difference gladness and rejoicing?

And, in the hardest words of the gospel, Jesus tells us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

He wasn't persecuting us. He killed thousands of innocent people, then fled. When confronted, he refused to repent, keeping his promise to go down fighting. It is not unloving to celebrate justice. Did the Israelites remain quietly grateful after David downed Goliath? No. They literally held a parade.

Neither of those texts have been very popular pulpit texts during the years since 9/11.

There is no evidence that this is true.

The chants of “USA, USA, USA” are also not the best mantra for believers who should know that they are meant to be Christians first and Americans second.
Why not? I'm still American. I chant DEEEETROIT BAAAAAAASKETBALL, when my favorite team forces a turnover*, but I can't cheer on my country when it offs one of the most notorious murderers in the world?

We Christians have too often valued the innocent lives of Americans who have been lost to war more than the innocents who were in the way of our wars in response to the attacks against us.

But nobody was chanting USA! then. Rather, we are chanting in response to the death of a murderous mad man who killed thousands of our people. You may have heard of him.

The violence of terrorism, the violence of war, and even the violent reprisal against Osama bin Laden on Sunday should all push us to deeper reflection, and even repentance, for how we have allowed the seeds of such destruction to take root and grow in our hearts and in our world.
Note. When Wallis says "we", he means "you". Even money he has sent out a press release calling on Americans to repent.

If anything Sunday’s success showed the effectiveness of good intelligence and “policing activities” more than the endless wars of occupation, as some have pointed out.

*cough* Gitmo *cough*

But perhaps with Bin Laden now gone and rendered irrelevant, we can turn the page on the 10-year trauma of 9/11 and find better ways to settle our conflicts, defend ourselves, and undermine the threats against peace.

Good luck with that one, bucko. You're homeboy has gotten a taste of the public accolades that come with dispensing with the mumbo-jumbo and delivering bullets to the face of our enemies. Think he's going to turn back now, in election season?

I believe one of our most hopeful ways forward is to now unite across religious lines and learn again together “the things that make for peace.”

Fine, but let me just add:

Kill our peeps?
Here's the deal
Blown to hell
By a Navy Seal


* - The present tense is a bit disingenuous here. My favorite team no longer forces turnovers, but you get my point.


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