Bin Laden’s Death Discomfits Religious Left

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From the safety of his London palace, the Church of England’s Archbishop of Canterbury is questioning whether the U.S. Navy Seals’ killing of Osama Bin Laden exemplified “justice.”

“The killing of an unarmed man is always going to leave a very uncomfortable feeling because it doesn’t look as if justice is seen to be done,” Rowan Williams told a press conference at Lambeth Palace.  “I don’t know full details any more than anyone else does. But I do believe that in such circumstances when we are faced with someone who was manifestly a war criminal, in terms of the atrocities inflicted, it is important that justice is seen to be observed.”

Presumably, the Archbishop discerns “justice” in a decades-long captivity for Bin Laden, which may or may not have involved a billion dollar show trial, and endless controversy over the trial’s and the incarceration’s location, not to mention reams of endless global publicity for Bin Laden’s genocidal version of Islamism.

Williams’ concerns were echoed by fellow Anglican Bishop of Winchester Michael Scott-Joynt, who criticized Bin Laden’s killing as “an act of vengeance” that might provoke reprisals against Christians.  When St. Paul wrote that that civil “rulers” are the “ministers of God” who “beareth not the sword in vain” and who are a “revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil,” was the Apostle advocating “vengeance?”  Of a sorts, yes, since he declared that rulers, when performing properly, are divine instruments for God’s legitimate vengeance upon evil doing.  But religious leftists are uncomfortable about talk of human evil, preferring to spin their utopians dreams from ecclesial palaces, seminary campuses, and insulated, endowed pulpits.

In some contrast to the British bishops, U.S., religious leftists, so far, mostly have demurred from directly criticizing the U.S. strike against the terrorist mastermind.  Instead, they have fretted over the supposedly frightful crowds of young celebrants who rejoiced over bin Laden’s demise outside the White House, in New York’s Times Square, and in Harvard Yard.

Himself visiting in Britain when Bin Laden died, Emergent Church guru Brian McLaren tut-tutted over disturbing scenes of “American college students reveling outside the White House, shouting, chanting ‘USA’ and spilling beer.”  He shared his embarrassment as an American, since “this image does not reflect well on my country, especially in contrast to the images that have been so strong here in recent days … revelers celebrating a wedding.”  And he further intoned:  “Joyfully celebrating the killing of a killer who joyfully celebrated killing carries an irony that I hope will not be lost on us. Are we learning anything, or simply spinning harder in the cycle of violence?”

From the Religious/Evangelical Left’s pacifist perspective, a lawful government’s execution of a mass murderer who had slain thousands of its citizens only contributes to the “cycle of violence.”  And presumably McLaren would have preferred that the college students who waved the flag for a few hours in the streets on Sunday evening should instead have penitently withdrawn into prayer closets, to lash themselves for complicity in American imperialism.

Evangelical Left activist and Sojourners chief Jim Wallis, who cherishes his ties to the Obama White House, was more careful in his public angst.  “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,” he wrote for CNN’s religion blog.  “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.”  So is any exuberant expression of patriotic joy by definition an idolatrous exaltation of nation over God?  For religious leftists like Wallis, the answer is likely yes.  Wallis also complained that U.S. Christians have valued innocent American lives “more than the innocents who were in the way of our wars in response to the attacks against us.”   Certainly Christians esteem all human life as sacred to God.  But just as parents have special responsibility for their own children, even while wishing well to everyone’s children, do not nations, especially governments, have a special responsibility for the people over which Providence has assigned them unique authority?  This point eludes trans-nationalists like Wallis.

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  • waterwillows

    As the Church of England is an openly gay community, these remarks really should not come as any surprise. A good number of the gay community do prefer Islam over the Christian beliefs. Heaven knows, they have told us so many times.
    I suppose they should be have been no celebrating the end of WWll? I simply look at where it is coming from and that speaks volumes.

    • aspacia

      You might consider hedging your claim with some. I have family who attend the Anglican Church and do not support its stance regarding gays.

    • Guest

      Waterwillows, I agree with all of your post! As bad as Rowan Williams theology is, his appearance on the royal wedding was scary. You would think with over 2 billion watching you might want to trim your white hair and your hideous eyebrows!

    • mah29001

      I wonder what they'd think about Islamic law….didn't their leader mention they should deal with it since it'll arrive soon?

  • waterwillows


    I am not the one who is making this claim. The claim is made by the Church of England. It is they themselves who openly express this. I am informed most of their clergy is gay and still practicing.
    I was surprised to be told this by their own congregation.

  • Steve Chavez

    "When the Wall fell, we cheered, our American Communists cried! When the Twins fell, we cried, they cheered! When Osama died, we cheered, they cried!" Steve Chavez

    "When Fidel dies, we'll cheer, they'll cry!" "When Bush or Cheney dies, we'll cry, they'll cheer!"

    The Religious Left is a contradiction in terms and they are only involved in churches to raise money and awareness for their MARXIST "THERE IS NO GOD" IDEALS! This became evident in the 80's Central America and their use of Liberation Theology which fooled them, and mostly Americans, to equate the teachings of Jesus with that of Karl Marx! The Rev. Wright took it a step further and add "Black" to make it the most racist ideology on Earth and need I remind you who was his number one and two fans? Okay, I'll remind you, Obama and Oprah!

    Our National Council of Churches is a fraud and is used by the Communists to raise money as a deception!

    Can you imagine the cheers and celebrations by these same fakes when Cheney dies? How many jokes were made about his shotgun incident? How many times did the Left say that it was "too bad" that a rocket didn't hit Cheney or Bush while they were in war zones?

    TO TOP THEM ALL OFF: There were two fundraisers for the Zapatistas hosted by the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center at the First Congregational Church and another at St. Francis Catholic church. The Zapatistas "killed" humans and are supported in their war by a Peace Group and raised monies to continue their killing in the home of "Thou shall not kill!"

    • Steve Chavez

      Continued: And to aid an ideology that says "There is no God!"

  • Jim_C

    It really makes you guys mad that Obama was president when we got bin Ladin, doesn't it?

    Let's see Tooley–any commandments against envy and covetousness? Check into it and get back to us with your next pretending-to-be-Christian-to-score-political-points article.

    Enjoy that crow you're eating–there'll be much more to come.

    • Steve Chavez

      Hypothetically, what if Bush had taken down Osama? What does your political wisdom say the Left and Democrats would say? Will they celebrate the death of Cheney who is quite ill and did they make "hunting with Cheney" jokes including hoping that rockets would have hit Cheney while he was in Iraq?

      • Jim_C

        I'm pretty sure you'd have the same, small amount of people talking about the illegality of assassinations. You'd have quite a few more saying "OK, Mr. Bush, now can we please get out of there?"

        But by and large, you'd have what you have now–vast majority of people grateful that Osama was brought to justice.

        Anyone who would celebrate the death of Cheney is a sick puppy.

  • debarrio

    Stupid. Did you even read the article?

  • Jerry

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

    Proverbs 24:17 "Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble"

    The Religious Left promotes Proverbs 24:17, but ignore Proverbs 11:10. Jesus said to love your enemies, not to love the wicked. I'll even love the wicked by praying for their conversion, but if they continue to commit wicked terrorists acts, I'll shout for joy when the wicked die

  • Alfonz Shmedlap

    M., 05/09/11 common era

    The Talmud states that whoever is kind to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the kind. I wonder what this Anglican preacher has to say about "Jewish settlers in the Occupied Territories." I wonder what his reaction was to the recent murders of 5 members of the Fogel family as they slept in their beds inside their house in the Occupied Territories, their throats cut by teenage Palestinian Arab Moslem boys..

    Maybe he should hold an interfaith candlelight vigil to support the right of Islam to create a worldwide caliphate.

  • debarrio

    IRD is one of my favorite organizations and I support them financially. On this one though, Mark Tooley is wrong and the Liberals are right. I must ask, is hunting down a criminal and shooting him in the head Justice? No! It is revenge and Justice was not served. And should we just shoot people in the head to avoid “Billion Dollar Show Trials?” And what of the hypocrisy of this administration? Attempting to court martial three Navy Seals for giving one terrorist a fat-lip, and then ordering other Navy Seals to go blow another terrorist’ head off. (I hope the Seals made the President and Eric Holder sign a waiver saying they wouldn’t be thrown in prison for following orders.)Or accusing the Bush administration of “War Crimes” for splashing water in the face of one terrorist only to turn around and splash bullets in the face of another. Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Obama is just a hypocritical political whore whose only motivation for getting OBL was a possible bounce in his “numbers,” and who deserves no praise for this “HIT.”

    • Charles

      I completely agree with your description of Obama. I give more than a little credence to the stories that he had to be pressured to agree to the SEALS' mission. He realized that the stakes were so high that he could not have survived rumors or disclosures that he had failed to act in a situation in which the likelihood of success was high.

      But I disagree with your opinion as to the "justice" of killing bin Laden as a goal of the mission. Al Qaeda has committed many terrorist acts which have killed Americans and those of other nationalities. The Twin Towers was simply the most spectacular and destructive. Al Qaeda and bin Laden have boasted of their successes and repeatedly announced their intention to commit more terrorist acts. We have evidence and repeated confessions. To have gone through a "trial" under such circumstances would have been inane and likely to have catalyzed further violence. Bin Laden declared war on the U.S. in 1995. His punishment – whether he was armed or not – was just and "justice" was, indeed, served.

      • debarrio

        It looks like I'm sort of a lone wolf on this "Justice" issue. IMO, if circumstances allow for capture, which I feel they did, then capturing and being put on trial is the right thing to do. Just like they did with Saddam. Also, let's be real. Compared to the Nazi', Al Qaeda are just a bunch of Children. And yet, as I pointed out below, we "captured" the Nazi's and put them on trial. Putting OBL on trial would have allowed the US and world to Judge and Condemn radical Islam. Of course, the current administration would have screwed the trial up so much OBL would have walked and ended up with his own talk show on the O network.

        • Liberty Clinger

          Wrong. We shot Nazis in the head (and in all other places) every day during World War II. Shooting a murdering aggressor enemy in the head (or any other place) is not "assassination" – it is simply the waging of just war. 

          Reinhard Heydrich, one of Hitler's most powerful mass-murdering SS leaders, was gunned down in 1942 in a joint Czech-British operation – no different from gunning down Osama bin Laden.  

          Capturing some of our enemies is fine and good, and maybe it would have been better to capture bin Laden, but it is wrong to say that an enemy must be captured rather than killed. Killing a mass-murdering enemy is not wrong – it is an act of just war in self-defense. Failure to capture or kill a mass-murdering enemy is cowardly and immoral.

  • pyeatte

    We have hunted down "criminals" in the past and killed them on sight even though they were not firing back. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow….John Dillinger to name a couple. UBL was much worse than these and deserved what he got and how he got it – he was not a criminal, he was a mortal enemy. The only reason the left wanted him captured instead of killed was for the trial publicity.

    • debarrio

      Your argument is wrong on each account. Bonnie and Clyde and Dillinger where indeed hunted down and ambushed, and NOT brought to Justice. UBL was worse, but unarmed when executed. He "deserves what he gets" after being brought to Justice. What does "a mortal enemy" mean? Is this some "legal" term used to justify assasination or something you read in a comic book. And you completely missed the point. The left, including Obama and Holder wanted him dead to avoid the embarrasment of having to figure out what to do with him. Imagine how much they would have screwed that up! People, get your heads on striaght! The right thing to do: A. Capture him, like the SEALS could have done. B.Give him a swift and Just Military Tribunal Trial, which they could have done on the damn aircraft carrier. C. Hang him or put him in front of a firing squad. (Then bury him in an undisclosed paupers grave.) This is Justice. Something Obama couldn't give a rats ass about.

      • Liberty Clinger

        Hunting down and killing Osama bin Laden, whether he was armed or un-armed, was bringing him to justice. Military trial followed by firing squad would have been bringing him to justice. Military trial followed by hanging would have been bringing him to justice. Military trial followed by lethal injection would have been bringing him to justice. Military trial followed by drowning at sea would have been bringing him to justice.

        Osama bin Laden was tried by Barak Hussein Obama (who unfortunately is our President and Commander in Chief of American Military forces) and found guilty, and sentenced to death, and executed (bringing him to justice) by Seal Team 6.

  • Lady_Dr

    We did OBL a favor by kililng him on the spot. If all religions are equal and valid, and OBL's religion proclaims that anyone who dies a martyr will immediately go to heaven for his reward of 72 (?) virgins. Well, that has got to be better than living in a cave or holed up in one room of a dirty house.

    That being said – the Archbishop and all these other fools should just shut up. What right do they have to want to deny OBL of his eternal reward?

    • debarrio

      What the hell does OBL's religion have to do with America's form of Justice? Indeed, some of the posts here are completely nonsensical . If America believes that the proper response to OBL’s crime is to hunt him down and kill him, then maybe he won after all. Now again, just so where all on the same page, if the SEALS mission was to capture or kill OBL, and in the heat of the raid, the SEALS in question decided “KILL” was the best option, I have no problem with that. But if the orders from the Commander in Chief were simply to “KILL,” which I think is the case, then this is NOT Justice being served. It is revenge, which means Rowan Williams is right. BTW: On this date, in 1945, Hermann Goring was “CAPTURED,” and would later go to trial at Nuremburg for Crimes against humanity. IE: He was brought to JUSTICE! Come on folks, haven’t you ever seen a John Wayne movie?

  • Bishophasgottago

    Few of us have or will ever be put in the position of danger that the Navy SEALS were in when they made the fateful decision to kill Osama bin Laden. His handlers did in fact try to protect him in a fire-fight that resulted in death. Personally, I was not there and did not have to make the decision to kill or not to kill. As an American and orthodox Christian supporting our armed forces and our president in such a delicate operation, I will best leave the details to those on the scene whose lives were clearly in peril as they confronted a mass murderer: a killer of epic proportion. Scripture teaches us that war and killing is always a tragedy and it remains a sign of our fallen condition until the Kingdom is fully realized. Yet, the pathetic handwringing and day-after-quarterbacking of so many are a blight upon civilizations' efforts to rid the world of genocidal murderers such as Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Stalin, Ho Chi Minh, Jean-Paul Akayesu, Slobodan Milosevic and so many other ruthless mass murderers. Pray to the Lord of Mercy, for Grace to overcome these hideous episodes of evil until the Lord Jesus comes in His glory. Pray that we remain vigilant in our efforts to remain steady in the preservation of precious human life.

    • debarrio

      Again, I am not questioning the decision making of the SEALS. I am questioning what the executive order was. In any type of fire fight or dangerous situation, I defer to the discretion of the enforcers, whether navy seals or campus security. But if the specific instructions from the Commander in Chief was to "Kill" not capture, that's a differentl matter. Let me ask you this. If OBL happened to be out shopping, (any where in the World) and walked out of a grocery store with his arms full of groceries, minding his own business, would you find it perfectly acceptable for a US soldier to just walk up to him from behind and blow his head off? Would that be Justice served?

  • Liberty Clinger

    "If OBL happened to be out shopping, (any where in the World) and walked out of a grocery store with his arms full of groceries, minding his own business, would you find it perfectly acceptable for a US soldier to just walk up to him from behind and blow his head off? Would that be Justice served?"


    It would also be just for any American (military or civilian) to beat the hell out of Osama bin Laden while capturing him.

    Both are just – killing or capturing.

  • mah29001

    Say, wasn't it the same Church of England that stated its citizens should deal with Islamic law? I am also betting members of the Religious Left here in the USA will likely not caste their votes for Obama but back someone even crazier like Dennis Kucinich instead.