Further commentary on the morality of celebrating Bin Laden’s death
Posted on May 3, 2011
After yesterday’s post on the appropriateness of celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden, I found several articles questioning, if not condemning, celebrations that took place across the U.S. Here are three that might help clarify your views.
On CNN.com, John Blake courted religious opinion on the matter (I should note that I find it bothersome that Blake didn’t interview a person of secular orientation):
Jubilance, exaltation, revulsion – all those emotions mingled as people of faith struggled to find an appropriate response to bin Laden’s death. No one we interviewed for this story denied the importance of bin Laden’s death; the heroism of the American soldiers; the importance of serving justice. But religious leaders of different faiths say no one should rejoice in the death of a person, even a hated enemy.
On Salon.com, David Sirota wrote that American reaction showed how terrorism has changed the American psyche:
This is bin Laden’s lamentable victory: He has changed America’s psyche from one that saw violence as a regrettable-if-sometimes-necessary act into one that finds orgasmic euphoria in news of bloodshed. In other words, he’s helped drag us down into his sick nihilism by making us like too many other bellicose societies in history — the ones that aggressively cheer on killing, as long as it is the Bad Guy that is being killed.
And in an op-ed in the The Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Zimmerman said such celebrations are below us:
By celebrating death, even of someone as evil as bin Laden, we let our worst impulses trump what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” We look petty, juvenile, and small. And we should all be worried about that.
But he ended on a positive note:
But there’s still time to make it right. The death of Osama bin Laden should be an occasion for sober reflection, not for silly celebration. We should use it to ask what we have won, what we have lost, and what remains to be done. Anything less will do violence to our own better angels, and to our best national aspirations.