“Love your enemies…” Really?

You may have heard: Osama bin Laden died Sunday after his compound in Pakistan was raided by Navy Seals. President Obama’s speech announcing as much was watched by 56.5 million views, the most of any of Obama’s speeches as president — and it was at 11:35 pm eastern.

Below the radar, however, thousands of bloggers and religious leaders have responded to the killing. Many of their words reflect a tension: yes Bin Laden had perpetrated many evils acts and his death is in many ways a relief even a triumph, but rejoicing in a man being shot feels uncomfortable too. A quote buzzing on the Internet expresses another irony: “This has to be the first time in history that old white men tried to take credit from a black guy for someone getting shot.” 

With this in mind I’ve compiled a roundup of religious and tension-filled perspectives:

  • Neely in “Thoughts on the Death of Osama bin Laden” considers death of one man while longing for the death of more — violence,  hatred, fear, evil.
  • David Lewicki’s post has moved from small blogs to CNN. David says “Bin Laden died for my long ago” and explained that as he’s prayed for Bin Laden for years (as the Bible calls to pray for one’s enemies too) Bin Laden took a new place in David’s mind. “[Already] he died to goodness; he died to mercy; he died to peace. He died to the things that God cares most about. He was alive until this week — but he died to life a long time ago.”
  • Erin Lane wonders about the appropriateness of celebrating death rather than mourning in “Mourning the Dead.”
  • Brian McLaren was in Britain when he heard. “On waking up to today’s news” includes his reflections on the irony of celebrations. He writes, “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?”
  • Jan Edminston calls for a “time of humility” in “Osama bin Laden, Child of God
  • Matthew Short writes “God in the Details” in which is says, “So, my emotions about the news stay mixed up and confused, and I’m OK with that.”
  • Finally, Scott McClellan in “TV isn’t dead” reflects on the media around the announcement.

But that’s just a sample. Admittedly, all are of a more progressive bent — honestly, that’s what pops into my Google Reader most — so I’m happy to add more that relate to the tension folks are feeling at this historic moment. What are you feeling? How are you reflecting?

-a post by Adam Copeland, The Project F-M