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Blog

A Reaction to Osama bin Laden's Death

Ian David Philpot

Web Editor Ian David Philpot shares his reaction to the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death.

I read the news in a text message from my fiancée late last night.

Shortly after, I was reading Facebook and Twitter updates covered in people celebrating and others quoting Scriptures from Psalms and Proverbs about not rejoicing in your enemy's falls.

And I was torn.

I wanted to celebrate what had happened. I remember nearly ten years ago crying in classrooms with fellow students as we watched the tragedy of September 11 unfold, and I wanted those tears to be wiped away by this step towards a "safer world" (more on that below).

"I don't think it's a day for going to a bar. I think it's a day to maybe go to church." –MSNBC's Chris Matthews

The part of me that wanted to celebrate was the patriotic side. It wanted to write to everyone quoting the Psalms that David's hands were so bloody that God wouldn't let him build a temple. And to those quoting Proverbs, I wanted to remind them that Solomon reigned in peace because of the killings his father was able to execute.

But the patriotic emotions didn't last too long.

Jimmy Spencer, friend of mine and of Relief, wrote a note on Facebook titled "Whose Death Does God Cheer?" (You can read it on Jimmy's Tumblr.) It infuriated me and calmed me at the same time. Those who commented on his post felt either one way or the other.

Here are a two snippets of the comments on Facebook that got my attention:

"Get real. Take your Jesus and stuff it..."

"Thanks for voicing something that goes against what 90% of my facebook feed says."

After reading all of this, the spiritual side of me took over. The side that loves others, no matter who they are or what they've done. I almost feel disappointed that it didn't come out sooner, but I'm just a regular ol' imperfect person.

And it's not that I think we should've let Osama bin Laden continue to murder people. But I think we need to observe a stillness for the loss of life.

I saw this video clip on MSNBC of Chris Matthews talking about what will happen now. He said something that really stuck out to me: "I don't think it's a day for going to a bar. I think it's a day to maybe go to church."

That hit me hard.

Our world isn't any safer. Gas prices won't go down. We still won't be able to get through airport security with a bottle of water. There hasn't been a big shift in how our world works.

But hopefully there can be a shift in our hearts for how we view those who have wronged us.