At risk of getting flamed on my own blog, which is always fun, I’m not “overjoyed” or celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden.
You’ll note I’m not saying he didn’t deserve to die, or we shouldn’t have killed him. I’m not the one who made that decision, but I suspect it was the right one.
I’m saying, I can’t cheer the death of another human being. Especially if Satan is warming up the barbecue right now in welcome, I can’t find celebration in that. The best I can muster up is “It’s a shame this man became so evil as to make his death a necessity.”
I don’t doubt the man was evil. Maybe in his own mind he started out with good intentions, but pushing an agenda of death is not the kind of thing a human heart gets behind without first killing its own conscience.
Now this morning I dropped off kids at the school bus, dropped off the cat at the vet for a test, swung by the town hall to vote (and voted for the candidate who spelled my name correctly on the political post-card) and by coincidence I finished at just the time for daily Mass, so I went to the church. And after Communion, it occurred to me that although bin Laden was evil at the end, he wasn’t born evil, wasn’t created evil, so his loss is in that respect a tragedy.
Paul the evangelist–he started off by persecuting people too, and God turned him around. Maybe God let bin Laden have that extra ten years because he might have turned it around. He might have recognized his own evil and rejected it.
And had I prayed for bin Laden’s conversion, in all that time? No.
In the prayer after Communion, the priest read a line about producing eternal fruit. A soul would be eternal fruit. Praying for a soul so it makes that first stretch toward God would be eternal fruit. And again, how often do I do that, rather than just praying for this person’s physical healing or this person’s need of a job and that other individual’s safety during an environmental catastrophe?
That’s when it occurred to me, this guy might have deserved death, but also, maybe I’m doing it all wrong too.