On another list I read a post which accused the US Government of "murdering" Osama bin Ladin. I disagreed with the writer's position, but I thought she raised several points worth considering. Out of respect for her privacy, I will not repost her text, but below is my reply, from which the reader may infer the general outlines of her position.
Hope this stimulates a little thought.
Osama Bin Laden Murdered?
That is certainly an interesting perspective.
Like our sister Linda, I too have a profound lack of trust in our government, regardless of which party is in power. The Democrats seem to want to kill us all and eat us while the Republicans would rather kill us all, cook us, and then
As for the President, well, I am not a fan.
However, I can think of at least three ways to view Osama's death.
1. Linda's position: Our government murdered a man whose life it had no right to take. This has happened many times in the past, so it is an option here. Perhaps Osama was really a very warm, cuddly, affectionate person who liked long walks in the moonlight and 1940's romantic movies, and everything we have been told is a dump truck full of crap. Perhaps George Bush planed and funded 9/11, and then framed this poor, innocent man, and then sent our diabolical government on a 10 year man hunt to assassinate him.
2. The Criminal Position: Osama committed massive crimes against the United States. He was hunted like a fugitive and died in a fire fight when caught -- like thousands of other
criminals before him.
3. The Enemy Combatant Position. Osama instigated a war against the United States. He died in battle, like millions of other soldiers before him.
I believe I take position 2.6 -- somewhere between positions 2 and 3, but leaning slightly toward 3.
There are three ideas in Scripture which must be balanced here:
1. The magistrate does not bear the sword for nothing (Romans 13). The government is specifically empowered to take life under the following circumstances:
a. It may execute those found guilty of capital crimes.
b. It may use deadly force in the apprehension of a criminal who is in the act of endangering the life of another.
c. It may engage in military action to protect its
legitimate geopolitical interests against a foreign enemy.
Situation C is the best description of the bin Ladin situation.
2. God does not delight in the death of the wicked -- "for why will you die, O Israel?"
The taking of life is a grim and solemn event. It is not to be done lightly, and it is not a cause for giddy celebration. We are to love our enemies. We are not to show them malice.
3. The death of the wicked vindicates the justice and demonstrates the power of God,and is therefore to be celebrated as a display of His glory. "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands!" "Do I not hate those who hate Thee? I hate them with a perfect hatred." "Blessed are they who dash your little ones upon the rocks!"
Exactly where the point of balance lies here, I do not
precisely know. I believe that bin Ladin actually did do the things attributed to him. Therefore I do not see his killing as murder.
Frankly, I think we won a battle by killing an enemy soldier. We rejoice in our victory, but cry, "Absalom, Absalom! O my son, Absalom! Would that I had died instead of thee!"