If you read last week’s column, you’ll remember me saying I don’t own a gun because I never could take the life of another human being.
But make no mistake; I am glad we have people who are trained to put double-tap shots in the demented brain and evil heart of someone like Osama bin Laden.
Maybe you are saying, “Oh, my, chaplain! Doesn’t Scripture teach that you are supposed to love your enemies?”
Yes, it does. But Scripture also records that people became hopeful after the death of diabolical despots like King Herod, who instigated the genocide of thousands of baby boys during Jesus’ toddler years.
And while Scripture says vengeance belongs to the Lord, I won’t hide the satisfaction I felt May 1, when vengeance belonged to Navy Seal Team 6.
But before we ice the drinks for the wake party, there are three other points to consider.
First, Osama’s death brings important closure for our country. But if we celebrate and rejoice over his death, we prove we aren’t much further up the evolutionary scale than those who rejoiced over the events of 9-11.
Second, I’m glad the Wicked Witch is dead, but it doesn’t end anything. There will be more terrorists who will take his place.
The analysts who say we are facing a 100-year war with radical fundamentalists likely are correct. The problem is, we’ll be out of money in half that time, because Public Enemy No. 1 probably is the federal deficit.
Finally, reprisal, no matter how righteous it seems, comes at a much bigger price than the federal deficit. Revenge will only beget more terror.
When Judas led Roman soldiers to the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus, a disciple resisted the detainment by slicing off a soldier’s ear. While brutal, it probably was the most righteous blow ever struck by a man in defense of a deity.
Yet, after the blow, Jesus reattached the ear in a maxillofacial miracle, and reproached the disciple saying, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”
This truth has played out innumerable times in the bloody cycle of vengeance in such places as India, Ireland and Israel. And it will be our truth, too, if we don’t take the initiative to reverse the vengeance cycle.
The terrorism of today really is no different than the radical fundamentalism of the Klan that firebombed churches filled with children in the 1960s.
Amid the violence, Martin Luther King cautioned his followers: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
The cycle of revenge was reversed with his strategy of nonviolent resistance, and it didn’t take 100 years.
I’m relieved bin Laden was assassinated.This is not a time, however, to celebrate.
The heinous suffering he caused can’t be overstated and, as one of my Florida readers points out, “Osama has left us an enduring legacy of self-sustaining terrorism that continues to be evident every time we board an airplane. He changed the way we live in this country, forever.”
At the end of the day, I don’t feel sorry for bin Laden, but I will feel sorry for our country if we don’t take pause at this juncture to consider, with somber reflection, the cost of vengeance.