Monday, May 2, 2011

I rejoice when justice is done, don't you?

It is a matter of great joy that Osama bin Laden is dead. There is no reason for a man so callous and persistent in disregard of the sanctity of human life to remain alive; to say nothing of being so unrepentant of his crimes against humanity as to spend years in hiding from those seeking to bring him to justice.

But not all Anglicans are quite as clear as this. Look around the internet, you will find them wringing their hands wondering how to react.

Funnily enough such Anglicans may have a lot in common with the present Pope who seems to have been unable to find a way to prevent Mugabe from joining him in the beatification service for John Paul II. I am mostly a great admirer of the current Pope - a man of luminous intelligence and learning. But on this occasion, has he lost the plot?


Anonymous said...

I am glad he is dead.
But I am not glad that I am glad.
God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

George Bush has been vindicated. He was maligned across the world but he was right.
But the strange perversion that is jihadi Islam continues to stalk the planet, and in that strange cauldron that is Pakistan,and across the Isalmic world, Christians will continue to suffer.

Peter "Palaiologos"

Lucy said...

I think I would rejoice a bit more vigorously if the justice done had been substantive rather than symbolic.

Jon said...

I am not unhappy with his death and I do not begrudge those who celebrate it because I think what they really want is a moment ot not fear. Sadly, I suspect his death will have little or no affect on my countriy's long drawn out campaigns in Southwest Asia.

If there is hope, though, it is in the Arab Spring uprisings that explicitly reject Bin Laden's methods in order to achieve release from their oppressors.

The Episcopal Church's prayer book has a prayer for enemies. I wish we had said it alot more in the past ten years;

For our Enemies
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love
our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth:
deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in
your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Anonymous said...

"I think I would rejoice a bit more vigorously if the justice done had been substantive rather than symbolic."

I am not sure of your point. It is fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, and the USN Seals are pretty scary too.
But if he had been taken alive, in many countries of the world, e.g. the UK, there would have been no (official) death penalty. Something to reflect on.
But now he's a "martyr" of the Great Satan.
I'm sure C. S. Lewis will have anticipated this cosmic tragicomedy somewhere - in 'The Last Battle' maybe?
Peter "Palaiologos"

Suem said...

I have just read the Vatican statement and think they have got this one about right!

"Faced with the death of a man, a Christian does not rejoice in anything, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace."
Amen to that!

Rev. Ngira Simmonds said...

Peter I am really shocked that you can rejoice in the death of another person. No matter how bad they were.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi All, but especially responding to Ngira's comment:

I do not rejoice in the death of any person per se, especially not when through violence, untimely natural causes, suicide.

But we can take joy in death in some circumstances, for example, in the peaceful transition in grand old age from this life to the next.

In the case of Osama Bin Laden I rejoice, as the post was titled, that justice has been done (while accepting the right of people to argue that life imprisonment would have been a fine punishment for him, etc).

Nevertheless I rejoice in his death for these reasons - similar incidentally when I learn that any mass murderer has shot himself or been killed by the police: (1) closure is brought quickly for grieving families instead of being drawn out through a long remand period, trial, sentencing (and, possibly, eventual release years later); (2) society is saved the spectacle through the media of "stunts" such as outlandish defences being brought by clever lawyers, or even (as we have had some experience in NZ) of the defendent defending themselves and cross-examining witnesses in demeaning ways. In the case of Osama bin Laden there is also a relevant (3): his imprisonment would have involved incredible expenditure in terms of security. Why should he have that bestowed upon him?

Bryden Black said...

While I am sure one’s response to the announcement of bin Laden’s death is a reflection of one’s own frame of heart/mind, to a degree formed by one’s contemporary culture, Scripture is very clear: the magistrate “does not bear the sword in vain”! And while it is never a straight line from such a text to, say, justifying capital punishment per se, just war theory is a suitably sophisticated calculus incorporating the likes of Rom 13. And these US troops, with the help of their intelligence agencies, have engaged in just this sort of thing with clinical precision (for once). “God is not mocked”, Gal 6: there are real consequences to one’s actions - always.

True; some would counter Rom 13 with the Book of Rev, calling the US “The great Satan” indeed! Yet that too is exactly part of any given case where one might apply just war criteria.

As for RGM’s being allowed into the Vatican City: what a serious non-application of due criteria!! Horridly off-beam ... And Peter is right to discuss both men in the same post: the stats re Mugabe’s regime are truly, staggeringly wretched.

Turi Hollis said...

I kii mai nei koe ki ahau: he aha te mea nui o te ao nei? Maku e kii atu: he tangata, he tangata, he tangata! (You say to me: what is the most important thing in this world. My response is: it is a person, it is a human being, it is humanity!) I do not find this in hunting down another human being for revenge. Just war requires justice to be done. But who are the bearers of injustice in Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, and most of the other Middle East nations? It has been Britain, the USA and the USSR, and the other colonial powers whose companies have been ripping off the people there. Where is the justice that is being metered out to them? Human life is precious; life is precious for it is a gift from God. Those who destroy life destroy a gift from God! I am glad that God is the final Judge for human justice is flawed by human lack of compassion and love.

Peter Carrell said...

Kia ora Turi,

So should Sir Apirana Ngata not have supported the raising up of the Maori Battalion to stand against the injustice of Hitler?

If the allies were not fighting in Afghanistan would all be happy justice there? Recently I read of an account where the Taliban threw a grenade amongst a group of children playing in order to would them with the purpose of drawing soldiers to the area so they could then shoot them. Is throwing grenades among children what you would wish to support by opposing the allies with your logic here?

And if we simply left and the Taliban resumed control of Afghanistan, would justice be meted out to the women under their jurisdiction? You may recall that under the Taliban, girls were not allowed to go to school.

It is precisely because people matter that sometimes we go to war.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you! The Bible is always very clear how to concretely act in every situation. As you have again and again made so clear here in relation to homosexuality, a verse in the Bible is totally clear in our situation thousands of years later.

Only some very, very minor points. There was the waterboarding used to torture the information out of someone (whose name and photo have been all over the media), violating the borders of a sovereign country, Osama used no one as a human shield, and was unarmed, he wasn’t buried following Muslim protocol, the reporting from the White House has kept changing, and we have no body to show conspiracy theorists. The world is definitely a much safer place now, except for the "worldwide caution" for Americans U.S diplomatic facilities everywhere being placed on high alert. But aside from these very, very minor quibbles, everything was clearly done ethically, legally, biblically, and sensibly.

There is certainly no reason to take such a man alive and bring him to trial. I rejoice with you.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Steve,
You make your point well.

Do you have evidence that Osama bin Laden was innocent of crimes against humanity?

In which prison do you suggest the USA might have kept Osame bin Laden if they had captured him?

Anonymous said...

"In which prison do you suggest the USA might have kept Osame bin Laden if they had captured him?"

Alcatraz has a nice Arabic ring to it, but Devil's Island would be more appropriate.

Pity. I was looking forward to a reamke of 'Papillon' for the 21st century.

Peter "Palaiologos"

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter

From your comment to me I can take no other interpretation than that you think that the USA never intended to capture Osama alive and that their intention was assassination and that you agree with that. Now that, as you very well know, would be illegal.


Father Ron Smith said...

" As you have again and again made so clear here in relation to homosexuality, a verse in the Bible is totally clear in our situation thousands of years later."

- Anonymous (Steve) -

I always find the cachet 'anonymous' somewhat off-putting in public blogs. However, Steve here is wanting to intrude the subject of homosexuality on this thread - a ploy which I found disingenouous, to say the least.

Apropos his comment, though, I would remind Steve that there is no objective 'clarity' on the subject of 'homosexuality' in the Bible. The word was not even heard of by the writers of Scripture. Nor was there any hint of scientific understanding of the phenomenon of the gender continuum at the time.

James said...

Fr. Ron Smith,

I do believe that Steve is being ironic here. Notice the sentence before the phrase you qutoed: "The Bible is always very clear how to concretely act in every situation." Note him also attempting to "call out" Peter that there is no other possibility but that he believes the U.S. forces assassinated Bin Laden and that this was their original intention. I think you probably agree more with Steve than you realize; that Steve most likely does not agree with Peter regarding the sex issue.

Turi Hollis said...

Kia ora, Peter.

Interestingly, I support Princess Te Puea on Maori participation in WWII. She opposed Maori involvment on the grounds that it was not our war. Ngata pushed for Maori involement because, he argued, Maori had to prove their citizenship. My question is why? The Treaty of Waitangi had already guaranteed that and the price for that was the confiscation of millions of acres. Maori had already proven their citizenship in WWI, where we lost most of the next generation of leaders. When the survivors returned they did not receive the same generous treatment as the Pakeha returnees. The cost to Maori proving their citizenship was the loss of hundreds of lives. But it didn't result in the return of the confiscated lands, nor did it improved the livelihood of Maori after the "victory".

WWI and WWII were a boon for the US economy, and it still is. If it wasn't for the US military industry, its economy would collapse. It needs to ensure that its access to resources is secure so that its military industry can continue to hum along. The US is not the only country in this situation, all the former colonial powers have this problem too. War has been the solution as it not only ensures access to resources but it also keeps the military industry booming. I find this hard to take when people speak about "Just War" and find justification for it in Scripture.

Osama bin Laden was regarded by the USA and its allies as a freedom fighter when they and Saudi Arabia funded him and others to oust the USSR from Afghanistan. They trained him and his followers and poured millions of $ into their operations. And then what happened? bin Laden and his folk found that the US and its allies were no different to the USSR.

The victors write the history. They will always justify their actions. A "just war" is never "just".

Peter Carrell said...

Kia ora Turi,

I rejoice in justice everywhere it is found and am sad when injustice is found.

It is not right that Maori returned servicemen were treated differently to Pakeha returned servicemen, but I am glad that both fought against Hitler. I shudder to think what the world would be like if that war were not fought.

The USA has made mistakes, and has contributed its share to the misfortunes of the world. I do not hold to a view that everything it touches involves injustice, nor do I subscribe to a view that no war is just. There are many questions involved with the wars of recent times, Iraq, Afghanistan, and (albeit less directly) Libya.

Nevertheless I think a case can be made that in the specific instance of 3000 US citizens being killed through an operation masterminded by Osama bin Laden, the US has properly persisted in seeking to end Osama bin Laden's leadership of Al Quaeda and find some kind of 'closure/justice' for those who died on 9/11 and those who mourn.

Father Ron Smith said...

"The victors write the history. They will always justify their actions. A "just war" is never "just"."

- Turi Hollis -

Which of the Maori Tribes, then Turi, wrote the history of the tribal wars - that were a prominent feature of life in Aotearoa long before the arrival of the Pakeha 'colonialists'?

And who were the 'winners' in the Maori colonisation of the habitat of the Moriori in the Chathams, when these latter were virtually wiped out? Were these 'just' wars, or just 'wars'?

Anonymous said...

Ron, you surprise me! Next you'll be saying that pre-European Maori practiced cannibalism, that they enslaved prisoners of war, and that "Aotearoa" wasn't the name of the South Island.

The encounter between modern Europeans and pre-literate peoples who were also usually pre-urbanized and pre-Iron Age has always been tragic, whether in the New World, Africa or the Pacific. But I agree that it is no help in creating a Rousseauist myth either.

Peter "Palaiologos"