Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

A Jewish victim of political violence speaks out on Osama bin Laden

I happened to be watching TV early yesterday morning when the news broke about Osama bin Laden's death, and I posted on Facebook that while I didn't normally celebrate anyone's death I thought I might make any exception in this case.

I don't retract it: it was genuinely what I felt, and while with a little distance I'm not exactly celebrating, I do find it difficult to feel sorrow for OBL's death.

Still, you make a Facebook friend of a minister and you have Jiminy Cricket in your pocket. You may recall Aric Clark, purveyor of beat sermons. Well, on Facebook Aric has posted a couple of apt quotations:

"Deserves death! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give that to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.” Gandalf to Frodo on Bilbo's sparing of Gollum's life.

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. 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" Martin Luther King, Jr.

He also linked to a great article at his blog. The line that really caught me up short - because when I stop to think (instead of reacting) it's very much how I understand the Gospel message, was:

We recognize that this is a scandalous thing to say, but Osama Bin Laden was a beloved child of God for whose sins Jesus the Christ died.

I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised that Christ poses more of a challenge to conventional thought than Gandalf, but as someone who frequently quotes the Gandalf fragment I must confess I'd never quite made the jump.

Well, I ken noo.


At 03 May, 2011 15:01, Blogger Persephone said...

What chiefly worries me about the general rejoicing over Bin Laden's demise is the prospect of his new and scary status as a martyr. The sentence I keep seeing over and over in the news, on blogs, on Facebook is: "Justice is served." Is it? Was he charged? Given a fair trial? Convicted? All I see for the future is a powerful Bin Laden cult based, given the sketchy nature of his death and burial, on the idea that he isn't really dead.

Bin Laden may have been a terrible and dangerous man, but killing him is not going to change that.

At 03 May, 2011 15:20, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Very few people are perfect enough to give up all hatred. Don't feel bad about it.

At 03 May, 2011 22:17, Blogger Persephone said...

There's been an interesting discussion of the slightly mangled version of King's quote in this article.
The first line isn't MLK's, but the rest of the quote is authentic. Someone left the quotation marks out and now it's gone a bit viral.

At 08 May, 2011 03:47, Blogger Rob said...

Aric seems to have spotted that himself. I don't think it makes a significant difference.

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