Osama bin Laden and Restorative Justice?
Most in the Western world are experiencing a sense of ‘justice served’ over the recent death of Osama Bin Laden. An elite SEAL team dropped onto his compound, only a few yards from the Pakistani military academy, and pumped two bullets into his head. He died and according to Islamic tradition buried soon thereafter. Will this end the maniacal attacks against America and all other Non-Islamic nations? No. Most commentators and analysts are cautious and encouraged about the 9/11 mastermind's death. Terrorism will not stop, but a major player has been taken out. I agree.
Do I believe justice was served? Yes it was. Osama Bin Laden deserved to die because of 9/11 and other terrorist attacks. If you live by the sword you will die by the sword. You reap what you sow. It was only a matter of time before he was caught and executed. Will this end terrorism? No it won’t. It will only embolden radical Islam to take on more radical steps. Many in America and abroad feel the same way. Why write this article then? I want to address this question: should Christians take up arms against evil? Are we disobeying God when we kill terrorists?
Before I tackle this issue, I would like to talk about a few other points first. I give President Obama credit for not displaying the picture of Osama Bin Laden’s dead body. He did not want to incite the Arab world, but more importantly, it was also a sign of respect for a fellow human being - despite what he did. This was a good thing.
On the other hand, you have these ‘kumbaya
people’, who believe
that counseling mass murderers into becoming loving citizens of the
the best therapeutic route to take. They believe that man is innately
with the right amount of counseling will be able turn them from the
dark side to light. For
instance, Vijay Prashal, a professor at Trinity College, Connecticut,
“This was a great opportunity to have captured him through a police
and bring him through the judicial process, to create the basis for
that is restorative. And that has been squandered with what I consider
to be a
very dubious armed operation.” Maybe he should teach his philosophy to
Hamas, Hezbollah, or Al Qaida. When will people like Vijay wake up from
Never Never Land? Evil is a
reality. Just ask Mahatma Ghandi's surviving family members.
The best restorative healing for someone like Osama bin Laden was two bullets in the head. Guys like him, Pol Pot, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and other monsters need to be dealt with swiftly and harshly. To have a guy running around believing it was just and right to kill 2000 plus people in the name of God has to be taken out. He’s not a candidate for Dr. Phil or Dr. Oprah, but Dr. SEAL team 6. As you can see, I believe in the death penalty and fighting for just causes. Why do I say this?
Romans 13:1-3 states, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same.” Jesus even said, “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things belonging to God.” There is a responsibility on the part of every Christian to obey their government, even Caesar. We are also called to worship and obey God. When Caesar or the government tries to make you worship them, then you must disobey. However, to protect your nation against evil or to pay your taxes is the Biblical thing to do. Governments are put into place for this exact purpose: to provide order and protection. It’s not there to undertake unjust, predatory action against weaker nations or people, but in the spirit of protecting the defenseless and humanity, it has every right to take down the likes of Osama bin Laden. It has every right to take out Hitler. It has every right to take out evil.
The disciples of Jesus were even encouraged to carry swords, “The disciples said, ‘See, Lord, here are two swords.’ ‘That is enough,’ he replied. (Lk 22:38)” They carried swords because people in ancient times protected themselves on the road from bandits and other vermin. It was a necessity. Nehemiah even challenged his people to carry their swords while they trusted in God (Neh 4:18). The Psalmist even depicted the warrior of God with a double-edged sword in his hand and the high praises of God piercing the air (Psalm 149:6). This balance between the spiritual and practical should govern any society. The Sermon on the Mount should be obeyed along with passages like Romans 16.
Misdirected idealism or altruism endangers a nation. I like Theodore Roosevelt’s philosophy on international relations, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Kudos to President Obama for making the right decision and to SEAL team 6 for bringing down the hammer. Justice served!