We’re better than that
I was beginning to watch a few golf swings of the LPGA Sunday night when our daughter called to tell us to turn on the news. There was to be an announcement by the president. Within about a minute I learned that it was about the death of Osama bin Laden, indeed, the killing of Osama bin Laden. We watched as the story unfolded one commentator after another and from President Obama. I was aware that my emotions were in a state of flux. I needed to sort out my feelings.
When I saw crowds of Americans cheering the killing of Osama bin Laden as if it was a sporting event, a feeling came over me of sadness, of shame. I was saddened that we seem no different than citizens in rabid throngs in other countries shouting approval for some kind of terrorist act resulting in the downfall of Americans or anyone else for that matter. Why do we need to match evil cheer with evil cheer? Can we not be humble in the face of death? What are we teaching our children?
Don’t get me wrong. A murderous criminal had to be stopped, and the Navy SEALS did what had to be done. Osama bin Laden was responsible for evil deeds, and it was critical that he be stopped from organizing other acts of destruction. But, to find jubilance in his killing does not lift anyone to a higher level of human maturity, and it is to that higher level of maturity that surely we want to strive.
In my office this week at the Community Church, I was asked how we might impart to our children a better message, one that does not equate the death of Osama bin Laden with anything like a major sporting victory.
I am drawn to something that is partially attributable to Martin Luther King Jr. It seems as if it was written for us right now.
“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.”
Spend time with your children. Help them learn something different than what they might see in the media.
Rev. Jane Keener-Quiat
Aspen Community United Methodist Church
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