As word got out that Osama bin Laden had been killed by a Navy SEAL strike team in Pakistan, television and the Internet quickly began to feature images of spontaneous celebrations outside the White House and at ground zero in New York.
Just as quickly, blogs and social media pages such as Facebook began to rage with debates: about the morality of bin Laden’s killing and how it was accomplished and about the appropriateness of the celebratory atmosphere. Others questioned the meaning of the “justice” described by President Barack Obama in announcing bin Laden’s death.
In one of the Catholic blog discussions, Jesuit Father James Martin, culture editor of the Jesuit magazine, America, captured some of the more charitable threads of the Internet debate:
“The Christian is not simply in favor of life for the unborn, for the innocent, for those we care for, for our families and friends, for our fellow citizens, for our fellow church members or even for those whom we consider good, but for all. All life is sacred because God created all life. This is what lies behind Jesus’s most difficult command: “I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” wrote Martin.
“As a Christian, I am asked to pray for him and, at some point, forgive him. And that command comes to us from Jesus, a man who was beaten, tortured and killed. That command comes from a man who knows a great deal about suffering. It also comes from God.”
To read Jesuit Father James Martin’s full blog post on the Christian Response, please visit America Magazine’s In All Things blog.