In the aftermath of the successful U.S. military raid that ended in the killing of the most wanted terrorist in the world, we saw thousands of Americans take to the streets and gather at Ground Zero to celebrate, waive flags, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and sing “God Bless America.” However, some Christians have struggled with how to deal with Osama bin Laden’s death. I have set aside time on my daily radio show to address this very issue because it is a very real debate happening within the evangelical community.
This outcome was the natural consequence of a war that bin Laden began waging against the United States long before the 9/11 attacks. Recall the just war theory that has been discussed here at “On Faith.” Killing bin Laden is like winning a major battle in a just war. His organization attacked the United States; we hunted him for nearly ten years and removed him from the battlefield. It is swift act of justice in an unquestionably just war against al Qaeda.
As Christians, we believe that God has specifically ordained government to rule over a fallen world – to bring security to the law-abiding and inflict swift justice against evildoers. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans, “If you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”
As such, when the United States military exercised its right to defend the people of American and bring the most heinous terrorist this nation has ever known to justice, it should be celebrated. As the Psalmist David wrote, “The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked. Then people will say, ‘Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.’”
This is exactly what President Obama meant when he declared late on Sunday night that, “Justice has been done.”
We celebrate the victory of the righteous over those who seek to do evil. Osama bin Laden, a man with the blood of thousands of innocents on his hand, was the definition of evil. Christians should rejoice in the fall of evil. We are doing the right thing when we praise the brave men and women who fight to protect American from evil every day.