You talk to anyone who has a little life experience behind them, and you will find that they attach pivotal moments in history to the place they were when they first heard the news. My mom talks about being in elementary school the day Kennedy was shot. The principal came over the intercom to let the students know. Flash-forward close to 40 years and it’s obvious that 2011 looks a lot different than 1963. Need proof? I learned Osama bin Laden had been killed on twitter.
The world is a different place tonight. Within minutes this evening, even before the President addressed the nation, my twitter feed blew up with comments about this important event. Most people claimed to be speechless. Others tweeted celebratory remarks. Some just stuck to the facts twitter-style: #osamadead.
Only time will tell what this means for the tension throughout the Middle East. The game has changed a lot in ten years. Even still, it is an understatement to say that Osama bin Laden, 9/11 and the War on Terror have dominated the headlines for a decade. We board airplanes differently than we did before 2001. George W. Bush will forever be linked to the Taliban. Those of us who “know where we were” when the towers fell will never be the same. Which is why May 1st, 2011 is probably the most significant day in American history since September 11th, 2001.
That is why we are all up late on a Sunday night. As a country, this is a huge victory. I have family members and dear friends in the service. They put their lives on the line daily for the freedom we enjoy and I am always grateful for their sacrifice. My friends have lost friends in this war. They are some of the bravest people I know. My mind drifts to those who lost loved ones on 9/11. I’ll never know how they are feeling tonight. This article is in no way intended to diminish their loss. I pray they have a sense of closure tonight.
As enormous of a victory for our military as this is, it’s far from cut and dry. My faith leads me to believe that God ordains national leaders to be his hand of justice on earth. So no matter what you think about Obama, or thought about Bush, if you are a follower of Jesus, I hope you trust that God is sovereign.
Which brings me back to twitter. I was surprised at the number of people who tweeted downright hateful comments about bin Laden this evening. There were jokes about Osama sharing a room in hell with Hitler and lots of good ol’ fashioned USA “ass kicking” smack talk. There were even a few ignorant anti-Islam comments. All of these remarks seemed a little odd.
Don’t stop reading yet. Of course bin Laden was an evil man. He deserved his fate. I’m just asking you to remember that war is real and messy. This isn’t an Xbox game.
Is the world safer tonight? A little. Should we celebrate a military victory? Sure. There is a place for that. But the arrogant smack talk, as if a real person’s death is like a touchdown in a football game, I find troubling. There is a redemptive way to celebrate the victory tonight but tweeting, “enjoy hell you son of a bitch” is not it.
As a Christian, and an American, I will always rejoice when justice is served. That happened tonight. The celebration going on right now outside the White House is certainly unifying. It’s a good night to be an American. Be relieved. Rejoice. But rejoice humbly. There is a difference between celebrating the fact that a terrorist has been disabled and dancing in the streets because a man has been killed. No matter how hated an individual, we are off base when we flippantly gloat over the death of another human being. That’s not what we’re about, as Christians or as Americans.
Oh, and let’s bring the troops home tomorrow.