I cannot celebrate the collective sin that results in the death of any human being. I am deeply disturbed by the giddiness of Americans in Times Square chanting “U.S.A., U.S.A.” upon hearing the news that Osama bin Laden has been killed. (See http://cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2011/05/02/bin.laden.timessq.cheers.wabc)
This is an inappropriate response in that it indicates an ignorance of the interconnectedness of all of us who live on this planet. When we believe that our only action is to eliminate another human being rather than seek and find reconciliation, we have strayed from God’s dream and will for humanity. I concede that because of the existence of sin in the world, sometimes we cannot see a response to others that is inherently good. This is particularly true when we’re experiencing the pain and trauma of an attack as heinous as the one Americans, especially New Yorkers, endured ten years ago. That is, we sometimes see war and killing as the only rational response. This is where our sin lives.
A joyous response to the killing of Osama bin Laden represents the dehumanization of others. (Even Osama bin Laden is created in the image of God.) It represents an us versus them mentality that will not bring us to ultimate reconciliation as a human race. It is sin. Those who masterminded and carried out the attacks in 2001 on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center dehumanized Americans. How different are we when we joyously chant in Times Square upon the death of Osama bin Laden?