The news about the demise of Osama bin Laden has certainly shaken the world. It is rather impressive that such an action could be kept secret in this day and age. My personal reaction to the news touched me more on the moral side rather than the political. I will then take the liberty of presenting you these very personal considerations.
Is there anyone among you who would like to stand on a street corner and interview pro-lifers about their moral reaction to the taking of bin Laden's life?
Is there a "pro-lifer" among you who would be willing to admit that sparing bin Laden's life would have been the morally better thing to do?
I am on record as being "pro-choice" and having the opinion that "pro-lifers" are single issue activists who do not appreciate the profound meaning of "choice." The kernel of my thesis is that if we take "choice" away from ourselves, we deviate from the Will of God who created us with the freedom of choice. In so doing, we make ourselves less than human. Therefore, I have always said, and still do, that I am "anti-abortion." Furthermore, I have, over the years, become "anti-capital punishment." Yes, even for bin Laden. Why? In very few words, here's why.
It makes the world poorer by his absence. The evil that he represented is after all, not absolute evil. That means that he did have something good to offer to the rest of humanity, not matter how little. I am of the opinion that someone, somewhere and at some time could have gotten something valuable from his continued existence in life, even behind bars. I am so sure of that that I dare say, that it is undeniable that that is true
It diminishes our ability to feel secure in our own virtue. We now have given ourselves a taste of what it feels like to take the life of another human, for whatever reason. By participating in that corporate action, from the safety of our comfortable abode, we have participated in a act of revenge, not an act of justice. An act of justice would be a virtuous act. True virtue would dictate otherwise. True virtue would make us grow in the Spirit. Revenge makes us more comfortable in our humanity standing alone, not in relationship with the God that we love and to Whom Jesus introduced us by His Passion, Death and Resurrection.
Finally, it does nothing to diminish the power of evil in the world. By taking bin Laden's life, we did nothing to cleanse the world of evil. In fact, we participated in the evil ways of the world by answering cruelty with cruelty. We all know that there will be more evil engendered by our act of so-called "virtue." In our post Jesus Christ life, the lex talionis (law of equal retaliation) has been replaced by the law of forgiveness and restitution. True that bin Laden owes us restitution, but we do not practice virtue by exacting our form of "restitution" on him by violently taking his life. Besides, his is but one against 3,000. On top of all this, let's not forget that there are lieutenants of his who will visit us and others with evil acts in return for our vengeful behavior.
I end this altogether too short essay by reminding you once again that you now know why there is to be No Crying at my Funeral.