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Regretting Bin Laden's death

May 3, 2011 |  9:10 am

Obama Cover One of the most interesting -- and, I suspect, least popular -- reactions to the killing of Osama bin Laden is to bewail the necessity of his death. But a prominent clergyman is braving a backlash by writing that "we Christians regret profoundly the necessity of this killing."

To be fair, Samuel T. Lloyd III, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, prefaces this sentiment with a denunciation of Bin Laden and he says that the cathedral staff "share with our fellow Americans a sense of relief that Osama bin Laden's life of hatred and violence is over."  But that falls short of the eye-for-an-eye emotion that led young men to shout "USA, USA" outside the White House.

The exultation that overtook the entire country was not simply a reaction to Bin Laden's being put out of business. And  President Obama's declaration that justice has been done wouldn't have resonated the same way if bin Laden had been captured and dispatched to Guantanamo.

Lloyd ends his statement with this declaration: "We recommit ourselves as a people of faith to building a world of compassion and interfaith understanding and continuing to work tirelessly for peace and reconciliation in every dimension of our lives." That is undoubtedly the Christian perspective, but it will be thin gruel for Americans who  craved the red meat of revenge.


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Debate: Is it appropriate to rejoice at Osama bin Laden's death?

-- Michael McGough

Photo: A roadside vendor sells newspapers with headlines about Osama bin Laden's death. Credit: Mohsin Raza / Reuters

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