#tbt – To Rejoice or Not To Rejoice

by | May 2, 2013 | Uncategorized

Bin Laden Killed by Andre-Pierre via Flickr.

God did not make death, nor does God rejoice in the destruction of the living. Wisdom 1:13

Today’s Throwback Thursday goes all the way back to May 1, 2011, when President Obama interrupted our regularly-scheduled programming to confirm that Navy SEAL Team Six had raided Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan and killed him. Their actions ended one of the most extensive, most far-reaching manhunts in history, and they seemingly brought closure to one of America’s darkest chapters.

Seemingly. Two questions still remain for us to answer in further chapters of this exhausting novel on America’s engagement with terrorism.

On the one hand, why are we so quick rejoice in the destruction of another human person? While some have prayed for Bin Laden, thousands of fans at a Philadelphia Phillies game and a WWE pay-per-view cheered that Sunday night when they heard Bin Laden’s position was “compromised to a permanent end.” Over 121,000 people like the clever and funny spoof below of a President Obama imitator droppin’ the mic on Bin Laden, further humiliating a man who was the mastermind of horrific tragedy.

And yet on the other hand, do we rejoice with those who helped to end Bin Laden’s evil campaign? Further, does our rejoicing manifest itself in providing for them? Esquire recently published an article on life after the Bin Laden raid for the SEAL responsible for killing Bin Laden. Fears for the future mount for him, his family, and for his fellow SEALs. Concerns about health care, civilian employment, and personal and familial safety lurk in their shadows. Unlike their routine raids in foreign lands, these SEALs have no cover or air support now in their homeland. While others rejoice in the consequence of their work, mere survival overrides any of their own rejoicing.

“We’re actually looking into changing my name,” the wife says. “Changing the kids’ names, taking my husband’s name off the house, paying off our cars. Essentially deleting him from our lives, but for safety reasons. We still love each other.” When the family asked about any kind of government protection should the Shooter’s name come out, they were advised that they could go into a witness-protection-like program. Just as soon as the Department of Defense creates one.

“If I get killed on this next deployment, [says the Shooter] I know my family will be taken care of.” (The Navy does offer decent life-insurance policies at low rates.) “College will be paid for, they’ll be fine. But if I come back alive and retire, I won’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out for the rest of my life. Sad to say, it’s better if I get killed.”

Wisdom tells us that God does not revel in another’s demise. This applies to both Bin Laden and the Shooter.


Cover photo by André-Pierre via Flickr.


Vinny Marchionni, SJ

vmarchionni@jesuits.org   /   All posts by Vinny