Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden, the Two-Party System, and Hand Washing

So, I've been a bit disturbed/confused by the reaction to Bin Laden's death. I realize that this is probably the logical outcome of a violent life - "live by the sword, die by the sword" - but that sword is double-edged and cuts both ways (if I can mix metaphors or use two metaphors). Also, it reminds me of that scene in Lord of the Rings where Gandalf and Frodo are sitting in the cave and talking about Smeagol, and they have the following exchange:

Frodo: It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill him when he had the chance.
Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand. Many that live served death; some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death and judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends.

Now, I'm not saying that Bin Laden is like Smeagol (obviously Bin Laden is much more culpable), but I do think we shouldn't be "too eager to deal out death and judgment." I think some of the celebrations border on a bizarre type of bloodlust that certainly doesn't have a place in Christ's call to "love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you." I liked this article by a Jesuit priest James Martin entitled, "The Christian Response to Bin Laden's Death." I just think justice can never be served for 3,000 people senselessly dying, and it certainly won't happen by killing any one person. Revenge is a better word for it.

And then I was looking for a prayer for peace in the Book of Common Prayer and came upon this prayer for our enemies (already posted on facebook):

"O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

On a side note, I never understand the punctuation in the Book of Common Prayer.

Anyway, I've also been thinking about the whole two party system and why it seems to be failing in providing the US with real solutions to such complex problems. Jon Stewart had a great interview with Vermont independent senator Bernie Sanders that talked about this. Everyone seems to be in the pocket of someone, and any real solution seems to be thwarted by special/corporate/military interests of some type. It made me think about the possibility of voting third party in the next election, but I think my pragmatism outweighs my idealism. It reminds me of this Simpsons clip:

"Go ahead, throw your vote away!"

I look forward to the day in this country of ours when there will no longer be a need for "Employees Must Wash Hands" signs in restrooms because everyone will wash their hands no matter if they are working or not - employees, employers, patrons, everyone - and the clouds will part, and the Lord will descend, and God's kingdom will be here.

Well, one more group presentation tomorrow in the history and theology of the Covenant on human sexuality, and I will have officially finished all my seminary assignments! Let's do it. Later.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I don't even want to hear any more about Bin Laden's death, mostly because (most of) the reactions make me so uncomfortable.