Responding to the death of osama bin laden

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As Christians and as citizens of Australia, we cannot remain silent about the death of Osama bin Laden.

We are deeply aware of the decade of conflict arising from the actions of bin Laden. We are aware of many deaths which have taken place around the globe. We are also aware that the story of Osama bin Laden had its origins in the Cold War struggle and the resistance to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

We believe that the international community did have a responsibility to call attention to crimes which bin Laden is alleged to have perpetrated, and to act to bring him to trial. We believe that both victims and perpetrators require that justice be done. The way in which Osama bin Laden has been killed simply provides motivation for more killing.

As people of faith we believe that the God of peace has acted in our human history to give us a way of living together in union and harmony.

We therefore reject the act of assassination which has taken place. Justice will not be served when nations use acts of violence to impose their will on others. The Biblical tradition teaches that justice involves ‘putting things right’. This involves recognition of fault and recompense as essential to the process of justice.

We are distressed that our Australian leaders, committed to rejection of capital punishment in Australia, accept and promise capital punishment aboard. We refuse to accept acts of assassination or murder as done in our name.

With this death, our dignity as human persons is obliterated, not merely the dignity of those directly in the Pakistani compound but all humanity is diminished in this act.

As Christians we believe that Christ took a way to end all such killing by his own murder.  As people who seek to follow his way we reject the meeting of violence with violence. We are encouraged at voices of church leaders and heads of other religious communities who have spoken out, and implore congregations and councils to speak and act and pray for healing and reconciliation in our communities.

We are aware of the way in which propaganda is used to shape our response. Therefore we reject acts of celebration and joy at this death. We call, rather, for prayer, acknowledging the pain of all deaths, those who continue to fear bombings, and those who grieve the wasted lives.

We pray that the God of peace may send the Spirit of new life in this time of anguish. And we commit ourselves to building bridges of communication and shared life with those who differ from us.

Wes Campbell

6th May 2011

 Wes Campbell (Revd Dr)

Chaplain, University of Melbourne
Uniting Church Minister

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