Tikkun’s Spiritual Response to the Assassination of Osama bin Laden

bin Laden

A spontaneous crowd forms to celebrate Osama bin Laden's death on May 1, 2011 in front of the White House. Credit: Creative Commons/theqspeaks.

From Peter Gabel, Associate Editor:

There is no question that Osama bin Laden, as the leader of al-Qaida, was implicated in or directly responsible for the deaths of many, many people, most likely including the more than 3,000 American and, women, and children who were killed in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. But it was nevertheless upsetting and shocking to witness the exultation in the media last night when bin Laden’s killing was announced. Never should the killing of a human being be an occasion for such celebration — even in circumstances that involve actual self-defense against mortal danger. Not only does such a raucous display of pleasure in response to the killing of another disrespect the sacredness of every human life; it also inherently undermines the moral character and worthiness of those responsible for the death itself. If the United States seeks to place itself on a higher moral ground than those who commit immoral acts against our people, we must all conduct ourselves in a way that manifests our empathy and compassion for all of humanity, for every human person, and also manifest our awareness of the tragic distortions in human relations across the globe that still hurl human beings into the horrors of ongoing violence and war.

President Barack Obama’s statement to the American public and the world announcing bin Laden’s death was far more sober and expressive of human depth than was the unseemly cheering of major media figures in the hour preceding Obama’s address, or the crowd shouting “U.S.A, U.S.A” outside the White House gate with the kind of hardened false elation in response to a killing that often is seen on the face of hatred. Nevertheless, we wish President Obama had at least included one phrase that said, “Even though we never take pleasure in the loss of a human life…” before stating why he felt bin Laden’s death was important and just.

From Rabbi Michael Lerner:

I agree with Peter Gabel, and would only add the following:

The Jewish tradition has much to say on the killing of our vicious and even murderous enemies. When Pharaoh’s troops were drowning in the Reed Sea as they sought to re-enslave or kill the Israelites, the angels began to sing praises (the Hallel prayers: Psalms 113-118). God proclaimed:

“My children (the Egyptians) are sinking in the sea, and you are singing praises?” Yet God did not silence the Israelites, knowing that at that moment it would be hard for humans not to celebrate the death of an oppressor. Nevertheless, the Jewish tradition then instituted two practices in accord with God’s response: First, that the Hallel prayers would be cut down to a partial saying of some of the psalms on the last six days of Passover. And second, that when we do the Seder on Passover and recite the plagues that were used against the Egyptians to get them to free the Jews, we put our finger in the cup of wine, symbolic of our joy, and dip out a drop of wine for each plague — this symbolizes that our cup of joy cannot be full if our own liberation requires the death of those who were part of the oppressor society.

It is the loss of this consciousness by almost every society on the planet that is a real source for concern and mourning. For far too many people, the war on terrorism seems to be an extension of the football games where we cheer on our team: “USA! USA! Hey, you are tough!”

The task of spiritual progressives at this moment is to reaffirm a different consciousness — to remind ourselves that we are inextricably bound to each other and to everyone on the planet.

The struggle against terrorism will not be won through killing, no matter how many people we assassinate. It will only be won when we in the West can show genuine love, caring, and generosity toward everyone else on the planet.

Now that Osama is dead, let’s get our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan now!  The money saved from that alone would make a great down-payment on the Global Marshall Plan we badly need (and we could start it in the Middle East). Congressman Keith Ellison has already introduced this plan as House Resolution 157.

I understand very well the need for self-defense in a violent world, as well as the rage and upset felt by many, including me, at the murder of innocent civilians on September 11 and on many other occasions. Within the current distorted framework of military conflict in which we are to some degree entrapped, I also understand the strategic importance of capturing or, if there is no other way to stop them from sending more murderers to kill innocent civilians (and every other possible route has been tried), then self-defensively killing the leaders of those who seek to kill or terrorize our own people. But the fact remains that it is through new policies of generosity and caring for others, not through killing the bad guys, that we will create a world of peace. To the extent that Americans celebrate the death of bin Laden because they believe that it will bring peace to the world, I want to acknowledge the goodness and decency of that aspiration. Yet we as spiritual progressives must simultaneously help our fellow Americans, indeed, our fellow human beings in every society, see that it is the path of nonviolence and the Strategy of Generosity that is the only path toward lasting peace on our planet.

So this is a moment to pray that this new consciousness will spread quickly through our planet, and a moment when all of us can and should renew our dedication to promoting a spirit of love, caring for others, and true generosity. Let us pray that that becomes the path of all countries on our planet.

Peter Gabel, the associate editor of Tikkun, is a law professor, therapist, and a founder of the critical legal studies movement. Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of "The Left Hand of God: Taking Our Country Back from the Religious Right," is rabbi of the Bay Area congregation Beyt Tikkun and head editor of Tikkun.
 
tags: Spiritual Politics, War & Peace   
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59 Responses to Tikkun’s Spiritual Response to the Assassination of Osama bin Laden

  1. Shaeda Farooqi May 2, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    The messages from the articles on this page are wonderful in that they remind us to respect “human life” because if today we celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden – then by the same token – every other human’s life could be celebrated because there is always someone who hates the dead/victim/etc. person. I am with Rabbi Lerner in praying that becomes the path of all countries on our planet.

    Thank you Tikkum for sharing such wonderful insight with us at large.

  2. Franklin Perry, MD May 2, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Thank you for your essays. When I saw the photos of Americans jubilantly celebrating the death of bin Laden, I immediately remembered the photographs of Arabs celebrating the 9/11 attacks. We Americans then were shocked! Shocked, I tell you, about those barbarians, in our smug sense of moral superiority. I felt a mix of admiration for Team USA, the brave men that carried out the mission in Pakistan along with sadness that this is just another turn of the wheel. As you pointed out, swatting mosquitoes, even the very biggest & baddest ones, will never bring peace. Indeed, we must begin to drain the swamp. Well said!

  3. Caryn Rothe May 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I am having a hard time squaring the sense of righteousness about our duty to defend ourselves when we have the blood of close to a million people, most all of them innocents, on our hands. Not to mention that we have left the earth in Iraq so full of toxic waste that the remnants of our occupation is causing enormous numbers of birth defects and cancers in the next generation. What have we really gained by taking yet another life?

  4. Gene Glickman May 2, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    In the main, I agree with the sentiments expressed.

    I even agree that President Obama’s response was more measured than the crowd’s response. But, then again, practically any response would have been more measured.

    But one aspect of Obama’s presentation disturbed me greatly: when he said that “justice had been done.”

    To characterize as “justice” someone being killed without trial cheapens the very meaning of the concept of justice.

    It is very much of a piece with the president’s previous assertion than he can order the killing of any American whom he has deemed a “terrorist.” Or, for that matter, the harassment of peace activists by the U.S. Justice Department, as has taken place recently in certain cities in the midwest.

    In fact, I can understand the unthought-through, visceral reactions of the crowd more easily than I can accept the administration’s deliberate and carefully articulated policies of handing our summary “justice.”

    • Tom May 4, 2011 at 10:40 am

      Gene,

      I can understand your feelings here based on our values of due process and a fair trial for all. I believe this case is an extreme exception where the perpetrator publicly plead guilty without the formality of a trial — and there was no conceivable alternative, in the widely-held view of justice, than a death sentence.

  5. David Lloyd May 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Professor Gabel and Rabbi Lerner: The Americans were cheering the justified killing of Osama Bin Laden who has murdered thousands of Americans, as well as causing the deaths of thousands of his fellow Muslims. Your condemnation of these Americans illustrates that you are out touch with reality and lacking in compassion for the thousands of Americans who have lost family members at the bloody hands of Bin Laden and his fellow travelers. Under analysis, we should not celebrate Purim as we recognize the death of the evil Haman. Likewise, according to your worldview, we should condemn the State of Israel’s warranted execution of Eichmann. I turned to the Tikkun website to see if you had the audacity to criticize the joy shared today by millions of Americans. Predictably, you showed that you had more sensitivity to the Jihadists than to your fellow Americans. There is a little more justice in this world for at least one day. I am disappointed that you can not recognize the same.

    • gerald fischer May 3, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      Amen to David Lloyd’s comments. Bin Laden was killed in a war that he declared and that he launched on 9/11, murdering several thousand innocent civilians at the World Trade Center. Michael Lerner’s comments give liberalism a bad name.

      • Peter Munsing May 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm

        I think the oprobrium heaped on the celebrations is a little over the top. It was celebration of the death of a tyrant. If Hitler, Stalin, were dead would people mourn? Would some who were threatened or oppressed by them not have huge grins on their faces?

        That being said, perhaps a follow up article could look at the degree to which media driven shallowness equates such milestones with “victory.” That is a far more complex word, in a very complex world. We look for a nice “mission accomplished,” but it is not that simple.

        Do we leave posthaste and let the Taliban take over? Is that fair to the women of Afghanistan and those who don’t follow the Taliban’s edicts? Do we stay when their is
        clearly a duality to Pakistan’s role, on the one hand helping us against Al Quaida, on the other hand protecting–and in many cases supporting–Taliban and Al Haquani network fighters who are killing our troops.

        The fact that some readers may not like our tactics does not make our opponents nice people–a counter lesson apparently not learned from the Vietnam era.

        The sad fact is that the forces of pacifism have never liberated a death camp, did not stop massacres in Rwanda or Darfur, and if massacres are averted it is usually through
        troops on the ground. That is the reality of history. (E.g. a group of Friends met with Himmler in 1938. Unfortunately, while he was polite with them and did not ship them off to a KZ camp, it seems to have done little–my history suggests that the same Mr. Himmler’s victims still alive at the end were saved by the troops on the ground, not by parachuting pacifists. So it was with the camps holding Muslims from Bosnia who had not been massacred. Don’t recollect that the Dutch witholding force in Srebrenica did much for the muslim men.
        Not all troops are evil, unless you are the type of person who believes that if you have to kill one SS man to save a school full of children from being immolated it is one death too many–in which case we will never agree. Sorry, but when the bell tolls for someone of that ilk my only thought is “does he even deserve that recognition?” Don’t recall all those wringing their hands about the nature of Mr. Bin Ladin’s death spending as much time in remorse about the children he advocated sending in as live bombs, or the civilians he so cavalierly condemned to death.)

    • Gale Edward Boulton May 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      Thank you, David Lloyd for so aptly articulating what I said in earlier in a shorter comment that went unpublished. It appears that Tikkun only wanted to publish responses it agrees with. Shades of the old Nazi newspapers!
      I am a WWII vet and I also celebrated the death of Hitler, was I bad and wrong for that, too?

    • Carl Stewart May 4, 2011 at 5:19 am

      Dear Mr. Lloyd—-

      Who is it that determines if a person is to live or die? The President of the United States, the Governor of a State, the head of a congregation, or you as an individual? When someone decides that it is “just” to take a life, is there to be no questioning of that decision? Although you may believe that Bin Laden was guilty of crimes punishable by death, that fact has never been proved. The revision to the account that was published today, that Bin Laden was unarmed, is particularly troubling. If you believe that this country has the right to assassinate individuals who we think have committed crimes, then we are already on the fast track down a slippery slope. If and when all the facts are disclosed, we may see that the actions of the Navy Seals constituted a violation of international law.

    • Da Vid May 4, 2011 at 7:43 am

      Dear Mr.Lloyd,
      Speaking of justice, It has been alledged that Bin Laden was the person responsible for 9/11 I for one along with many other people here and abroad have serious questions regarding 9/11 Either way innocent till proven guilty is the foundation for American jurisprudence.

  6. Casey May 2, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I agree with this article. I would like to add that the photo accompanying this article was not necessary for the same reason described in this article.

  7. Sandra Lynton May 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I just want to say I appreciate these articles about the killing of Bin Laden – watching the news on TV, I was quite sickened by the idea of going out to kill someone and then rejoice the killing with celebrations and ‘patriotism’ – I am no fan of someone who murders many innocent people (Bin Laden) but this seems plain and simply wrong – and the ideas that Bin Laden held will probably continue, and his assassination may spur on newer recruits to these ideas. I thought about making an analogy to Hitler, and I suppose I do believe that the world became safer for Jews at least after he was dead – and I may have applauded his assassination – so I don’t know quite where I get my morality now – except maybe that I also believe that the killing of another human being is inherently wrong unless in self-defence – and should not be rejoiced like this, which reminds me of spectator sport during the Roman Empire -

  8. Tracey Hall May 3, 2011 at 4:33 am

    “Never should the killing of a human being be an occasion for such celebration”. Maybe not, but since there was no humanity in Bin laden, that’s pretty much a mute point in this instance. He was an evil, soulless monster who deserved to die. He was also a coward to the end, hiding in caves then hiding behind a woman. The world is much better off without him. Even his own son rejected his beliefs and had nothing to do with him, he even moved to Egypt to distance himself from him. The people of the USA, especially New Yorkers, have every right to celebrate his demise considering what he did to them. Yes, the Bible says turn the other cheek, but it also says an eye for an eye, and in this case, an eye for an eye was exactly right. What everyone seems to be dismissing is the fact that he could have allowed himself to be captured, then he wouldn’t have been shot. Funny how that little piece seems to be left out when people get on their soapbox. At least now he’ll be burning in hell which is exactly what he deserves.

  9. Janet Burkhart May 3, 2011 at 5:46 am

    I will consed that killing Ben Lauden may have been necessary but celebrating that killing or any killing is morally wrong. It incourages others to kill. It delutes the inner hatred of killing and can incourage some to take up the “cause” of killing those they disagree with.

  10. Scott Kellogg May 3, 2011 at 6:40 am

    While I agree that the demonstrations were a bit unseemly, I think that you are both being way too moralistic and shaming. In general, the response has been much more sober. It would have been better to praise the courage of the soldiers or re-affirm the goodness of America.

  11. Arnold Gore May 3, 2011 at 7:13 am

    The assassination of Bin Laden, must be viewed for its consequences. In the last 10 years our military engagements from Iraq to Afghanistan have given war a bad name in the arsenal of american policies to counteract terrorism. This incident I fear will be used to finally justify all that sacrifice in terms of lives money and that intagible fear put in the hearts of our enemies.
    I can hear the “lessons” of military preparedness and counterinsurgency strategies being given a new life, at least for a while.

  12. Charles S. Merroth May 3, 2011 at 8:09 am

    A lot is rightly said about what is wrong but little is said about how to correct the wrongs.I believe we must start in the homes of America and with parents aware of love, compassion and humility. These virtues seem to be eroding in our society and to restore them, some effort to educate students in a school course how to instill love in their children of the future must be initiated. This is the onlly tangible method I can think of to somehow introduce universal virtue .Thank you.

  13. David Arnspiger May 3, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Celebrating the death of a human being is, I agree, a terrible thing.

    I cannot speak for the rest of the celebrating masses, but I was not celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden, I was celebrating the overdue penalty he deserved for his crimes.

    I would have preferred to have him captured, jailed and humbled, rather than killed, but he brought it upon himself. He had it coming, unlike the thousands he was directly responsible for killing.

    I do not believe in God or prayer. I believe in justice. In this case, justice could be served in only two ways. Imprisonment or death. Osama Bin Laden chose death.

    I believe many, like me, were celebrating that justice was served.

  14. j. Madison Rink May 3, 2011 at 9:19 am

    So well said and I feel a great deal of gratitude for your strength and courage in doing so….. you deserve the Nobel Prize, Rabbi Lerner…your work is so valuable. Thank you!

  15. Marie May 3, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Who are we who ‘celebrate’ a killing of a human being?

  16. E. Haberkern May 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    There is an excellent article in The Independent by Geoffrey Robertson (Why It’s Absurd to Say that Justice was Done) which points out that this assasination was in violation of basic principles of international law. It was itself an act of terrorism. And it will feed anti-American sentiments throughout the Arab world.

  17. Tony Roeber May 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I felt sadness…the wild celebrations of this
    assassination was so primitive, tribal and hate-filled…I was unhappy at the hate-filled execution of Saddam…all this hatred will continue the murderous tendences promoted by those who will profit from it all…but, cleary,love is coming in..my American friends are sad, not exultant…..thank you Rabbi Michael Lerner

  18. Sara May 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I am so glad to have read this – I felt exactly the same way once the news came out, and yet this piece really articulates the issue very clearly. Thanks for your words!!

  19. David Palmer May 3, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    There are some that feel that justice was served. Bin Laden, being on the FBI most wanted list was not wanted for the destruction of the three towers in NYC. Osama approved of the terrorist action but admitted that he did not plan it – or maybe he did. We’ll never know now that he was assinated and that action condoned by the President of the United States. This is U.S. justice, a photo op for the President to say he killed the bad guy. Like the towers themselves that were shipped out leaving very little evidence of how the towers fell, Bin Laden was also dropped into the sea. If in fact he was really killed, will this assuage our fears of future terrorism? I was personally dissappointed as this is not my kind of justice.

  20. Al Bregan May 3, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    The Bible portions related by the Rabbi seem to speak for sobriety AND celebration; not just one or the other. Who would argue with that wisdom?

  21. Barbara Nussbaum May 3, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I completely agree with the moral and spiritual depth embodied by this article. Thank you Peter and Rabbi Lerner ror taking a stand on this, so strongly and so articulately. Martin Luther King’s wisdom affirms yours.”I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate,… adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that” Martin Luther King, Jr

  22. Phil Wolfson May 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Thank you both for putting some balance into the world perspective. I agree with the comment about the photo–unnecessary to show it. It is high time to put our backs into getting US and Nato forces out of Afghanistan–the great justification of the Bush years is now gone. Much of the Moslem world is in a new and indeterminable state of change in which progressive forces for democracy have rebuked tyrannies. Lets do some work here at home against our own corruption and lack of democracy!

  23. Dede May 3, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Thank you Tikkun, for once again providing depth and insight, which seems to be so very lacking in the knee-jerk reactions of the Americans who cheered the killing of Bin Laden. I understand that it might bring a sense of closure to anyone who was directly affected by the 9-11 attacks, but what it is needed now, is exactly what President Obama exuded – a calm sense of the gravity of the moment and the bigger picture – that we are not at war with Islam, which I’m glad he reiterated.

  24. Nancy Oster May 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Thank you for this thoughtful piece. It says eloquently what I was trying to express to my family (not as articulately) last night, a sadness at the arena sport reaction to such a grave and serious action.

  25. Steven A. Sindell May 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Tsedek, Tsedek Tirdof — Justice, Justice Shalt Thou Pursue — Deuteronomy 16:20

  26. Ian Morrison May 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    A balanced article, both vis-a-vis the euphoria that has understandably swept across the USA and vis-a-vis the excessively critical stance of many non-American pundits.

    I would, however, add that it may have been extremely dangerous to have taken bin Laden alive, as this would probably have provoked widespread hostage taking, aimed at getting him released.

    I am, however, disturbed by the top speed disposal of the body at sea, as this has prevented the public identification of the remains and provided fertile ground for those who will inevitably assert that the US Navy Seals got the wrong man.

    I am not an expert on Islamic burial customs but, as former president of my local Chevra Kadusha, I’ve had some involvement with the Moslem burial ground which abuts our own.

    My understanding is that the Islamic insistence on speedy disposal of the body is no more absolute and unwavering than that of Judaism.

    On the other hand, burial at sea is, I understand, considered un-Islamic unless it occurs in the context of a long sea voyage.

    If I am correct, then the disposal of the body will have both created grounds for a new and destructive myth and risked offending pious but not necessarily militant Moslems.

    The most important question now is whether the killing of bin Laden will help the United States and its allies disengage from their unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

    The British Raj at the height of its power could not subdue the place. Nor could the Soviet Union. All we can achieve by contiunuing to “stay the course” is inflict more misery on that unhappy land and upon ourselves.

    It’s time to declare ‘victory’ and move on.

    • Da Vid May 4, 2011 at 7:49 am

      Another smoke screen as to why we are really in Afganistan it is all about G-O-D..Guns Oil and drugs…Oh BTW vast mineral deposits of Lithium which lie underneath the soil in Afganistan…

      • A. Steffens May 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm

        War is always about taking something another has. Why didn’t America respond to the genicide in the Sudan? I was stunned. After Hitler we said “Never again” and yet here we are again. It seems to me we only offer up help when there is someTHING to gain…oil or some other form of wealth. I can’t hold my head up when we go charging off to war in the name of some ficticious human compassion…in truth it is oil or some other commodity we are after.

  27. Ed Stamm May 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    As Geoffrey Robertson wrote in “The Independent”: “When the time came to consider the fate of men much more steeped in wickedness than Bin Laden – the Nazi leadership – the British government wanted them hanged within six hours of capture. President Truman demurred, citing the conclusion of Justice Robert Jackson that summary execution “would not sit easily on the American conscience or be remembered by our children with pride – the only course is to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused after a hearing as dispassionate as the times will permit and upon a record that will leave our reasons and motives clear”. He insisted upon judgment at Nuremberg, which has confounded Holocaust-deniers ever since.”

  28. Frank Gardner May 3, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Hate has a way of turning people into what they were fighting. When we fight long enough, and desperate enough, we become what we despise.
    Love and compassion are tools of a long term and certain lasting victory, but lack the instant gratification of hate.
    That our society chooses so poorly, and in retrograde to how we have acted in the past, is a sign of moral decline.

  29. Barry Wright May 3, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    MIchael Scheuer, former chief of the ‘bin Laden Section’ at
    the CIA, wrote that bin Laden demanded two things.

    1) An end to US support for Israel and 2) A withdrawal of
    all US military troops from the Mideast.

    bin Laden felt that Israel had become overbearing and
    dangerously aggressive, and that the US had obvious imperialistic plans in the Mideast.

    Frankly, I wonder how many Arabs feel the same way he
    did. The 9/11 attack was meant as a retaliation for many attacks by us or with our support on innocent
    people in the Mideast. Why is this not discussed by our
    media?

    Killing bin Laden is another symbolic gesture reminiscent
    of the capture of Saddam. The underlying hatred of the US is untouched and left to fester. When will we come to
    terms with our grievous actions and repent?

  30. Gale Edward Boulton May 3, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Bin Ladin was EXECUTED by a courageous American team, not assasinated.

    I suppose there were hand-wringing moralists prattling about how wrong we were in celebrating the news about HITLER’S death at the end of WWII; get REAL.
    The deaths of both these monsters simply saved the world time and money in avoiding their trials.
    Consider that any Belief System, including yours is like driving an armored vehicle through REALITY. +++Gale Boulton

    • Tomas May 9, 2011 at 8:38 am

      Be careful celebrating anyones death. Germany celebrated the Jews death for what they did to the Reichstag.
      As another poster asks what happened to justice?

  31. Jamie Lowy May 3, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Just as was said about the Palestinians in Gaza seen celebrating the 9/11 attacks, those seen celebrating in the streets represent a small portion of American society and should not be held up as a generalization of American sentiment. Rather, like myself, I believe many more Americans felt a sense of relief that Bin Laden was killed. Do we really believe a “trial” of Bin Laden would have been any more fair or just. This would not have been like putting Eichmann on trial in the early 60′s, but much more like a circus. What happens next? I’m not even sure our leadership can answer that in these early days after Bin Laden’s death. Much of that depends on the response from Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

  32. Margaret Arndt May 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you for your articles.
    The following article provides Thich Nhat Hanh’s spiritual response to the attack on America, which I find deeply insightful: http://theconversation.org/archive/thich.html
    He concludes by saying: “To develop the drop of compassion in our own heart is the only effective spiritual response to hatred and violence. That drop of compassion will be the result of calming our anger, looking deeply at the roots of our violence, deep listening, and understanding the suffering of everyone involved in the acts of hatred and violence.”
    I was once told that for the past 2000 years, we were to learn the Golden Rule, and that for the next 2000 years, we are to learn, “We ARE thy neighbor. All is one!”
    May the path of higher consciousness prompt us to see what is being mirrored within us and to practice compassion…for all. The victims and the perpetrators.
    And may we ask: What is needing to emerge and evolve within us so as to create a more peaceful, compassionate, and consciously evolving world?

  33. tahoevalleylines May 3, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Let’s try this

    Work hard to move America back to railway based distribution, therefore removing America from the conflagration about to take place in the Middle East over oil. Reconfigure US transport energy consumption to mode share model seen pre-WWII, when America was a lending not a borrowing nation.

    Americans claiming faith and moral certitude have long had a blind spot about our undue call on world oil resources. Viet Nam was about Indonesian (Royal Dutch Shell) oil, and was where America really got past redemption on transport choices.

    Stonings and beheadings under shariah are carried out too often to make news or merit the attention of the good Rabbi and his lucrative organization, but certainly the ominous and inevitable bloodletting over oil just ahead deserve some attention.

    Tikkun knows how to reach information aimed at facilitating all due haste US shift in transport that allows pull back from the oilpatch before we are caught in the maelstrom. Tikkun cannot acknowledge scripture declaring hooks in the jaws of nations including the USA, because that opens the doors to some serious rethinking on a number of things more than just preserving happy motoring. Daniel 4 V 15 is a warning and a clue for the clueless.

  34. Ivan Abrams May 4, 2011 at 12:43 am

    Perhaps the overarching emotion is “relief”–a sense that this man whose thoughts and actions were so evil will no longer be able to spread his vileness throughout the world.

    Then there is “gratitude”–to the US Navy and other military personnel who risked their lives to bravely carry out the mission that eliminated Osama Bin Laden’s poisonous presence among us, and to the current and past presidents of our nation that they persisted in the pursuit of this monster.

    Certainly there is “wariness”, a sense that the multitudes of people who have adopted the hateful ways of Bib Laden–there are so many, some who profess faith, others who claim no faith at all–will regard this monstrous man as a martyr and follow in his footsteps.

    But is there “joy”? Not for me. The life of Osama Bin Laden was shameful, disgusting, hypocritical, and vicious. He brought about his own death, the hatred he unleashed finally coming full circle and destroying him as he basked in his suburban mansion enjoying the life he denied to others.

    The removal from the earth of such scum is just and appropriate. It is a duty required of the strong so that those unable to defend themselves may live on. This is a time of reflection, not joy; a time to be cautious rather than boastful; and a time to seek peace while refusing to tolerate terror.

  35. Hilary May 4, 2011 at 4:24 am

    “It will only be won when we in the West can show genuine love, caring, and generosity toward everyone else on the planet’”??? a rather elitist view of the West as the great source of peace love and tolerance, not to mention a strongly Christian ‘turn the other cheek’ philosophy. in no way do i condone the celebration of bin laden’s death, nor do i believe peace can emerge from the wishes of one side of a conflict. that kind of position leads to the insistence that israel continue to withstand the terrorist murder of its children silently, while we take a holier than thou position, since it’s not our children who have been slaughtered.

  36. Carl Stewart May 4, 2011 at 5:32 am

    An excellent suggestion by Mr. Boulton. Why don’t we fine tune the American system of justice and simply execute or jail people without a trial? Why incur that expense? In fact, why not then execute those we have determined to be guilty without a trial? Why should our financially strapped government have to pay to incarcerate criminals? “Off with their heads”, I say. Will mistakes be made? Of course, but isn’t it worth the savings in precious taxpayer dollars? So a few innocents are put to death…are we going to wring our hands over this? As Mr. Boulton says, get REAL folks. If there are any questions about guilt or innocence in a particular case, refer the matter to Boulton. He will have an answer

  37. Val Steiner May 4, 2011 at 11:58 am

    IF OSAMA BIN LADEN WOULD BE DEAD, WE WOULD HAVE ANY VIDEO, PHOTOS-SOMETHING REAL TO LOOK AT. NOT A PHOTOSHOP WITH RED PAINT OF HIS OLD PHOTO.
    HE WAS TAKEN TO USA, THERE IS NOTHING TO CELEBRATE FOR US, AMERICANS.

  38. Don Nelson May 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    The death of Bin Laden changes little in the world picture. Another person will come and fill his shoes (Isn’t that the lesson from Spielberg’s film “Munich”?)

    When we root out the fundamental causes behind the strife on this planet, then we will have something to celebrate.

    • A. Steffens May 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

      Thank-you for that truth!

  39. Lloyd Howell May 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I was afraid you might say something as silly as there shouldn’t be jubilation at the demise of bin Laden.
    Although not having the same level of achievement as Hitler he certainly would’ve caused the death of millions if he could have.
    So are you saying Jews should not have been jubilant to hear of the death of the Fuhrer?
    Did not the Maccabees dance and celebrate their victories?

  40. Dr. Zachar Barneis May 4, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    In response to Rabbi Lerner and others, may I remind you that on Purim we celebrate the deliverance of the Jews and the death of the one who was out to destroy the Jews.

  41. Howard Cort May 5, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Capture and an international fair trial would
    provide greater justice, education, and understanding than what was done.

    However,I was given pause by the comment that a wave of hostage taking might then
    have occurred. I would appreciate comments on that issue.

    red.

  42. Val Steiner May 5, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Rabbi Lerner should be in a place of mr. Pearl and mr. Gabel should be in a place of mr. Pearl’s wife to teach us to love our enemies. Our enemies are not yeshiva boys. Thank you, Hilary!

  43. Jerry Vaughn May 5, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power only
    then will we have peace. Knowing completely the difference between the ‘Ego’ and ‘Our Spirit’ in our actions, will inevitably be the difference between our transcendence or our demise. Ultimately knowing that only ‘We’ are creating our beingness, our relationships, and our life paths and taking responsibility for that will be a blessing. .Honoring the zero-point field in which we are all intimately connected will complete the transition….if we could only spread the word….

  44. A concerned Unitarian Jew May 7, 2011 at 4:26 am

    The death of any individual is an abhorrent affair. Yes, we should no more mourn the killing of Hitler than Bin Laden, but by the same token, he was not alone in his endless desire to kill Americans, or anyone who didn’t agree with him. As long as we remain a killing machine, we are not much better than those we attempt to assassinate. It is time for us to offer peaceful solutions not just to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, but Palestine, Israel, and every country suffering ethnic
    strife. The only way to end war is to wage peace. You can’t end war by waging war. It has never succeeded. The celebration is premature. We have not yet gotten rid of those who would oppress us by peace. Until then, people will hate us. If we can offer a means for all people to be treated equally in our own country, as well as overseas, that’s when we will see an end to war. We must get rid of the health insurance companies that waste 80% of the taxpayer’s dollar. We’d have no more deficit if we got rid of them and voted for HR 676. We need to salvage
    social security. If we are as a nation to discover what ails us, we need to cure all ailments by recognizing healthcare is a fundamental right. Those who say there are death panels with single payer healthcare don’t realize that’s exactly what is happening under the private insurers. Who are we as a nation to judge how others live their lives, when we can’t keep our own veterans healthy?

  45. Ethe May 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    In the article of May 2, 2011, by Peter Gabel and Michael Lerner, concerning Bin Laden’s death,I concur with your comments, but I am surprised that your usually careful reporting used the term “Americans” in defining those who died.
    More than 10% of those killed were foreign nationals representing 115 nations.
    This distorted view is too often expressed by less knowledgeable or overzealous politicians and reporters, or do only American lives count?

  46. Edward Cobo May 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    …For far too many people, the war on terrorism seems to be an extension of the football games where we cheer on our team: “USA! USA! Hey, you are tough!”…

    Perhaps this is backward?
    Gladiator SPORTS seem to be an extension and promotion of WAR ???

  47. Charles S. Merroth July 12, 2012 at 11:24 am

    A
    lot is rightly said about what is wrong but little is said about how to
    correct the wrongs.I believe we must start in the homes of America and
    with parents aware of love, compassion and humility. These virtues seem
    to be eroding in our society and to restore them, some effort to educate
    students in a school course how to instill love in their children of
    the future.

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