PPF response to the death of Osama bin Laden

On this day, reflecting on the death of Osama bin Laden during a U.S. military operation in Pakistan, we turn to Paul’s Letter to the Church in Rome . . .

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21)

On this day, we mourn the loss of life experienced by so many on September 11, 2001, and we stand in compassion with our sisters and brothers for whom that loss of life remains a daily reality. We are deeply moved by the service of so many who risked their own lives on that day and in the days that followed.

On this day, aware that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have now gone on for almost a decade, we are keenly aware of the continued sacrifice borne by U.S. families as tens of thousands of our soldiers have been wounded or killed.

On this day, we know of the suffering of countless—truly countless—numbers of families in both of those countries who also have lost loved ones because of the wars, or who have been displaced by the violence, and whose lives will never be the same again. We say, again, it is time to bring the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq swiftly to an end, bring all U.S. soldiers and military contractors home to their families, and commit to the hard work of partnering to rebuild those communities devastated by the wars.

On this day, with many other sisters and brothers across our country and around the world, we dare to ask . . .

  • What might the world look like today had we responded to our own fear with the courage to love those of whom we are most afraid?
  • What if the billions upon billions of dollars spent to wage war had been spent instead on food and potable water and schools and development projects—the things that make for peace?
  • What if we prepared our young people to wage peace rather than to wage war?

We follow the Prince of Peace. We are a people of hope. We will seek common ground with sisters and brothers who share our commitment to peace in all religious traditions.

Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, May 2, 2011