Pastors struggle to address bin Laden’s death

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2011


In the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s assassination on May 1, local pastors are struggling with personal reactions of how Americans are responding to the news.

Pastor Darryl Wood of First Baptist Church Vincent said any response to a death should come with a balance.

“I appreciate those who risked their lives to make it happen and pursued justice,” Wood said. “You have to balance justice with the reality of the loss of life and what that creates for other people.”

Wood said he felt something needed to be done to provide greater security for the world, but isn’t sure if the act will bring closure to those affected by 9/11.

“The time that has passed since that time has been a long time. The death of any person is a tragedy and it’s sad,” he said.

The rector of St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church, John Mark Ford, has been troubled by the response he’s seen from the American people.

“I can understand the relief and can certainly understand the sense that this brings, the relief it brings that he’s no longer a threat to our country,” Ford said. “I have been troubled by the sense of celebration of his death. I feel it’s an inappropriate response for us as Christians to celebrate a death. It seems wrong and inappropriate.”

“It’s a time for prayer and reflection,” Ford added. “I understand the relief it brings and that it needed to be done. Reflected on, but not celebrated.”

When asked how to speak with children about bin Laden’s death, Ford said he would talk about the relief people feel and the emotional relief they are experiencing.

“I don’t know how much you can talk to children beyond something like that,” Ford said. “This has been such a horrible ordeal in our country’s history, and everyone is so relieved that this chapter of it is over, such an emotional part. People show their relief in different ways. They’re happy that it’s over.”

Wood also said to avoid highlighting any reference to celebration when speaking with children about bin Laden’s death.

“The idea of having a party to celebrate someone’s death is not necessarily the thing I would encourage,” Wood said. “At the same time, you have to say this is a bad person who did a lot of bad things and hurt a lot of people. As a result, someone had to stop him.”