Osama bin Laden's death and questions of faith

Osama bin Laden is dead. President Obama just went on television live, at near midnight Eastern Time to make the announcement.

A ten-year quest to hunt down the man considered most responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks ended with an firefight with U.S. Special Forces in Pakistan, Obama said.

Bin Laden's death certainly comes with many of the typical questions. What will it mean for Al Qaeda, the terrorist group he led? Will it incense the group, or others, to launch plans for other attacks on U.S. targets?

But maybe it raises other, deeper questions.

This weekend I've been covering a Catholic Worker faith and resistance retreat in Kansas City, Mo. From across the country, people have come here to protest the construction of a major new nuclear weapons production facility.

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While talking with many of those gathered -- both young and old; those who have been arrested many times for acts of civil disobedience, those who are planning to risk arrest for the first time tomorrow -- I've asked what brought them to this point, what inspired them to live a life of nonviolent witness.

Again and again I heard a familiar refrain. Something to the effect of: "My faith in Jesus compels me to speak out against all violence."

It seems a weird juxtaposition that bin Laden's death would come at the same time as this faith and resistance retreat. I wonder what questions the Catholic Workers might ask about what bin Laden's death means. Will one more killing do any good? Can violence ever beget something other than violence?


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