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Christian Pastor Defending the Assassination of Bin Laden Reveals Sharia in the Bible

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Steve Cornell, a senior pastor of Millersville Bible Church in Millersville, Pa, wrote in The Washington Times a short column telling God what he means in respect of murder and punishing it. It is curious that every Christian knows what the bible means, and it is God’s holy word, is it not? so what God means. The unseemly celebrations at the death of a man, albeit a man considered to be responsible for multiple deaths, Osama Bin Laden, is perfectly Christian. Pastor Cornell says that it is the bible that tells us to execute murderers, and joy is the appropriate response, after all Proverbs says so:

It is joy to the just to do judgment, but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

Proverbs 21:15

Quite a number of passages in the Jewish scriptures approve of death for murder, and there are some, too, in the Christian appendix to the Jewish scriptures, the New Testament, but none of them are uttered by Christ, the Christian God incarnated, excepting one occasion when he is simply citing the scriptures to make a point about Pharisaic hypocrisy.

Deuteronomy 19:21 and Exodus 21:24 require application of the lex talionis “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. It would, it seems, perfectly well justify the assassination of Bin Laden, but who, in the civilized western world nowadays, would consider such a barbaric form of justice as just? We read that Iranian judges wish to apply the Sharia Law to a man who threw a strong acid into the face of a woman who had spurned his proposals of marriage. It is the self same lex talionis, literally in this case an “eye for an eye”, because the acid burnt the womans face horribly and destroyed her eyes. The judges, having found the man guilty, have ruled that the woman can pour a similar acid into the culprit’s eyes, thereby doing to him what he had done to her. Western newspapers are shocked and horrified that the Moslem bogeymen can do anything so barbaric, yet the Jewish and Christian bible has exactly this same law, repeated for emphasis.

More to the point is that the law was to be applied, according to the Jewish scriptures, justly! The crime had to be heard before God, meaning his judges, in those days the temple priests. The Iranian acid thrower was arraigned before judges, and the case proved. Osama Bin Laden was summarily shot, and only then was a DNA sample taken to prove that they had shot the right man. It seems they had, although there is doubt about how they were able to be so sure without his own DNA having been taken before hand to compare with that of the dead man, or DNA from his father and mother, or several brothers and sisters instead. We read that only samples from a couple of half siblings was available. In any case, had the man been shown not to be Bin Laden, then what? The body was quickly disposed of at sea, and no photos of the victim are to be released. The fact is that we cannot be sure the right man was killed, and the procedure is flawed indefensibly because, even if he was, he could easily not have been! The alleged Bin Laden was not given the chance of a trial, and due process had not been followed. It was not justice, whatever this supposedly Christian pastor claims (a “just punishment” by a human government) with his barbaric biblical citations at hand.

No this pastor even thinks that today governmental “roles” have expanded beyond “national boundaries”. Would that be all governments, or just the biggest and most powerful? If it is the role of all governments to expand its powers overseas, does that mean some country, perhaps Iraq, or Aghanistan, or Libya or Pakistan, can rightfully demand that Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and Barack Obama be accused of illegally murdering their nationals, in some cases many thousands of them, and demand that the guilty men be brought before the International Court of Justice for their crimes? They would, at least be getting a fair trial, which is more than Bin Laden got, and more importantly, more than all those many thousands of mainly innocent women, children and eldery folk in those foreign countries got in lex talionis vengeance. Yes indeed Reverend Cornell:

Neighborly love compels people of goodwill to act on behalf of helpless victims of international crime.

It does not mean they should be the criminals! The Christian pastor, has noticed that Christ’s rule of loving your enemies is not easily reconcilable with killing them. Here, as usual, the Christian is happy to revise the bible, despite its inerrancy, and not only that, he is happy to correct the impression that the incarnate God of the Christians gave while he spent his brief life on earth. Cornell knows God’s brain! He is not speaking of loving lawbreakers, nor of the appropriate response to it by rulers:

If applied to criminal justice, it would rule out all punishment and contradict the God ordained role of government to punish evildoers (1 Peter 2:14).

The “good” pastor cites here a passage, from the letter attributed to Peter which may be genuine, as if Peter is setting out a universal concession to governments to punish criminals, and even murderers. He is doing no such thing. He is telling the Christians who will be venturing into the wider Roman emperor to be Christians, even though there are people who will use their powers against them, given the chance. The Christian missionaries were to be Christians, that is follow the example and teachings of Christ, loving others, and not to react or provoke retaliation. They were not to give rulers and governors, magistrates, and so on, the chance to punish them.

Peter is not giving these officials any God given right to do anything. He says Christians have to obey these officials “for the Lord’s sake” (1 Peter 2:13), because “it is God’s will that by doing right you will silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15). The foolish men are the rulers and their officials whom Peter prophesies—as Christ did, according to the gospels stories—will use their authority to try to silence Christ’s message of love. If Jesus had been teaching that Christians must obey their rulers, then he would have been justifying his own punishment by the Romans, and the acts of Caiaphas and the Jews. He had been acclaimed as king of the Jews, so it was right to punish him under the law as a traitor to the emperor, and right to turn him in.

Minister Cornell thinks the state is not bound by the morality of the individual person, and so can murder without it being criminal, so the state ought not to be accused of “killing” Bin Laden. Rulers of states cannot be criminals! So any man who manages to get into the position of ruler can murder people because when enemies are “killed” by the state, it is not murder—it is the execution of a murderer. It is the reasoning of tyrants everywhere. Gaddafi is not a murderer—he executes murderers because he represents the state of Libya. Saddam killed no one in Iraq, but executed them because they were murderers, and he it was who was the state of Iraq.

According to this principle, the USA had no reason to “kill” them for they were not murderers but executioners as the leaders of independent states. So for Cornell it is right that the Christian leaders of the USA can take it upon themselves to decide what is murder and what is execution. The USA only executes, but other people are murderers and can be executed by the world’s policeman, the USA.

If the USA claims the right to dispense international justice unilaterally, Americans must recognize that there is no legal principle involved. The principle being used is “might is right”. To be consistent, what applies to the goose applies too to the gander, the uncontested bully in the yard can kick whoever he likes, but can hardly be surprised when occasionally he gets kicked back.

Apparently Bin Laden thought the USA were a mass of murderers, because as a democracy, they had elected their chosen rulers who had the right to execute those whom they deemed murderers abroad. He declared the people of the USA as murderers and determined to execute them, and succeeded in executing some. Well, he was not a ruler of a state, and so he was a plain muderer, if 9/11 is indeed what he had aimed to do. He claimed in several videos released after the atrocity that he had had nothing to do with it, and the evidence was that a bunch of mainly Saudi Arabians did it.

Reverend Cornell is ultimately correct that society has the right to protect itself, to preserve itself. In primitive times, those who took advantage of others for selfish reasons could be expelled from the tribe. Even in relatively recent times, they could be exiled. Now it is no longer possible to expel people, so instead they have to be confined to prison. Even murderers do not have to be killed, confinement is worse. But whatever the crime, they must have the right to defend themselves, and the state has to have ways to ensure it has the person responsible for the crime. The proper way to elicit the truth is by a trial.

In the US, the greedy are richly rewarded, and reward others for defending them, not least right wing clerics. So, the “good” Christian for whom killing is a grievous sin, tells us:

The death penalty is needed to protect civilized society.

Without it we descend into “barbaric anarchy”. Strange then that the USA seems to be descending into barbaric anarchy despite widespread judicial murder, and is rapidly loosing every bit of respect it once had in the world.

US Christians ought not to cherry pick what they like in the bible while leaving aside what they do not like, meaning almost everything that their own God taught. They are not interested in morality or justice, the principle of “might is right” appeals to all religions too. Christians want to rule the USA, and will do and say whatever they think will help them in their goal. That is why the USA is no Christian nation. It is ruled by greedy liars, and it is hard to comprehend how any supposedly moral God can sanctify liars, or be expected to, especially by so-called believers. No society can be built on lies, and it certainly cannot stand on lies.

The USA has become a lying state, a greedy state, an immoral state, not because it lacks Christianity but because it is deluded into thinking that it is a Christian nation, deluded by its lying, greedy, immoral pastors. Society has to protect itself from lying, greedy, and immoral people because morality is what keeps society worth living in. Already the USA is becoming horrible to live in for too many of its people. It is horribly divided between two tribes, one beguiled by greed and immorality while imagining they are Christians. Pastors like Cornell pander to this ignorance for their own aggrandizement. Cornell is a Christian who loves people so much that he believes in one of the most primitive forms of law there is—an eye for an eye—the savage principle that is enshrined in Sharia Law. Do the pastor’s congregation realize it.

Written by mikemagee

15 May, 2011 at 2:05 am

2 Responses

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  1. Spot on Mike… Spot on. Sadly, even with a US military background I cannot agree with what occured all in the name of “Justice” or “Preventing a Shrine or Martyr.” Hard to believe that Jesus would have stormed the compound isn’t it? Not saying Justice is wrong, but there is a difference between Justice and Murder.

    One question. You say America is divided between two tribes, listing greedy immoral claimants to Christianty as one, what, in your opinion is the other?


    15 May, 2011 at 5:58 am

    • Hi Alan. As a convinced lefty for many years, I know that when I paint broad brush criticisms, one ends up offending allies or potential allies. I hope that they are intelligent enough, especially when they blog themselves, that it is too tedious to paint in the details with a finer brush… to note the exceptions. You obviously realize that, and I realize that there are many people with military experience who are against the perpetual war economy, probably more in proportion to the wider population. People who have experienced it do not need to use their imagination to think how horrible it is. Warmongers like Bush and Blair very often have had no experience of “seeing the elephant”, as ex-soldiers call it here.

      The broad brush apology applies too to your question. We read that the rabid right and tea party people, led and financed by the pluto rich like the Koch brothers are utterly devoid of all reason. They are forcing the binary division and it is getting more and more bitter. So, the broad brush tribes are these described here, the unreasoning right wing, and ordinary people who are more open to alternative ideas, new ones perhaps in the US, because it is so politically lopsided, but not new in Europe and elsewhere. What is worrying in Europe is that the US system is being promoted here, by politicos like Thatcher and Blair, and here too we are losing our choices as the center moves right. We are, as usual, tailing America, when now we should be standing well aside. Best wishes, Mike

      Mike Magee

      15 May, 2011 at 4:19 pm

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