Via the Glenn Greenwald Twitter feed, a fascinating article about the criticism Angela Merkel is taking for some very mild comments she made celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden:
A vice president of German parliament, Katrin Göring-Eckhardt, told the daily newspaper Berliner Zeitung: “As a Christian, I can only say that it is not a reason to celebrate, when someone is killed in a targeted way.” Göring-Eckhardt, a member of the Greens, said Bin Laden should have been arrested and put on trial.
Criticism was also lobbed from members of Merkel’s own party. Siegfried Kauder, of the CDU, and the chairman of the legal committee of the Bundestag, told the newspaper Passauer Neue Presse: “I would not have formulated it in that way. Those are thoughts of revenge that one should not harbor. That is from the Middle Ages.” [...]
Ingrid Fischbach, a vice-chairwoman of the CDU in the Bundestag, who is also on central committee of German Catholics, spoke with reservation about Merkel’s response. “From a Christian point of view, it is surely not appropriate to express pleasure with the targeted killing of a person,” she told the German news agency Deutsche Presse Agentur.
Religious figures also came out against Merkel’s statement in German newspapers Wednesday. Franz-Josef Overbeck, a Catholic military bishop, told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, “One cannot as a person, and especially not as a Christian, be glad about the death of another person. That also applies when that person was a violent criminal.”
I’m not someone who had a strong emotional response to the bin Laden news, but I don’t really have a problem with the celebratory response. Then again, I’m not a Christian and I’ve always thought of the odd Christian teachings on this point (“love they enemy…”) to be pretty weird. But what’s strange about this is that the United States is such a loudly, insistently, professedly Christian country and yet these kind of Christian sentiments are so absent from our political culture. I can’t imagine an American politician expressing the Fischbach view here. But there are lots of Americans who say that Christianity is a very important part of their worldview. I don’t doubt their sincerity, exactly, but it’s mighty odd that the politicians who like to talk the most about Christianity also tend to be the ones most eager to deploy violence as a policy tool.