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Is Osama bin Laden really dead?  Did he die several days ago or had he been dead for some time, with the release of this news carefully co-ordinated to coincide with the release of President Obama’s supposed long form birth certificate?

Who knows?  These questions will keep the blogosphere alive for years to come.

However, leftist Christian apologists are questioning the morality of the death of this ex-CIA operative who claimed responsibility for killing thousands of innocent people through spectacular terrorist attacks.

Cranmer has analysed an article which appeared on the site of the Anglican-Anabaptist think tank, Ekklesia.  Be of no doubt of the influence of this organisation.  In true Christian humility, they describe themselves as ‘the UK’s premier religious think-tank’.

A number of traditional British Christians — those who know of this marginal organisation, anyway — think it is more a group of leftist agitators cloaking themselves with a light fabric of Christianity.  In any event, the Social Gospel and Anabaptist pacifism permeate their agenda.

I featured Ekklesia before in one of my posts about David Cameron.  Ekklesia’s Tony Bartley confronted Mr Cameron about what he was going to do for disabled children.  A bit rich, considering that Mr Cameron’s disabled son had died only a year before (emphases mine):

Mr Bartley also has a disabled son who is confined to a wheelchair and demanded that Mr Cameron push to include disabled children at mainstream state schools, a part of the Conservative manifesto that he had personally writtenThis was not only disingenuous but callous.  Disingenuous because whilst Labour were in office for 13 years, Mr Bartley does not appear to have pressed this issue with any of Labour’s ministers. He himself went through a battle — during Labour’s time in office — to have his son included in a mainstream school. Callous, because, as the father of one disabled son encountering another, he seemed to downplay Mr Cameron’s loss and his experience of life with a disabled child.  It was just an angry Mr Bartley with an angry son in a wheelchair confronting Mr Cameron … over something that Mr Cameron personally committed himself to examine if elected.  (Where’s the logic in Mr Bartley’s getting angry over a point on which they had common ground?)

On to Osama bin Laden (‘Osama, son of Laden’, literally).  Ekklesia asked one of their regular contributors, Michael Marten — a lecturer in Postcolonial Studies at the University of Stirling (Scotland) to give his opinion.  My overseas readers should note that this institution is not among the foremost of higher institutions of learning.  So, one would do well to take in what Mr Marten says but not be taken in by it.

Marten calls bin Laden’s death ‘murder’.  It should not have happened.  Instead, he should have been put on trial.  Cranmer writes:

Precisely because human life belongs to God, however, we must take care not to absolutise or idolise it. In some exceptional cases, God may command killing. In such instances, paradoxically, the protection of life requires the surrender and sacrifice of life. Old Testament and Just War Theory aside (as they may prefer) it is curious that the UK’s ‘premier religious think-tank’ appears to be unwilling or incapable of reflecting upon (for example) Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor 5:1-3; Rom 13:4; Jn 19:10

Is the self-confessed and widely recognised mastermind of the September 11th atrocity an exception?

Is it murder to execute a man who has schemed in the wholesale annihilation of 3000 innocent people? …

Ekklesia take the view that Bin Laden was an utterly insignificant figure and ‘not highly regarded by most Muslims’ because ‘his understanding of Islam (was) no less abhorrent than many Christians’ perspectives of Hitler’s understanding of Christianity’. One has to wonder how many Muslims Ekklesia know, and how they have arrived at ‘most’ in a world of more than a billion. Wearing their repugnant anti-Americanism on their sleeves, they refer to the ‘murder’ as a necessary ‘violent revenge for Americans’: they protest that Bin Laden’s influence was due to his ‘elevation to a position as “super-terrorist” by US Presidents Clinton, Bush (the Lesser) and Obama’.

And:

But that’s not all. The way many of us think about Bin Laden arises, they aver, ‘from a racist strand of thought’. Brilliant, isn’t it? They racially denigrate Americans and elevate Islam to the position of super-race, and then accuse us of racism and ignorance. And they sneer at the ‘paucity of intelligent reflection and comment’ of those who conflate Bin Laden’s thinking into ‘fundamentalist Islam’.

Well, if Bin Laden’s thinking is ecumenical, moderate and multi-faith, His Grace no longer understands the meaning of the word ‘fundamentalist’. Perhaps such profound theological enlightenment is revealed only to ‘the UK’s premier religious think-tank’ …

But this is Ekklesia. They appear to be aware of the moral principle which forbids murder, but utterly ignorant of centuries of Scholastic moral theology and the principle of ‘Double Effect’ (the distinction between intention and foresight): the Christian may indeed act in such a way as will foreseeably produce an evil effect in order to secure some proportionate good or avoid some proportionate evil. The principle does not convey a formal moral truth about murder: it arose largely out of attempts to understand the morally significant differences between murder and other kinds of killing. But it does grasp the fundamental distinction between foresight and intention.

One cannot help but wonder if Ekklesia would be happier embracing Islam in one of its 57 states.  Their leftist, communitarian, binary outlook dovetails nicely.

This is a good illustration of the confluence of leftism in all its strands and Islam.  Both seek to change Western society dramatically.  So, one works hand-in-glove, directly or indirectly, with the other.  Labour and other left-wing political parties accommodate Islam. Ekklesia does so from a notionally Christian perspective. Left-wing Anglicans also contribute; the Archbishop of Canterbury is preparing the faithful for Sharia law, which he said in 2008 was ‘inevitable’.  Similarly, many British Muslims find left-wing politics, ‘Yes to AV’ and communitarianism compatible with their thinking.  Whatever ‘mixes it up’ socially and politically helps.  The same process is going on in other Western European countries, namely France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

As for the Ekklesia brand of Christianity, historically, the Anabaptists have borne a grudge against not only the Church of England but also other churches of the Reformation.  Zurich was a hotbed of conflict between Zwingli, his fellow reformers and the Anabaptists. The City Council condemned the Anabaptist Felix Manz to death by drowning in 1527.  This is the death which today’s Anabaptists mistakenly attribute to Calvin and the City Council of Geneva.

So, we have a long history of sectarian Christians in conflict with the established Church.  (The Quakers and the Amish are also associated with this counter-cultural conflict but are quieter about it these days, with the latter having a degree of cachet about it.)  It’s alive and well today, perhaps best expressed in the UK through Ekklesia (despite the supposed Anglicanism of some of its members, like Mr Bartley).

Not all ‘Christian’ opinion writers are what they purport to represent.

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