“Who Is My Enemy?” – A Reflection from Lee C. Camp

The following excerpt is taken from Lee C. Camp’s Who Is My Enemy? Questions American Christians Must Face about Islam-and Themselves.


“Public Enemy Number One” was killed last night.

The night before I signed off on the proofs of this book, Osama bin Laden was killed. The United States’ Public Enemy Number One for a decade and the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist plots, bin Laden had been hunted down and his death was greeted with widespread revelry and celebration. The media reported student gatherings in front of the White House complete with chants of “U-S-A!” President Obama, in announcing the killing of bin Laden, asserted, “Justice has been done.” Numerous government officials called bin Laden’s death a “victory against terrorism.”

But how do we determine who our enemies are? And, who is the we? “Our enemies are not flesh and blood,” said the apostle Paul. Nonetheless, if we do identify “enem” with any given person, how can killing that enemy be a victory for those who follow the Jesus who taught us to love our enemies? Moreover, does our celebration of such killing really serve as a victory over the forces of terror? Certainly Osama bin Laden, his body cast into the sea, will himself foment no more terror and strife. But ultimately, can such vengeance overcome evil? Can there even be such a thing as a “war against terror”? If the light of Christ has overcome the darkness through suffering love, if at the cross of Christ the justice of God was satisfied, and if we are called to take up our cross and follow Jesus, what then? Could it be that the killing of Osama bin Laden is but a continuation of bin Laden’s ways, which in the end can only be overcome in the longsuffering love of Christ?

These are neither trivial nor flippant questions, and I raise them with much trepidation.

©2011 by Lee C. Camp. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


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