Der Spiegel reports that Chancellor Angela Merkel is under fire for her allegedly unduly celebratory comments about the assassination of Osama bin Laden:
On Monday morning in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met reporters for an approximately six-minute long press briefing on the development. “I am glad that it was successful, the killing of bin Laden,” she said.
That statement is now being heavily criticized in German political and religious circles, including among members of Merkel’s own party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). And Germany’s Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, of Merkel’s coalition party, the Free Democrats (FDP), is calling on Western nations to temper their responses to the news of Osama bin Laden’s death.
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.”
Read the full article here.
Via Matt Yglesias, who writes:
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.