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For Many, Celebrating Bin Laden’s Death A Moral Question

By Jay Gormley, CBS 11 News
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Rain falls on mementos left on the fence by visitors who came to look over the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa Monday, May 2, 2011 following the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan.  Nearly 10 years after September 11, 2001 construction is underway to erect a formal memorial at the crash site. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Rain falls on mementos left on the fence by visitors who came to look over the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa Monday, May 2, 2011 following the announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan. Nearly 10 years after September 11, 2001 construction is underway to erect a formal memorial at the crash site. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Carolyn Westerlage was sitting at the dinner table when her children asked, “why are we rejoicing over the death of a human being?”

“You start with collecting yourself by recognizing this is a teaching moment,” the mother of two said.

People dancing in the streets with American flags and chanting U-S-A was all part of the celebration following the death of Osama bin Laden. Westerlage seized the moment and explained it to her kids in simple terms.

“There are good people and then there are bad people,” she said. “The really good people in society are there to protect us from really bad people.”

But is it that simple? Many Americans believe in the Ten Commandments, which includes “thou shall not kill.” So how will Priests, Pastors and Rabbis explain any jubilance to their congregations?

Professor Reg Grant teaches at Dallas Theological Seminary and said it’s okay to celebrate, but warns against gloating.

“We as American people have a higher calling than that,” Grant said. “We do not lower ourselves to the same level as the people who are rejoicing at the destruction of another human being made in the image of God. Rejoice in justice, yes. But not in the loss of another human life.”

Charity Adams is a Dallas Therapist who said that celebrating is not a bad thing, as long as it’s celebrating the right thing.

“I don’t think it was glee that another human being was suffering. I think it’s because we finally got justice for the thousands of people that died because of his actions that brought us that happiness,” she said.

Jason Swaim said he has no qualms about wearing his emotions on his sleeve, or in this case, his chest. The Fort Worth businessman is already selling t-shirts of Bin Laden with the word “deceased” across the front.

“We’re not out there to play hop scotch with him. We’re out there to win a war and this guy is our enemy,” Swaim said.

Swaim says part of the proceeds from the sale of the shirts will benefit the Fisher House, which supports wounded warriors.

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