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Does Jesus love Osama?

The sign on the wall outside Sydney’s Central Baptist Church from Andrew Bolt’s blog http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php /heraldsun/comments/the_church_of_the_blessed_leunig

Scores of churches around Australia this week are displaying large posters with the words, “Jesus loves Osama.” The poster is part of a series of advertisements designed by Outreach Media (http://www.outreachmedia.org.au/) to promote what it sees as “the heart of the gospel.”

But the notion that the Son of God would demonstrate affection for the world’s most wanted man, and that Christian churches might want to point out this gospel truth to commuters and pedestrians, is news to Australia’s news media.

Sydney tabloid journalist Luke McIlveen broke the story in today’s Daily Telegraph, and various news media have followed his lead.

Founding Director of the Centre for Christian Ethics Rev Rod Benson said that to his knowledge, McIlveen has not spoken to a spokesperson of the Baptist Union of NSW, and incorrectly assumed from a conversation he apparently had with an administrative support person that the Baptist Union of NSW distances itself from the signage.

“In fact it does not; to do so would be an implicit denial of the validity and significance of the teaching and example of Jesus.”

“Apart from the fact that there is no credible evidence of a link between Osama bin Laden’s terrorist activities and Saddam Hussein’s regime, the sign outside NSW churches this week has nothing to do with the war in Iraq or the activities of al-Qaeda. Nor has it anything to do with the moral character or evil actions of Osama,” Mr Benson said.

“The sign has everything to do with what God is like, how wide God’s love is, and what is distinctive about the Christian gospel.

“Through propositions and narratives, the Bible teaches that God is love, and that God loves all people without reserve (e.g. 1 John 4:8; John 3:16; Luke 15). Jesus Christ perfectly reflects the loving nature and actions of God. So it is true to say that Jesus loved Judas Iscariot, Pilate and Nero as well as Peter, James and John.

“It is equally true to say that Jesus loves Stalin, Hitler, Pinochet and Pol Pot just as he loves you and me. Yes, Jesus even loves George W. Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard.”

Benson said he is not suggesting that we are irresponsible or unaccountable for unjust and selfish actions we may choose to take but that the love of God is as boundless as the justice of God is universal.

“Assertions like this may be offensive to some, particularly those who have personally suffered, or whose loved ones have suffered or died, under the regimes of monstrous tyrants such as Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot.

“It may well seem impossible for family members of the innocent victims of 9/11 to love and forgive those who were responsible, either directly or indirectly, for the terrorist attacks in 2001.

“But that sentiment, while understandable, does not change the Bible’s teaching, or the nature of God, or the mission of God in the world. We do well to reflect on those profound and radical words of Jesus: You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:43-45a).”

It was this extract from the Sermon on the Mount that led many churches this week to post the sign that “Jesus loves Osama.”

As Alan Soden, Secretary of the Baptist Union of NSW, observed in a recorded interview on ABC radio today: “It’s not about Osama and what he has done or may have done. We are all sinners and [God] loves us all no matter who we are or what we have done. Hopefully it might cause some people to think about Jesus’ teachings. The idea that we should pray for someone and even love them when we disagree with them or may even be opposed to them and their actions is radical. But many of Jesus’ ideas were radical.”

Prime Minister John Howard has criticised the church saying it had its priorities wrong.

"I understand the Christian motivation of the Baptist church," Howard told reporters.

"But I hope they will understand that a lot of Australians, including many Australian Christians, will think that the prayer priority of the church on this occasion could have been elsewhere."

Queensland Uniting Church Vision for Mission Advocate Rev Duncan Macleod said that looking at Jesus’ track record we discover a tendency to search out people who have been rejected by their peers. (http://www.pacifichighlander.postkiwi.com/)

"In some cases he’s befriended people who have been spurned because of their despicable actions.  In other cases it’s people who have been unfairly treated.  What appears to be consistent is Jesus’ capacity for undeserved mercy (grace) for ‘sinners’."

Mr Macleod said with the meaning inserted into the ‘Jesus loves Osama” statement we have a distorted perception of Osama, Jesus and love.

"The kind of love consistently shown by Jesus is more about the capacity of our creator to engage with creation with compassion, concern and call for renewal. This is the kind of love that sees beyond our perceived aggrievances and sees God’s gift of humanity even in the lives of abusive men and women.

"Jesus forgave even those who treated him unfairly and brought about his death. Father forgive them for they know not what they do.  And yet God’s love is not about blind tolerance of destructive attitudes or behaviour. Jesus was not shy about calling people to model their lives on his compassionate love.

John Laws, speaking this morning on Sydney’s 2UE raised another important issue.  If Jesus loves Osama, where does that leave all those who hate Osama?

Mr Benson said, “The answer is obvious: they are unlike God in nature and character, attitudes and actions. But God understands the reasons for this and continues to offer them unconditional love and free forgiveness. That’s what Christians mean when they talk about the grace of God. That’s what the gospel is all about.

I think a more interesting question is: “Does Osama love Jesus and, if not, why?”  That would surely get the phones ringing.  It might also get the Christians thinking.

Outreach Media’s next poster, will simply say, “Forgiveness: One size fits all.”



Friday, February 2, 2007


Regarding Jesus loves osama… For me this statement underlines the very core of christianity. Jesus said "Love your enemies", to love my enemy rather than just loving those who dont offend, ensures every last bit of hatred or evil within myself gone. Its more about my life than osama bin ladens. What osama does is between him and God it literally is none of my buisness. My buisness is my heart my desires my deeds, the plank in my own eye. The statement JC loes Osama also raises another important point and that is, Does God Love Satan? The bible says that we can only have one master, you love one and hate the other… For me i cant imagine Love hating anything however Love could allow hate to exist until hate reaches its own fate, self destruction… When Jesus is dealing with the demons who had taken over a man, Christ allowed them to leave the man and enter animals instead. There was no malice. Its impossible for love to hate… So! the sign Jesus loves Osama is a beautiful statement one of pure love the only thing that can save any of us including osama…


Photo : The sign on the wall outside Sydney’s Central Baptist Church from Andrew Bolt’s blog http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php /heraldsun/comments/the_church_of_the_blessed_leunig