I woke up this morning to find that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Navy SEALs stormed his mansion and then killed him when he fired a weapon and refused to surrender. Since then, nearby Washington, D.C. has erupted in jubilation, as has the Internet.
I observe the excitement carefully, aware how many people – quite possibly the same people now dancing in the streets – have criticized our involvement in the Middle East over the last nine and a half years. But one item in particular in the ABC news story I read stood out: “Two Bin Laden couriers were killed, as was one of Osama Bin Laden’s sons and a woman reportedly used as a shield by one of the men” (emphasis mine).
When I read about this woman, I feel both sorrow and gratefulness. I am sad she died so easily, as though she was worth nothing. And I am thankful for the laws of God and of man that protect me in the United States of America.
This morning, I drove myself to work in a car that I own. I live in a townhouse with three other single women. I practice Tae Kwon Do, and I am hoping to study a Master’s in Latin and Greek. My freedom as a single woman allows me to make good and fruitful use of my time.
But when I look at the rest of the world, I realize my freedom is terribly fragile. Former foreign and senior correspondent for TIME magazine Dr. David Aikman recently wrote that:
When Egyptian women protested in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for better political and human rights for women, they were outnumbered and shouted down by belligerent men. Oh, and a statistic worth knowing — especially for women tourists to Egypt — is that 93 percent of Egyptian women report having been manhandled in public settings; and 98 percent — can you imagine, 98 percent? — of foreign women have reported the same thing in Egypt.
And I think of Afghanistan when the Taliban took over, an event chronicled in Khaled Hosseini’s bestseller, A Thousand Splendid Suns. In a heartbeat, women’s relative freedom transformed into brutal oppression, enforced by law.
Some will say I should not be grateful, that my ability as a woman to own property and hold down a job is a right. We women should not be grateful, they say, for getting what is due us.
To these people I ask, who owes us this freedom? Muslim extremists obey a law that denies women have rights. And to an atheist, behaving under the structure of evolution, the physically weaker women should merely be sexual prey, if he can get away with it.
No, it is the Christian God who states that men and women are created equal in value, because we are all made in His image. He built a universe with this law embedded. While many, no matter their worldview, understand instinctively that it is moral and right to respect women, the logic of Christianity explains why.
In short, I shake my head when I see any of my fellow women deny the Christian God and His law, claiming our own strength and self-reliance. They deny our strongest protector. Without a God whose law governs both men and women, many women across the world are left without any defense at all.
I think it is much better to learn God’s law, seek to uphold it, and appreciate the men and women who are working to do the same. So right now I am grateful, particularly to the men – and women – who have given their lives to defend a set of morals and laws that is still based on a common grace understanding of the justice God demands.