Bishop Nathan D. Baxter of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania issued a statement today on the death of Osama bin Laden.
While dean of the Washington National Cathedral, Baxter prepared and led two memorial services in the aftermath of two acts of bin Laden-related terrorism — the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and national 9/11 memorial service in 2001.
Read on at the jump for an excerpt from Baxter’s statement:
… We must remember that Osama bin Laden is only a symbol of evil as terrorism and ideological extremism. This is not a Muslim-Christian religious war. Rather this is an ideological war by powerful extremists who seek to manipulate the religious and cultural fears of both Muslims and Christians at home and abroad. The work of everyday Americans, especially Christians, is to live into the best of our faith teachings, resist extremists’ abuse in any religion, and guard the dignity of our neighbor, especially Muslims.
The military efforts to win the war against terrorists and terrorism will continue, even with the killing of Osama bin Laden. But the more important work of building cultural and religious peace must also continue. Only everyday Americans, especially Christians and Muslims, can “Win the Peace” at home and abroad. We do this by intentionally reaching out to one another; by understanding and respecting the best of one another’s traditions; and by speaking out against extremist behavior and abuses by those of our own traditions. I am deeply grateful for the efforts of local congregations which have been reaching out to neighboring Muslim communities. Such efforts towards hospitality, learning and sharing of prayers must continue now more than ever. When our local communities and other nations see Americans demonstrating the best of our religious teachings and cultural ideals it will do more to “Win the Peace” and defeat terrorism than military actions. As Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peace makers (whatever their religion) for they shall be recognized as children of God.”