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Survey: Most Americans say it's wrong to celebrate bin Laden's death
Students at West Virginia University in Morgantown celebrate after hearing the news of Osama bin Laden's death.
May 11th, 2011
03:38 PM ET

Survey: Most Americans say it's wrong to celebrate bin Laden's death

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Those who cheered outside the White House and Ground Zero on the night Osama bin Laden was killed may have been in the minority.

A survey released Wednesday showed 62% of Americans agree it is immoral to celebrate the death of another human being, "no matter how bad that person was."

When asked separately if a passage from Proverbs 24:17 - "Do not rejoice when your enemies fall" - applies to how Americans should react to the death of Osama bin Laden, 60% of Americans agreed.

My Take: Poll reveals a disposable Jesus

"There's widespread agreement across religion and party lines about how Americans should act in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden," said Robert P. Jones, president of Public Religion Research Institute, which designed and conducted the survey in partnership with Religion News Service.

The survey also found "fairly big disagreement and division over the morality and the effectiveness of torture and harsh interrogation methods," Jones said.

When asked if they agreed that using torture could "never be justified" to get information from suspected terrorists, 49% of those surveyed agreed and 43% disagreed.

"We've been watching these numbers on torture for a while now," Jones said. "They've been fairly consistent for the last few years that the country is fairly evenly divided. The partisan division is really big here, and there are a few religious differences.

"Democrats, maybe not surprisingly, are much more likely to say torture is never justified than Republicans. Younger Americans are much more likely than older Americans to say that torture can never be justified."

According to the survey, 60% of Democrats agreed that torture can never be justified, while 53% of Republicans disagreed.

"One thing we try to do is gauge public opinion but also gauge it in the religious context," Jones said.

To that end they also asked survey respondents if they thought God had a special role for America in human history; 51% answered yes.

Asked if they believed "Osama bin Laden will be eternally punished for his sins in hell," 65% said yes.

The May 5-8 survey was conducted by telephone with 1,007 Americans age 18 and older by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Opinion Research Corporation. The overall margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Islam • United States

soundoff (438 Responses)
  1. CommonSense

    I think some people were celebrating victory more than death. He came to just his death was a afterthought. Least that is why I celebrated.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  2. JohnB

    I wish we had no reason to celebrate ObL's death, just as much as I wish we had no reason to mourn so many who died on 9/11, but we have reason for doing both. His free will led to his consequences. His sons say we executed him? Yes. That's right; we did. So, live with it.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  3. Jon

    Your survey is twisted and not factual. Just whom did you survey?? How dare you print such hearsay. I suspect the entire world is happy he is gone. CNN, please start reporting the news again and not this bs propaganda.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  4. FukcOSBL

    Any who think it's a "crime" to cheer for that SOB's death should be killed also... YOU are what's wrong with this world, having any sympathy for a terrorist, such as wanting proper burial etc. is supporting a terrorist... please go hug a landmine, as you are sure to save a child AND a tree at the same time, so it's a win-win! A monster is a monster, and having pitty for a monster will make YOU A MONSTER!

    May 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  5. Sal Voce

    You're kidding right? Please tell me that some idiot intentionally skewed the results of the poll or the populace to make it turn out this way! Whereas nobody should gloat in the death of another, CLEARLY the world is a safer place with him DEAD...like with Hitler...etc....

    May 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  6. Dennis E

    I am happy as punch that this terrorist is dead. If others do not like it fine. DO NOT TELL me what I can and can not do when an historic moment comes around. This terrorist, who has made thousands mourn the untimely death of loved ones never gave those innocent lives one loving consideration. His twisted mind and ideology was to prove a sick and twisted interpretation of the quran. I am still celebrating his death and will celebrate again when his #2-3-4-5-6 and all the rest are killed and the World is free of terrorist once and for all. There is no place on our happy planet for others that have no peaceful respect for others even if they peaceful disagree. I hope they find the others quickly so we can visit this forum again. Go Navy go US military forces and our allied forces. Go get em.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  7. FukcOSB

    Any who think it's a "crime" to cheer for that SOB's death should be killed also... YOU are what's wrong with this world, having any sympathy for a terrorist, such as wanting proper burial etc. is supporting a terrorist... please go hug a landmine, as you are sure to save a child AND a tree at the same time, so it's a win-win!

    May 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  8. All American

    I celebrated **immediately** when I heard that Bin Laden was killed. I am proud of our military for carrying this out perfectly, and hope that it sends a loud message to all other fanatics out there. We "took care of business" without asking the Pakistani government for "permission" - we just DID it. Damn straight. Proud to be an American...

    And for anyone who did not celebrate, and thinks that OBL should have had a "fair trial" - just leave. Go live in Pakistan.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  9. Newto

    The survey asked a very specific question: " Is it immoral to celebrate the death of ANOTHER PERSON, no matter how bad that person was.
    This survey had nothing to do with the safety of americans or if some women you know that goes to church every Sunday and helps feed the homelss is ok with the celebrating the death of BIN LADEN. DO YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE?

    May 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Fernando Brownsville, Texas

      Osama Bin Laden was not a person. Yes he was flesh and blood like all of us; however, he was the face of terrorism. The termination of his existence goes beyond the mere concept of an earthly presence. The United States of America neutralized an integral and powerful component of the world of terrorism. No, Osama is not a person my friend. Rejoicing over his death and patting the back of your fellow countrymen in glee and glory for justice is the American way. God bless America.

      May 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  10. mudbone9

    Everyone I know is glad he is dead. The sad part is that he even existed in the first place.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  11. no, uh

    I celebrated his DEATH and continue to celebrate. All you fools saying we should not celebrate a death, (even the death of a mass murderer) are so PC and goody goody it makes me sick. OBL was a murder and thus, his death warrants celebration.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  12. InfidelGary

    I think a moment of jubilation is good. Say Hooray and move on. (I did)

    May 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  13. bill0711

    Of course we should celebrate the deah of such an evil person responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people.We really should have poured gasoline on him and set him on fire so he could have suffered like he made the thousands he killed.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  14. MadDog

    Good Christian sentiments that it is immoral. But who would not celebrate the death of Hitler ?
    People here have not lived in fear to appreciate what it feels when the man or people who have hurt you or your children and relatives is dead.

    Get over your stupid religions and fear of death. The fear of your own death is at the center of it all. And you want to feel sad he no longer lives among you. You stupid idiots, he was killing your kind when he was living. You Stupid People should go join him ! What is his problem, he's got 70 virgins to mess with. What you got is your stupidity. Get a brain, you morons.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  15. Leon

    in all serious thats why were are Americans because we can have the freedom to do either, whether its right are not can not and should not be judged. Welcome to freedom people.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • vasechek

      you're free to make an @$$ out of yourself and others are free to call you out on it. to freedom, everyone

      May 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Buttchek

      It's your own head that you should pull-out from your stinky ass, for you to breath some fresh air.

      Your head is full of C02, it melts your poor brain and turned it into a slime.

      May 13, 2011 at 3:48 am |
  16. American

    And we were wrong to cheer when Hitler and Nazi Germany was defeated? Come on, the political correctness is way out of hand.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      Hitler killed himself. Blaming Germany for what the Nazis did was short lived. American business made lots of money operating in Nazi German. My Mom was in the Navy and in London on VE day. They were celebrating the end of a war that tore all of Europe to pieces. 60 Million died, most of them civilians. Yes Million not a few thousand in one place. They are still finding unexploded bombs and land mines. No one called for the death of all Lutherans or cursed them for not stopping it. You know diddly squat about what it is like to have your entire country bombed flat and millions of your citizens killed. You are screaming for the blood of multi millions because of the work of a handful of radicals who are hated by most Muslims.

      May 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  17. Leon

    Its a celebration!!!! anyone who thinks otherwise is disrespecting America and deserve to move somewhere else. I bet these same people think Hitler was an OK dude. Ridiculous. Party at my place... we are going to show Muhammad...al li on TV and re-inact the Bin laden Killing... EF terrorists.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  18. youtoobrutis

    To be fair, the only pictures I've seen of people celebrating are West Virginia University, Penn State University, and Washington D.C. Besides the last one, these companies of people will riot over anything. Calling our until civilization barbaric shows a lack of education on western culture. You spit out what you've been fed.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  19. CoolBreeze

    While I didn't celebrate, I was glad he got what was coming to him. He was happy to kill Americans so of course Americans
    were happy when he was killed. Just like they would any other murderer of thousands, no matter their reason for being a mass murderer. He's dead...............good!
    PS, any survey of only a thousand people cannot possibly acurately reflect what a whole country of people believe.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • youtoobrutis

      They probably took it in a place where they knew they could get accurate results that they wanted. Go politics?

      May 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Nacho1

      It is wrong to cheer anyone's death...............that is primitive and brings us down to their level..........we need to allow the law to take over and try this man accordingly...........he no doubt would have been found guilty of more than one atrocity BUT.........the legal process must be followed or there is no longer an AMERICA as it was meant to be.............

      May 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  20. Stuck@Work

    im not celebrating osamas death... i would have celebrated his torture better...but either way...HORRRAAAAYYYY he's freakin gone!! and if u say its morally wrong to celebrate death...stop being a hipocrite there are far more morally wrong things u do on a daily basis...get over it life goes on!

    May 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.