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. divorce attorney plantation florida

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    May 1, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  2. Lightbulb

    My God you people are such morons. Mossad did 9/11 with a little help from those same zio-freaks that hijacked our government, tanked our economy, and steal billions of our taxes. It's plain as day; get a little science in your brainhole before you go blaming anyone but these pseudo-jews. Especially a CIA asset like Bin Laden. Fools!

    May 23, 2011 at 2:49 am |
  3. Mauro from Florence ITALY

    Thanks Mr president Obama;thank you MAERICA,now the world more secure and FREE!!!Living the AMERICA;living SEALS;and GOD BLESS the UNITED STATE of AMERICA!!!Thanks!!!

    May 16, 2011 at 9:01 am |
  4. amarjit

    It is wrong to celebrate any death. God devised death to end active life & keep control in His hands.

    May 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  5. david


    May 15, 2011 at 12:52 am |
  6. mabel floyd

    i do not think it is wrong to celebrate this evil man's death. although it may be in poor taste. it's like kissing in public–it is not wrong–but it is in poor taste.

    May 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  7. ConfuZeus

    Bin Laden has done it unto others and that's what others have done unto (Bin Laden) him.

    Bin Laden murdered more than 3,000 people and he bragged and rejoiced together with his fellow muslims.

    Had Bin Laden wasn't killied OR, there's no one rejoiced on his death, then, Golden Rule Mantra could either be deemed subjective or untrue.

    Apparently, there's a HUGE different between rejoicing for a kill of the made onslaught, from, rejoicing for the sweet victory and for justice that have been served.

    The Golden Rule should be objectively rather than subjectively applied and must be applied to all and should not to be used as a tool to single out or to inject feeling of guilt that may indirectly restrict and even restrain decent human being from freely expressing of what or how they feel on something or a certain situation at any time or place as long as they will not put others in jeopardy. Just like what some bunch of hypocrites on this board trying to push in this board.

    May 13, 2011 at 7:16 am |
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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.