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. cyberpueblo

    I think if you lost something precious in 9/11 and cheering makes you feel better then you should do it.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • One of many celebrators

      I completely agree with you...all Americans lost something that day...security within our borders. The cheering didn't make me feel better..the special new report announcing his death did.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • vasechek

      are you a shrink? if you lost someone precious on 9/11 and cheering makes you feel better you ought to have your head examined. to the credit of those survivors who actually spoke out on the subject – hardly any of them did

      May 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Buttchek

      No vasechek, it's definitely you. The dolt of all dolts.


      May 13, 2011 at 4:00 am |
  2. Frank Castle

    To Rosie O'donnell , and the Michael Moore's of the world..it must be nice to be able to go on national television and let your mouth speak before your brains engage! Sure doesn't say much for the idiots that let you speak either. OBL was (love using the past tense) treated alot better than the 2956 & counting USA deaths that occurred on 9/11. They were unarmed. They had no advance warning that they were going to die that day. What the ROSIE O'MOORES of the world don't get is that once you cross over to the dark side of murder & mayhem...whether in numbers or relating to one person, you are REVOKING your membership in the HUMAN RACE. You have now become a by-product of what you sow.! Therefore, you now become a target. The hunter becomes the hunted. Thank you SEAL TEAM 6. Thank you NIGHTSTALKERS. Thank you DOGS OF WAR. Thank you for TAKING OUT the TRASH.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  3. One of many celebrators

    I'm not sure if this point was made yet or not but...how about the fact we in a 'war' against terror and we strategically killled the terrorists leader....alls fair in love and war...i'm still partying now that the mofo is fishfood.

    Thank God for United States Armed Services!

    May 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  4. Janet Goodell

    I am a high school teacher. The day after Bin Laden was killed, two students, whose remarks were unsolicited, told me that they were disturbed by the cheering as seen on TV. My own two teens did not jump and yell for joy, but were not disturbed by others seen on TV. My mother (86) was disturbed. I think you will find people of all ages and many persuasions who did not feel elation, but did feel relief. I'm with Proverbs, relieved but not rejoicing.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Artist

      Unless it was a celebration of relief???? I did find it strange people would be celebrating a death. Good or bad there should be no joy in killing, rather you just do what needs to be done. He needed to be killed and he was. Done, over and lets move on.
      Does an executioner celebrate carrying out his job?

      May 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • vasechek

      ah, finally something I can agree with Artist about
      good point on celebration of relief. I liken the celebrations pictured above to celebrating relieving oneself successfully in the same fashion 😉

      May 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • al

      How dare anyone give people who celebrate this mass murders death grief. How dare you try and make this about yourself or how you or your kids feel. This country is bigger then you and your family. We have every right to celebrate this murders death without self righteous people like you turning it into an issue. The issue is a coward who killed over 3000 Americans on one day from the comfort of his sofa and you dare change it from that to our wrong doing? That's sickening. Go tell the 3 cousins and aunt who have every right to celebrate the death of the man who killed their father and husband they should not cheer, tell that to my uncles grand children he never got to see too! Go back to your PTA meetings and keep your mouth shut.

      May 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • vasechek

      sorry for copy/paste, but this is my earlier comment and it applies here as well:
      "you're free to make an @$$ out of yourself and others are free to call you out on it. to freedom, everyone"

      your chest beating doesn't make you the face of this country, al. when you speak such nonsense, please speak for yourself.

      no copyrights have been infringed in the writing of this message

      May 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  5. Nyxxie

    News has no room for your little religious BS. Go preach elsewhere. I have never been happier that this man is dead, and if it was up to me, I would of been a lot less respectful to his corpse. Does that make me a bad human being? Nope. Take your religion and shove it- it has no room in politics.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  6. John

    People lie in polls all the time. Who wants to say they cheered Osama's death. But we know we did. I'll cheer a day for every American killed by Osama Bin Laden evil plans. I don't even care what the polls say.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  7. TheMann

    But's it's ok that they cheered the death of all those people that they killed of ours, SCREW Them and What They Think..And also should have buried him in a sess pool. wait that would degrade the crap in there... WHAT A BS STORY THIS IS...

    May 11, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  8. ArizonaYankee

    What a pussified nation we have become. Thanks to the PC Liberals, we are a nation of wussies, soon to be a third world country under Obama and the Dimocrats....

    May 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Allen

      I see a lot of liberals on this site who are cheering and I know even more who are still cheering. I see a lot of conservatives cheering as well. I am a military retiree and I believe actions are louder than words...this President promised he would get Osama bin Laden and he did. That’s good enough for me – I am still cheering as well. America finally got tough & took out a bad guy...this has nothing to do with PC or “liberals,” if it did, you'd should be thanking the liberals on the left who support the troops and a moderate center- right President who finally got the job done. Go seal Team Six & God Bless America!

      May 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  9. americheese

    To the editor of this post, Just take a look on the post comment on your blog and you will realise how wrong you are. I think you must be pro-muslim lobiest in white house and one of the support of Mrs. Clinton who still wants pakistan to be USA's close alies and who still wants to aid/fund pakistan with my tax paid money where my kids are lacking behiend in facilities provided here at home. How many schools closed down?, How many libraries closed down?, How many policemen lost their jobs?, How many fire fighters lost their jobs?, How many citizens lost their jobs? and many more questions like these because of the lack of funds in states, counties and cities; All these happened because we have to spent lots of money fighting against these terrorist; On top of it we are still feeding this snacks of the earth like pakistan to get these surprises. And when we crush them, You are trying to advertise that we should not celebrate this moment? I feel sorry for you Mr. Editor.... I think your next post would be " We should not mourn our martyr who faught for our country"
    But you know what? We all gonna celebrate these peoples death not less than celebration like our birthdays.... Go NAVY SEALS....Honks.....

    May 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  10. Pick1username

    This article is stupid.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Dmont

      it might be stupid, but it appears as if we are repeating history. Think about it! What did people do when they nailed Jesus on the Cross. People have become animals

      May 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • americheese

      @demont; And these muslims are the genrations of those animals.... Doing same things what their forefathers used to do during their ages....

      May 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  11. Ben Over

    I suppose it was okay for all those of Middle Eastern decent to celebrate (dancing in the streets of Paterson, NJ/areas in the Middle East comes to mind) when those two Towers feel to the ground. Go **** yourselves. Stop with this PC madness already, Did all those people who died on that day have a choice? NO!

    May 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Dmont

      you are so right! We should be celebrating that we are all still alive and not on the other end of another world trade center scene.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  12. theroc

    My only regret is that they dumped his entire carcass in the drink. Why not sever his head, as our muslim buddies are so proficient at and put it on E-Bay? That would have brought in enough $$$ to pay for the entire operation!

    May 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Dmont

      that is what should have been done...especialy since he ordered so many Americans to suffer in gruesome deaths

      May 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • americheese

      Remember martyr Daniel Pearl....?

      May 11, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  13. Tom Taylor

    Oh, and I will celebrate every year on the anniversary of his death! I'm so bad.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  14. Yobee

    Yeah, not interested in what the survey says. Celebrating the death of this creep is a right that I practice daily. The rest of you PC wimps can KMA.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  15. Rob

    I just had to stop cheering to type this comment...now back to cheering.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • blah blah

      lol awesome... same here. SEMPER FI

      May 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  16. Altaf bin Rafiq

    It was wrong to cheer and celebrate the killing of Bin Laden, no matter how heinous a human being he was. You don't just shoot an unarmed man like a dog. That's just primitive.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • americheese

      and what about when you kills civilians on the streets of izrael, usa, london, europe and india and enjoys their deaths on the same streets?

      May 11, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Altaf bin Rafiq

      hey ameri. you sound ignorant. are you a primitive man?

      May 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Chair_Force

      And murdering 3k unarmed people isnt primative? People like you worry me on what direction our country is heading in.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • americheese

      So when we say truth, we declared ignorants... huh... just check and see how islam is primitive.... and i don't want to waste my time writing here that what islam taught to muslims for non-muslims....

      May 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Brian

      You are right Bin Laden should have not been shot like a dog....He should have been stripped naked tortured for weeks on end.. then just when he thought he might go free ..behead him, while having pigs blood poured down his throat...that is way more in line with Muslim tradition don't you think?

      May 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Chair_Force

      I say all of us true Americans leave this behind us and let these ignorant fools to feed off eachother. Lets just be the bigger Man/Woman and step above it. One Nation under God, thats why we are who we are.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • americheese

      @chair_force; But these altaf and company wants our one nation to be under two gods. One is ours and other is their allah... These people beleive there is only one god that is allah; and your and my god does'nt even exist....

      May 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Chair_Force

      Yah. I guess no matter what God we / they choose, Americans have risen / will rise above the majority of the world hating us. Who wins the fight, the person who keeps egging the other person on, or the one who says Im not stooping to that level. Well, until the calm one gets attacked, then punches the other one in the face.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  17. Mingo666

    I am glad he is dead. He has lost his right to live among us. He can no longer hurt anyone. It's not revenge. It's thinning the herd of killers and terrorists that makes me happy. Next!

    May 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Muhammad Ali Farooq

      Far my exp, with american is, if proven wrong, they say "i m sorry". is it same matter? you are just filling air with more f a r t.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • americheese

      @mamad ali, We all know who farts when they hears americans are comming.... hehehe

      May 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  18. Stephen

    I'm socially and economically liberal, and I cheered when I heard the news. I still cheer. There is no way to describe how bin Laden actively tried to make the world a worse place by dragging innocent people into his religious war. A heinously sick mass murderer, and good he went down. Hooray!

    May 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Muhammad Ali Farooq

      Stephen you are not "educated" liberal. Beside your media and your gov... what proof you have.? Can you prove that. ? OBL was behind all that.? who created OBL.? for what purpose OBL been created? Your Gov. policy has a policy use it, trash it.
      Please read something before claiming something.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • doo shhh

      LOL, when people state "I am blah, blah, blah, but...." The next part always directly contradicts the blah, blah, blah part.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Stephen

      1) I can set aside political persuasions; ideology does not influence me in this regard, because no matter your politics, whether you are religious or not, everyone is the enemy of OBL. And 2): Muhammad, I know Reagan, Bush, and the CIA "made" OBL in the '80s. Of course I know that, and it's easy to sit here now and say what a mistake it was. It does not change who or what OBL is, which is a sadistic, stone-age-religious madman and murderer.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  19. Aro Bugger

    A survey of 1,007 folks is representative of a nation of 307,000,000? And you call this "news"??

    May 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • who

      Obvioulsy you know nothing about statistics and probably little of anything else. With proper selection of a cross section of us, a sampling of 1,000 can be very accurate.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  20. islam killer...islam is work of the devil!!!!!

    I am Happy he is dead....that poll was taken by who and when???I bet it was around the time we all where outside our house yelling at the top of our lungs!!!!! Thanking God hes on our side!!!!!!

    May 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Muhammad Ali Farooq

      The day(if) you will grown up. we will talk. Till then I'd only say to current economical condition put lots of pressure on minds. May Allah bless you till then.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Ura Bozo

      Which side was God on 9/11/01?

      May 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Muneef

      Islam no Killer...Islam is not the Work of the devil of yours.

      Islam will not die by the death of any body, Islam did not die by the death of Muhammed (S.A.W)...(Submission) will Domin Earth by time to come.... Islam starts with (Taking refuge of God from the work of devil & evil);

      [7:196] "GOD is my only Lord and Master; the One who revealed this scripture. He protects the righteous.

      [7:197] "As for the idols you set up beside Him, they cannot help you, nor can they help themselves."

      [7:198] When you invite them to the guidance, they do not hear. And you see them looking at you, but they do not see.

      [7:199] You shall resort to pardon, advocate tolerance, and disregard the ignorant.

      [7:200] When the devil whispers to you any whisper, seek refuge in GOD; He is Hearer, Omniscient.

      [7:201] Those who are righteous, whenever the devil approaches them with an idea, they remember, whereupon they become seers.

      [7:202] Their brethren ceaselessly entice them to go astray.

      [7:203] If you do not produce a miracle that they demand, they say, "Why not ask for it?" Say, "I simply follow what is revealed to me from my Lord." These are enlightenments from your Lord, and guidance, and mercy for people who believe.

      [7:204] When the Quran is recited, you shall listen to it and take heed, that you may attain mercy.

      [7:205] You shall remember your Lord within yourself, publicly, privately, and quietly, day and night; do not be unaware.

      [7:206] Those at your Lord are never too proud to worship Him; they glorify Him and fall prostrate before Him.

      May 12, 2011 at 8:19 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.