May 3, 2011
Stephen Rankin, SMU Chaplain and minister to the University, was immediately struck by the jubilant nature of the crowds who gathered around the country as news spread of Bin Laden’s death:
“It was troubling to see people on the news last night (and this morning) chanting, ‘USA, USA!’ as if killing Osama Bin Laden were more or less like winning an athletic contest,” Rankin said. “In the biblical tradition that I know best, we are taught that God takes no pleasure in anyone’s death, even if that death is deemed (by a governing authority) necessary to satisfy justice.
“Especially because this incident – and the actions associated with it, including the 9/11 attacks – are considered to have connections to religious conflict, this moment is a time for people of faith to take extra care to strive courageously for peace,” Rankin said. “The Chaplain’s Office is committed to supporting all SMU students of any faith perspective, including (and particularly now) our university’s Muslim students. “
Rankin came to SMU in July 2009 from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, where he was the campus minister and the Kirk Chair Professor of Religious Studies. He received his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University, a Master of Divinity from Saint Paul School of Theology, a Master of Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Northwestern University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Rankin holds Elders Orders and full membership in the North Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.