Friday, January 16, 2015

Je ne suis pas "Charlie"--I do not insult other people's religion, beliefs, or God

While I was in Montana last week I missed a lot of news or got just bits and pieces of it. By the time I started paying attention again to the news I saw an image of many world leaders linking arms under the banner "Je Suis Charlie!" That French phrase means "I am Charlie," and refers to the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

I would have mourned the terrible tragedy of the murders of the staff members of this magazine, and I decry attempts to destroy the human right of free speech. But I would not have linked arms under the banner of "Je Suis Charlie!" I declare, "Je ne suis pas Charlie!" because I am not Charlie--I don't believe in mocking people and their religious values, faith, or God. That is what Charlie Hebdo did on a consistent basis.

I am with Pope Francis on this when he stated, "You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.” He remarked that there would be pushback if this were to happen--it should come as no surprise. The Independent (a newspaper from the United Kingdom) writes, "He [the Pope] said that freedom of speech and expression are fundamental human rights however he added that he believes there should be limits to offending and ridiculing the faiths and beliefs of others."

This is exactly what I  believe. I am glad President Obama did not join hands in Paris with these other leaders. The photo above of world leaders only served to raise these murders to much larger acts of civilizational war than they deserve to be. "Je ne suis pas Charlie!" I am not Charlie Hebdo!

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