Je ne suis pas Charlie

What’s the deal about Charlie Hebdo? Why does everybody identify with Charlie Hebdo declaring “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie)?

You know the story of how Muslim gunmen attacked the cartoonist paper Charlie Hebdo and killed many people. But why? It could be that the Muslims are too sensitive. But could it also be that Charlie Hebdo is too offensive and incendiary?

A certain lesbian artist depicted the Virgin Mary with obscene pictures, and splattered it with dung. I am not Catholic, but I think that is extremely offensive. I am not black, but I would object to degrading depictions of black people. I am not a Jew, but I would strongly disagree with anti-Semitic depictions. I am not a Muslim, but I believe some lines of decency should not be crossed.

I am not suggesting that it was right to shoot up Charlie Hebdo for their cartoons. But I wonder if people know what they are saying when they say, “Je suis Charlie.”

Freedom of speech is good. But when freedom of speech is a pretext to mock the things that are sacred to others, the freedom is abused. You have freedom to swing your arms but that freedom stops before it contacts my nose. Why should words be different? You have the freedom to express your views, but you cannot use that freedom to hurt others. Instead, Charlie Hebdo insists they can use pictures and words to hurt; and Muslims insist they can use guns to even the score.

When two enemies fight, it does not make one of them my friend. Thus we need to modify the adage to say: “My enemy’s enemy is not my friend.”

I am not Charlie. (Je ne suis pas Charlie). I never mock Muslims though I may not agree with them. God’s call to me towards the Muslims is to love them with the love of God in Jesus Christ. Mockery is perhaps the worst kind of hatred.  I do not hold on to the values of Charlie Hebdo. It is a haters’ magazine. The Bible calls Charlie Hebdo a “mocker” or a “scoffer.” They use humor to mock things that are sacred to some people. Today, they mock Islam. Tomorrow they mock you.

Perhaps one day, many people will say, “What was I thinking when I said, ‘Je suis Charlie’?”


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