Thursday, January 08, 2015

Je ne suis pas Charlie


"Je suis Charlie" -- "I am Charlie" -- is the phrase of the day, uttered by (if the media coverage is any indication) millions in solidarity with French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

I'm not going to join that phrasing, because to me it's not really about what we should be for, but rather what we should be against.

To put it a different way, I don't have to like Charlie Hebdo's content to be against the idea that it's OK to go around killing people you disagree with or whose writings or drawings offend you.

I've never read Charlie Hebdo and have only a vague idea of what kind of content is published in it. I know they've published content that's "offensive to Muslims." I also read that they've published content that's "offensive to Catholics."

I'm neither Muslim nor Catholic, but for all I know Charlie Hebdo has published content that, if I read it, would be offensive to me. It's very possible that if I read the publication I wouldn't like it. I might even actively dislike it.

But there is no "right to not be offended." And there's certainly no right to murder people who offend me.

I find the whole idea particularly weird when it comes to "Abrahamic" religions, especially Islam. You claim to have an omnipotent, omniscient deity who created everything and rules in all matters ... but he can't tend to business without you and your AK-47? He's so weak and disabled that he needs a caliphate or an al Qaeda cell to get the job done?

If you think so little of your deity, you really have no business accusing others of blasphemy for drawing "disrespectful" cartoons of his prophet. You're already far more disrespectful of said deity and prophet than a Charlie Hebdo writer or cartoonist ever dreamed of being.

Ditto Bill Donohoe and the Catholic League as linked above. His church, when it enjoyed sufficient temporal power to do so, lustily murdered any and all who "offended" it by daring to say or believe anything not approved of by its officials.

I'm not Charlie. I don't harbor any ambition to be Charlie. But I'll side with Charlie every time versus those who think their status as "the offended" entitles them to suppress "the offenders."

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