Je suis Charlie
Febuary 02, 2015


JE SUIS CHARLIE

The latest murderous atrocity carried out last week, in France, in the name of  has shocked and disgusted most of the world. Over three and a half million people marched throughout France to show their opposition to religious terrorism and their support for the right for freedom of speech in society, even if such freedom of speech causes offence or is judged by some to be blasphemous.

Unsurprisingly political heads from many countries, including Britain, rushed to Paris to be seen to be at the forefront of this political demonstration.   Others who could not attend sent messages of condolence and support.

Those who are of a more cynical outlook might suggest that the presence of many foreign political leaders was nothing more than an exercise of political piggy-backing, using this atrocity to promote their own political standing and that of the particular party they represented.   One wonders at the presence of the Russian foreign minister’s presence at such a rally when his own government  represses free speech in Russia!  The Saudi government made a statement condemning the killings as a “cowardly terrorist attack.” Yet at the same time condemned Raif Badawi, a young Saudi blogger, to 1,000 lashes, ten years in prison and a fine of £175,000 for ‘insulting Islam’

The Paris murders have brought the question of Freedom of speech very much to the forefront of people’s thinking in the past week. Should journalists, cartoonists, comedians and others be given the freedom to ridicule, mock and satirize the religious beliefs of others in such a way as to cause offence? 

As a Christian I do not like and am often offended by the way Jesus is often satirized in media publications, on television programs and in movies (The Life of Brian being one example).  However as a Christian I am not going to (and I do not know of any others Christians who would) go out with an AK47 and murder those whom I deem to be guilty of blasphemy.  My God is big enough to take care of himself! He doesn’t need me or any other Christian to execute divine vengeance on those who commit such blasphemy. In his own time and in his own way God will deal with each and every unrepentant person who has been guilty of such sin. 

People have the right to think, speak and act as they choose and civil legislation cannot and will not ultimately stop people expressing their views. I might regard those views as being blasphemous and I might be offended by such views but I do not have any right to murder someone or even to physically attack someone whose views I find offensive.  If people choose to blaspheme the one true God they will, one day, be held to account for doing so.  Exodus 20v7  “you shall not take the name the LORD you God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”       2 Corinthians 5v10 “for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one might what is due for what he has done in the body whether good or evil.” 

Freedom of speech?  Yes.  But remember “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.”  Matthew 12v36

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