Je Suis Charlie ("I Am Charlie")
. . .

Warning: the video above contains some violence.

It’s likely that by now you know about the brutal killing of 12 people at the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo last week. The attack on the people, incited by the magazine’s publication of a satirical comic mocking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, has also been identified across the world as an attack on freedom of expression and “an attack on all journalists” (Wired). This, of course, is true. Violence committed in response to peaceful expression always places free speech among the victims.

However, there is much more at stake here than freedom. When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968, former President John F. Kennedy gave a speech on the “mindless menace of violence.” Pointing to the fact that violence against the speaker of an ideal almost never stops the belief in that ideal (if not causing more to believe). It is more likely an irrational act of revenge than a protection of the truth.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear; violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.” —JFK

I find it very interesting that President Kennedy called for a “cleaning of our whole society.” While this makes sense, who is to do the “cleaning”? As violence is only commonly considered permissible when in response to malicious violence (as with war or self-defense) — does Kennedy call for violence? I think not. Kennedy calls for God.

To murder another human being is to assume absolute authority over their life and death. In other words, to murder another human being is to elevate oneself to the position of God. This is morally and legally impermissible because allowing anyone that authority is wrong, untrue, and dangerous. I do not even have the power over my own life and death, let alone that of another.

Where free speech is at stake, truth is at stake. Where life is at stake, the soul is at stake (for the victim and the aggressor).

Let us pray for the families of the victims and the perpetrators and ask God Almighty to remove this sickness from our souls — the sickness of sin.

  • Are you willing to die rather than kill for your beliefs?
  • How aware are you of your own sin and need for forgiveness?
  • What do you attempt to control in your life that you really have no power over?
  • How will you trust God to bring justice and forgiveness?