I am trying to find the right balance for addressing the whole Charlie Hedbo massacre.
I am having to take people’s word for it that they have a history of racism, homophobia and sexism…since I do not read French? Their cartoons lack any context.
And yes, one can (and should) be able to hold their work to the light and determine if it is effective or not.
And yet…death is not a consequence of failed satire.
The cartoons they published were not worthy of mass murder. Not one cartoon. Not a hundred. Not a million.
The only acceptable consequence is critical examination.
One may find Charlie Hedbo’s satire wanting, but that is a crime unworthy of death.
And just as Charlie Hedbo is deserving of critical examination…so to is religion…from the polite religion of many to the violent ideology of a few.
Where is the line of not supporting Charlie Hedbo cartoons one finds offensive, but supporting their freedom? It seems more and more in this world, you are unable to offer critique without being accused of “against” the subject of critique…or critiquing the specific subject means you are really condemning other groups. If you’re critical of the cartoons published by Charlie Hedbo, you oppose free speech and are promoting censorship. If you condemn people acting out a violent ideology, no matter how specific you are, you somehow are condemning all members of a larger religious group.
People who bomb clinics and kill doctors who perform abortions are almost without fail conservative evangelical Christians. People understand that a condemnation of people killing doctors and blowing up clinics is not an indictment of all conservative evangelical Christians. Yet, I already see the talk turning to making sure people do not “blame Muslims.” And rightly, that needs to be a part of the conversation. Acknowledging that these radicals were not motivated by the same ideology of the overwhelming majority is an important distinction. But then, all criticism of violent extremist ideology is indicting all Muslims.
The ability to critique beliefs is what actually was being attacked. These guys were not defending their deity or prophet. They were denouncing being critically examined. And we should always stand against that.