There is not much I can add to the discussion following the tragic events at Charlie Hebdo this morning, when three armed intruders murdered 12 people, included two police officers, at the offices of a satirical magazine in Paris, France.
Anyone who honors the twin freedoms of speech and religion knows that such freedom demands our tolerance of the viewpoints of others no matter how much we may disagree with them.
As my friend, Matt Davis, wrote: “Counter the opinions you find heinous with your reason, with your activism, with your persuasion, and not with your weaponry.”
Author Salman Rushdie, who has lived under a fatwa for his writings, issued the following statement:
Religion, a medieval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today.
I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.
‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion’. Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.
Our greatest weapons are our brains and our voices. Let us use them now.