Are YOU Charlie?
Mark DanielsMark Daniels's Weblog
- 2015 Jan 12
The images were unprecedented: the Israeli prime minister and Palestinian president, bookending a line of world leaders--arm in arm--marching alongside Parisians in defiance of last week’s series of murderous terrorist attacks. The popular expression on social media and TV awards shows has been Je suis Charlie: “I am Charlie.” Is it too radical to proclaim that, indeed, I…am not?
Don't get me wrong. I stand united with those who oppose violence motivated by Islamic extremism. I am in solidarity with those espousing free speech and a free press. I mourn the senseless loss of life. But I can’t "become" one of those who mock others and what they believe, purely for the sport of it. Such has often the case with the French publication, Charlie Hebdo.
If there can be proved an altruistic motivation for satire, then, I espouse its use to break down walls and demonstrate the absurdity of the moment. But should Jesus-followers personally identify with a publication that regularly mocks any and every religion, including Christianity? I can (and do) respect the price paid by those who were killed and injured at the French magazine, but cannot align myself with their worldview. Why is it so easy for Americans to rally around the freedom of expression against religion overseas, but too difficult to fight for the freedom of expression of high school students that want to pray at graduation ceremonies here at home?
The Bible says to fix our thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable; think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.1 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.2 Whether it’s an outrageous cartoon, scandalous film, or insulting TV skit, Christians should find no connection with that which tears down, rather than builds up.
In this cynical age, it’s far easier to be outrageous and provocative than respectful and uplifting. It’s much more difficult get a laugh, or make a point, without doing so at the expense of others. But it’s always well worth the effort.
1Philippians 4:8 NLT
2Ephesians 5:4 NIV