On 7 January 2015 in the city of Paris, France, two gunmen entered the offices of a magazine and killed 12 people. Charlie Hebdo, a satire magazine known for sometimes taking their exercise of free expression to extremes, became another statistic in the “war on terrorism” that has been waging since long before 9/11. Many have made this tragic shooting into a discussion of religion (which it may well be), others have tried to claim that the shooters’ religious beliefs had nothing to do with their actions. Vox.com and others are making an attempt to say that the tragedy had nothing to do with the cartoons and other satire published by Charlie Hebdo. All over the interwebs, especially on social media, I have seen numerous postings by average people regarding this incident. Everything from outcries against Jihadists to victim blaming, from confused and terrified people to bored and I-don’t-give-a-damns (though if they are posting about it they obviously do care, or are trolls). What I see the most is people saying this tragic shooting of 12 people (including two police officers, one of which is said to have been Muslim, Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility) was an attack on the freedom of speech and freedom of expression that so many of us in Western culture hold as sacred. Continue reading
I’m cheating a bit this month. I also blog at the Wild Garden, the interfaith blog on the Pagan channel at Patheos.com and because I’m actually on vacation this weekend, I’ve decided to re-post my most recent article there on this site as well. Here’s an excerpt:
I think we’ve begun to lose the distinction between disagreement and discrimination. What I mean is this: just because I disagree with a law neither makes that law discriminatory toward me nor toward people like me. Noise ordinances, for example, are pretty commonly used in residential areas to help cut down on the decibels after a certain point in the evening. If you’re throwing a party, you might disagree with your neighbors if they call the cops on you, but your neighbors aren’t discriminating against you by trying to get you to lower the volume a bit.
Sound intriguing? Check out the full post here and we’ll be back with our normal, long-form articles next weekend!