© 2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
I don’t normally write about politics, but this week is different. Born and raised in the USA, I have always been surrounded by people deeply committed to free speech. Truth, tempered with kindness and tact, is a fundament of my own writing. In this country, we count on our freedoms. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees us both freedom of religion and freedom of expression. As long as the free speech is not promoting terrorism, child pornography, and other destructive things, I think we should all say what we really think—ideally, tempered with an underlying intention of goodwill.
So recent attacks on a magazine office in Paris seemed like personal attacks on our way of life. There was no goodwill in this attack, or the attack the same day on the kosher shop in the outskirts of Paris. France is our friend. The French should be able to say what they think. Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical weekly magazine, somewhat parallel to our Mad Magazine. Days ago, their office was violently attacked, and twelve staff died. Al Quaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is claiming credit for the attack.
The threat or fear of violence should not become an excuse or justification for restricting freedom of speech.
~ Alan Dershowitz
Standing together for freedom of speech, many world leaders joined a peace march in Paris that millions attended. Standing strong for their right to continue speaking freely, Charlie Hebdo went on to publish their next issue, and all 3 million copies sold out. They printed 2 million more. Those are apparently selling out. The cover shows an image of Mohammed weeping. Al Quaida’s narrative is that France and the USA are both committed to the destruction of Islam. Nonviolent Muslims don’t believe that narrative and are trying to get out the word that they don’t support Al Quaida. CNN newsman Anderson Cooper said this week that the best thing Christians and Muslims can do to negate Al Quaida’s narrative is to demonstrate mutual friendship.
This morning, a delightful letter from Mark Baird, of Anthem, Arizona, was published by the Arizona Republic. Here is the complete letter, reprinted within the use guidelines of the Arizona Republic:
I wonder if I could get a clarification from S.J. Littleton, who in his Wednesday letter contended the staff at Charlie Hebdo had it coming. Does he apply the same standard to Christians as he does to Muslims? Is the predicate for justifiable assault the same for all religions?
I’ve always felt that the bar for admission to the civilized world should be set at the standard that your invisible, infinitely powerful man in the sky ought to have the power to take a joke, and doesn’t need to have you go out and kill on his behalf.
The precise fact that your beliefs compel you to act so violently with such little provocation is exactly what makes them worthy of being mocked.
If you don’t like that rule, don’t live in our society. Go back to your cave for a few centuries and let the rest of us enjoy the comforts of our modern world and the pleasure of being able to talk openly about our beliefs and occasionally laugh at each other’s absurdities.
~ Mark Baird
Mr. Baird and I share a view that God has a sense of humor. After all, who created laughter and puppies? Why do babies smile? I’ve never known anyone to lodge a protest against Mad Magazine. They and Saturday Night Live have been doing satire for decades, including religious satire, without violence. Can we all just lighten up a bit?
What do you say? Isn’t it still inherently good to speak your truth, aloud or in writing? Shouldn’t you be able to do that? Will you do that? I would like to know what you think.
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- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition(http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc ). Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com.
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