In my last post, I promised to deliver something about how one might choose a proper Bible. Well, the post has already been written; but, this Charlie Hebdo massacre caught my attention and I am led to address it. The other post will have to wait until next week.
On January 8th, Muslim extremists broke into the offices of a French magazine called Charlie Hebdo. Four “journalists” were attacked and killed. The press went nuts. How dare Muslim extremists harm journalists? Meanwhile, Boko Haram in Nigeria is busy slaughtering and raping hundreds at a time in Nigeria. Yet, there is hardly a peep from the press and no response from governments around the world. It doesn’t make much sense to me; and, I hope it doesn’t make much sense to you either. I guess that’s my rant for the week.
The real reason for this post is the way in which people responded to the whole Charlie Hebdo event. Flowers were laid at the site as a shrine to those who lost their lives. People were inclined to make a buck selling t-shirts that said “I am Charlie.” Government leaders flocked to the scene (except notably from the United States) to express their outrage at the incident.Outrage should be the proper response. It is outrageous that Muslims were offended by the publication. If you are not familiar with Charlie Hebdo, you can find the article in BBC News here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-15551998. Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine that manages to offend just about everyone. Their so-called “journalists” are hack artists. They take a special pride in attacking religion in general. “Charlie” seems to like offending Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. They even take shots at atheists. Generally speaking, they hate everyone. If you read the article in the link above, there are lots of examples of the hate they spew. Are they journalists? I think not! The thought of it makes me nauseous!
So what is the Christian response to the Charlie Hebdo incident supposed to be? Well… you know… other than complete and utter disgust? We might say “Well, they poked the bear and deserved what they got.” Wrong answer! No one deserves to be murdered for holding an opinion (albeit a sick one). In the last paragraph I stated “It is outrageous that Muslims were offended by the publication.” I meant that. Yes, Muslims don’t have the same theology I do. But, as a Christian, that doesn’t give me or anyone else a right to offend anyone…. period. Biblically, when I have offended someone, I have made a judgment on another that has caused them to perceive an offense. In the Beatitudes in Matthew Chapter 7, Jesus addresses this when he says: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Without listing them all, Proverbs is full of good advice about how to treat others without offending them. Jesus was pretty good at it telling it like it is as well! Again, in the Beattitudes, Jesus puts it this way: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Mt 5:43–48 (NIV84). Therefore, the Christian’s response to others should not be a one of judgment; but rather, perfect love.
Charlie Hebdo is obviously not a Christian publication. (or anything else for that matter). However, that is not the way a Muslim might see it. Rather, they saw the article as representing a group of infidels. Infidels are a grouping in which Christians, Jews, and anyone else not Muslim have been assigned. These infidels bashed the prophet Mohammed. Basically, Charlie Hebdo offended them! They might as well have told some woman that her baby was ugly. (I don’t recommend EVER doing this!). By default, Muslims are seeing all this hatred coming from a predominantly non-Muslim country. Soooo…. Guess who gets the blame? Guilt by proxy! We’ve got a lot to overcome.
I certainly can’t agree with the radical Muslims who chose to murder another human being. I deliberately did not say “innocent human beings.” Charlie Hebdo was cranking out hate. I certainly don’t agree with them either. Sadly, there was no real innocent party to this tragedy.
I suggest that the Christian response to this matter should be prayer. Pray for peace. Pray that the writers and editors of Charlie Hebdo will see the error of their ways. Pray that Muslims will come to see Jesus and real Christians as they are and not as they are imagined. Pray that Christians will learn to be better neighbors who are more able to be better witnesses for Christ. Pray for those that persecute you that we might be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect!
I am NOT Charlie!
Yours In Christ,
©2015 Casey O.Hooper
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