In light of what happened today in Paris – the systematic murder of several journalists, cartoonists, and satirists I want to point out that our freedom of expression will always be challenged by fundamentalists who embrace violence. We bring it on ourselves to some extent by allowing free expression. When I say that I do not mean we should totally restrain liberty but realize that there will always be consequences for liberty that is unrestrained – especially by those who hate it. James Madison once said,
“Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power.”
Civility brings with it a certain amount of restraint for the good of the whole human race. Fundamentalism tends to quash all dissent and disagreement which prompts those who love liberty to attack it with satire and comedy. The pen is mightier than the sword but not always mightier than an automatic weapon in the hands of a Muslim Fundamentalist or North Korean dictators for that matter. Carl Hiaasen wrote,
“Good satire comes from anger. It comes from a sense of injustice, that there are wrongs in the world that need to be fixed.”
We have peace to make but it must be made through strength not appeasement. That is good for all of us to remember. Spirituality is not the same as fundamentalism. It is recognizing that God loves all people. That was the message of Jesus of Nazareth who opposed the fundamentalism of his day as seen in the Pharisees. As Jesus said,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.'” Matthew 7
And what is it that “will”?
“(God) has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8