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Showing posts from January, 2015

A Biblical Response to Freedom of Speech

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It is one of the most precious rights in human history - the right to express your convictions by any means without restriction, recrimination and persecution. By it we can offer an opinion, call to account our elected leaders, have open honest debate, hold a minority opinion without fear, and preach the gospel. We call this ‘freedom of speech,’ first pioneered in modern times by the Americans and now enjoyed by democratic countries worldwide - to a point.
The massacre of the editor and cartoonists of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 brought the topic of free speech back into the public square. Bearing in mind that free speech has only existed for a short period in human history, it is good to outline a Biblical Christian response. What should our attitude be towards free speech?
Democracy & Free Speech
Consider the following:
Democracy: As Biblical Christians, we should always support the principle of democracy. It sure beats totalitarianism and tyranny.…

CHARLIE HEBDO & FREEDOM OF SPEECH PART 02

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‘Freedom of Speech Under Attack’ This has been the war cry of late, coming from at least two foreign sources. The first was in December 2014 when North Korea allegedly hacked the computers of Sony to prevent the screening of a movie called ‘The Interview,’ about the fictitious assassination of its leader Kim Jung Un. Cinemas which hosted the film were threatened with terrorism. The general screening was cancelled due to this threat and America said that ‘freedom of speech’ was attacked. The second was the massacre of the editor and cartoonists of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015. The murders were done by Islamic militants in reprisal for the front-cover displaying images of their prophet Muhammad. Four days later, 1.5 million people and 40 heads of state marched in Paris to stand up against terrorism and for freedom of speech. Any objective observer of the Charlie Hebdo magazine covers will have to agree that when it came to religious images, be they of Mu…

CHARLIE HEBDO & FREEDOM OF SPEECH PART 01

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The huge Paris solidarity march, which included 40 world leaders, is over. The victims of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine massacre have been buried. The dust is beginning to settle on one of the most traumatic recent events on French soil. It is time to sit back and reflect on the issues, particularly  ‘freedom of speech.’
For most people, the attack on the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist was made against ‘freedom of speech’ and the catch cry Je suis Charlie (I am Charlie) is a note of solidarity and defiance against the forces of intimidation and violence that seek to silence.
Some other statements that have come out since the January 7th massacre include:
This attack had nothing to do with Islam.The attack on the kosher grocery store in East Paris was not anti-semitic, because it was not a Jewish neighbourhood and Muslims shop there (never mind that the 4 hostages were Jewish). CNN expressed this skepticism. •Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians helped spawn the Paris attack;The att…

France’s September 11th

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It was all over in just 5 minutes. Five terrifying, violent, blood-stained minutes.
On Wednesday, 7 January 2015, at around 11:25 AM, three black clad and masked gunman stormed into the editorial room of the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during a meeting. It was perfect timing because the key people of the newspaper, many of them prominent cartoonists, were all gathered together in one place. With calm, military precision, and speaking perfect unaccented French, they called the various victims by name before gunning them down in cold-blood.
Unlike botched and amateurish jihadist operations in the past, like Richard Reid the ‘shoe-bomber’ (2001) or Omar Farouq Abdul Muttalib, the ‘underwear bomber’ (2009), this one was well-planned. A former US lieutenant-colonel Tony Shaffer who worked with special forces in Afghanistan had this to say about the Charlie Hebdo gunman: ‘They were very professional, very organized. It was well-timed. You can’t pull off something like this without …

What’s Going On ‘Down Under?’

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We were told that it ‘might’ happen. 

Then we were told that it ‘could’ happen.
Then we were told it ‘would’ happen.
And, in the end of 2014, it finally ‘did’ happen.
The ‘it’ was an act or acts of terrorism on Australian soil in the 21st Century. We have been on stand-by for such an event ever since 9/11 and Australia’s entry into the ‘war on terror.’
The build-up to the terrorist act in 2014 has taken a while but it began to unravel very quickly. For a country who has been normally far apart from the global trouble, Australia has had its fair share of drama lately. Consider the following events in just since September 2014:
•Australian police conducted early-morning counter-terrorism raids in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne;
•Prime Minister Tony Abbott committed 600 troops to a 40 nation US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS). In return, IS has urged its supporters to kill civilians and soldiers of these nations.
•For the first time since 2002, Australia raised its terrorism alert…