As a writer, I completely support free press and free speech and individual human freedoms. As a human, I completely loathe the violation of dignity our free speech imposes on our fellow human beings.
Let me first say this: Murders for the sake of being offended will never be okay. It’s a despicable act and violence is never the answer. But this isn’t a battle against free speech. I don’t think this extremist group opposes free speech. I think this extremist group was offended by speech and took desperate action against it. The action is inexcusable, yes. Of course it is.
I’ll repeat it, so you know exactly how I feel. The murderous action is inexcusable.
But have we stopped to ask ourselves why this group was so offended? Have we asked ourselves why an act of terrorism was the last resort?
Going further, have we stopped to think about the other injustices being ignored? The injustices that happen everyday? Have we stopped to think about how free speech comes with the responsibility to love and honor your fellow humans? Have we stopped to think at all?
In a world that fights for free speech, it seems there aren’t many willing to listen. It seems that we support free speech so much, we forget that people are people and have feelings and souls. It seems we stop thinking about how our words might affect another person.
I love free speech. It allows me to have this blog and it allows me to use my voice.
I also love people. I read a few verses today, and while it can be found in the Christian Bible, I think should be applied to people of all faiths and backgrounds.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I hope that I continue to have free speech and that my words are never oppressed. I also hope that my words will only be beneficial to others and build them up rather than shred them of the dignity all humans deserve. I hope that my words will not harbor bitterness and that I will be kind and forgiving, even to enemies and extremist groups that disagree with and threaten everything I believe in.
I hope my words show love. I said before that with free speech comes responsibility.
My responsibility in having free speech and free press is to love. I’ve been told that “love” is just this hippie idea that isn’t actually attainable. With that attitude, of course it’s not. I like to believe that there is good in everyone, however, and that just one person choosing love over hate can change the world.
But don’t worry. I really get the other side of the argument too. The murders are an abomination to humanity and a horrible reaction to the situation. Being offended is no excuse to act out in violence. My Christian faith has obviously been ridiculed, and so has my gender. Sometimes jokes are funny. I probably shouldn’t laugh at them, but I do. Other times, jokes are incredibly offensive. But he response should be respectful of free speech and accept that in an imperfect world, ridicule is inevitable. This did not happen in France. It should’ve.
I think that both sides are to blame in some way or another. Taking the life of another is a degree above offending someone with words, but neither are ideal.
I could continue this conversation further, but I am exercising my right to withhold speech and allow you to do your own research. There are many things to consider as we process through injustices and I hope you’ll form your own intelligent opinions. But one thing is for sure. The response, with no exceptions, should always be love and forgiveness.
For further reading visit: http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/mourning-the-parisian-journalists-yet-noticing-the-hypocrisy/