It’s a bit of an odd world when, in the past few weeks, we’ve had some deep American need to “defend free speech” by going to see a very stupid movie about North Korea.
And now, it’s everyone claiming, “I am Charlie Hebdo” in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris on a satirical newspaper. We’re defending the right to “free speech,” which was all about offending Islam and other major religions.
David Brooks quickly reminds us that “free speech” may be a great idea for a French magazine, but it wouldn’t exist on most college campuses in America.
Islamic fundamentalists have severe reactions as well. Kill opposition. It’s a new Middle Ages the world has been plunged into: “I’m right. You’re wrong. Therefore, you must die.”
The Kingdom of God MUST be different. In every way.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21)
Christianity will continue to be ridiculed, just as Islam will be poked at. We must be different. We don’t firebomb newspaper offices or kill writers.
At the same time it is the harsh realization that Christians will suffer far more than just a stupid cartoon. It’s the crisis going on throughout the Middle East and some parts of Africa. They are simply killed and cleared out of villages.
It’s also important to note that we don’t overcome threats, real or perceived, by going to stupid movies or supporting poor speech. Free speech allows for poor speech, but that doesn’t mean you call free speech “good” speech. Satirists have a place in society, but as David Brooks points out, they don’t all get to sit at the “adult table.” Rejoice in free speech, but that doesn’t mean it’s “good” speech.
In the Kingdom of God, move toward “good” speech. Move toward blessing.
It is a more difficult way that must be empowered by the Spirit… but as believers in Christ, THAT is our call.