“Nous Sommes Tous Charlie” (We Are All Charlie) reads the headline of “Liberation”, just one of the headlines of the French media today. In a way, we are. Those of us with any sense of humor at all. We are created in God’s image, and God definitely has a sense of humor (this I know. Of all the knowledge I have, I’m certain of relatively little – but I am certain of this – God has a sense of humor). Yet there are so many people out there who are determined to suck all the joy out of life.
And so we come to fundamentalists. Of any stripe, really. My father always used to say that the definition of a fundamentalist was no fun, a lot of damn, and very little mental. In this instance, considering the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, I would have to agree with my father. Fundamentalist zealots who think they understand their religion, but who instead have perverted their religion wreaked havoc in Paris because they were offended by cartoons. They wanted to avenge the prophet (or so they said). Consider that for a moment – they killed 12 people because they found some cartoons offensive.
This isn’t the Big Bad Oppressor kicking the oppressed when they’re down. This is a political satirical publication doing what they do – and making statements about great big things in the world. And sometimes people get offended. That happens. And the mature people in the world – those of us who are secure in our beliefs, those of us who can laugh at ourselves, we can choose to laugh or to, you know, not read it if it offends us. That’s always an option. Don’t buy it. The thing that ins’t an option – that would be killing people because you don’t like their sense of humor.
How small must someone’s life be to want to kill people over a cartoon? How small must someone’s life be to be unable to laugh? I know God has a sense of humor because I know God is so big. And because I live in the world. the world is ridiculous. And most people have a sense of humor. God must have a sense of humor. And God is a grown-up and can take some ribbing. And I suspect the the prophet Mohammed could hand some ribbing, too. I mean, of all the crap Mohammed had to deal with, I’d bet that some jokes were low on his priority list. A god who couldn’t take some ribbing would have to be, in the words of The Hulk, a puny god. And the prophet who couldn’t handle a joke would have to be a puny prophet.
Unfortunately, these puny misguided followers cannot simply be ignored, because they have become violent. They have sinned against God and humanity. Beyond the tragic loss of life, this is doubly sad. They have killed in the name of God, perverting their religion, perverting justice, perverting God’s will. For surely, God does not wish us to kill each other, certainly not because we don’t appreciate each other’s jokes. There is no joke here. This is in no way funny.
That’s all I’ve got. That’s my mite.