I am not Charlie.
I have been uncertain about writing that phrase ever since it came to my mind just hours after Wednesday’s horrific murder of twelve satirists in Paris.
I fear I may be opening myself to attack from friends and acquaintances – potentially from all sorts of strangers on the globe-circling Internet.
But it is the truth. I am not anything like Charlie Hebdo.
I do not ridicule or insult others’ heartfelt beliefs. I would no more draw Mohammed with his genitals hanging out than I would paint Jesus having sex with Mary Magdelen or a Jewish man with a humpback and an exaggerated hook nose (as the Nazis did).
I believe in building bridges between people, not throwing up unnecessary walls.
On the other hand, my faith rests not only in freedom of speech but also in the sanctity of expressing differing, even diametrically opposing opinions and ideas. Without that essential debate, our lauded freedoms are built on hollow ground.Read More