“Je Suis Charlie” absolutely not

001Dear Friends for Life:   During the past few weeks, we have been bombarded with news following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. The focus has been centered on the “freedom of the press”. Majority of people do not sanction the actions of the terrorists. They have been universally condemned and rightly so.

The source and cause of this particular escalation focuses on the meaning of “Press Freedom”. Does “Absolute Press Freedom” imply an imaginary freedom that really does not exist in reality? Is this really 6922226-freedom-of-speech-concept-in-the-free-world“absolute” as the press would lead us to believe? Does the press have the right to create news rather than report it? (eg. female terrorist in the supermarket when she wasn’t even in the country) Degrade human beings, their values, their life, their sacred beliefs? (eg. Charlie Hebdo cartoons) Is there such a thing as “complete FREEDOM of the press” without any “limitations”?

“Press freedom” is protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.” 002Again: is this freedom “absolute” and without any “borders”?

The Business Dictionary defines “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION” as the “Right to express one’s ideas and opinions freely through speech, writing, and other forms of communication but without deliberately causing harm to others’ character and/or reputation by false or misleading statements.”

Wikipedia adds: The term “offense principle” is also used to expand the range of free speech limitations to prohibit forms of expression where they are considered offensive to society, special interest groups or individuals.

Pope Francis defends the “freedom of expression”. “I think freedom of religion and freedom of 005expression are both fundamental human rights,” he said, according to Reuters. BUT he strongly insists that there are limits when it comes to insulting faith and religion.

“Every religion has its dignity, One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”

In brief, I believe that the expression Je Suis Charlie makes matters worse, because it fails to address the urgent cultural and political problems that led to the massacre. The magazine’s 35398753-brand-new-unused-color-pencils-in-a-circle--je-suis-charlie-pencil-and-charlie-stand-for-the-right-tpublication of controversial religious images is not a defense of the freedom of religion. It is an evil thorn in society degrading the very essence of a human being. There are always limits to what can be said, how, and in what context. To state publicly “Je Suis Charlie” implies identifying with the company and poking fun of religion. “Freedom of expression” absolutely. “Je Suis Charlie” absolutely not.

God Bless
Jerry Novotny, OMI


(The Difference is LIFE)  “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” – St. John Paul II


Websites by Fr. Jerry


Fr. Jerry’s Blog  (in English)

Japan-lifeissues.net (in Japanese)

Fr. Jerry’s Blog  (in Japanese)

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