Monday, 12 January 2015

I am not Charlie...



I've known Prince Charles-Philippe d'Orleans for a number of years now through the work of the Order of St Lazarus.  When he speaks of his Christian faith (as he often does in the Order)  it is always straight forward and powerful.  He's to be commended for not being caught up in some of the strange reaction to the Paris terrorist outrages.  Basically, because of the whole tone of the magazine, he has never been a supporter of it and isn't going to re-write history now. Certainly, the the "cartoons" I've seen don't appear to have been particularly clever or amusing, rather just offensive for the sake of it.  Basically, his attitude is:
To honour the victims - yes.  To honour the magazine - no.
You can read his statement on the Royal Family of France site. The site is in French but the online translation should give you the jist of it.

The modern world is very confused about freedom of speech and all our other freedoms.  Often its presented as the freedom to do whatever anyone pleases but this is never really the case.  

However, without a basic philosophy - which used to be the Christian Faith - the limits imposed on people's freedoms become arbitrary.  Thus, there is no freedom for a devout Catholic (or a devout Muslim or a devout Jew) not to have their deeply cherished beliefs viciously ridiculed for no reason whatsoever.

There is no freedom for Muslim women to wear the burqua in France.  

There is freedom in this country to terminate an unwanted child more or less on demand; while there is no freedom for midwives to continue working in their jobs  in the NHS without being involved in abortions. (a freedom promised them when the abortion act was introduced). To say nothing of the curtailment of the freedom to actually be born and live for those unwanted in the womb.

So, like Prince Charles-Philippe, I'm uncertain what freedoms are being called for by some of the reaction in France and elsewhere.

7 comments:

Jim Pennington said...

Father,
Surely, what was denied the midwives was their right to refuse to supervise abortions, rather than to refuse after-care to those who have had abortions?
I hope no midwife would wish to be excused from the latter.

Fr Simon Henry said...

You're right, Jim. Poorly worded on my part in this case.

Fr Simon Henry said...

I've amended that sentence.

David O'Neill said...

There has been some comments about censorship on various blogs since the Paris incidents. I don't have a problem with people speaking or publishing their thoughts but it cannot be at price of upsetting others whether they be Christian, Muslim or Jewish. But surely the best form of censorship has to be not supporting the offending publication!
Some of the cartoons in the magazine were certainly abhorrent to Muslims but they were equally (if not moreso) abhorrent to Christians & Catholivs in particular. But violence can never be countenanced as a response to such evil.
I cannot believe that these murderers were proper Muslims; in my opinion they are using Islam to hide their political agenda. Perhaps if Muslim courts & clerics were to condemn these people by telling them that such actions lead to Hell rather than Paradise some way forward might be found. I have seen several Muslim personages condemn the murders but that is a little like 1 priest speaking out instead of the Bishops' Conferences or the Pope.

Simon Platt said...

Dear Father,

Thank you for this post - as ever - but:

I agree with the broad thrust of what you have written here. But I am bothered by the implicit criticism of a society in which there is no freedom for a devout muslim not to have his "deeply cherished" beliefs ridiculed. It seems to me that the issue of whether or not beliefs are "cherished" is beside the point. Surely ours is a religion based on objective truth, and surely the fact that charity is so highly esteemed in the Christian religion cannot negate that objectivity. However moslems might subjectively feel is, surely, secondary to the truth that must be proclaimed - whether or not it will cause offence, which it surely will, to some.

In respect of "burqas": I think that hiding one's face behind a burqa or niqab should not be tolerated. There are signs that we can see in shops - including one just round the corner from my own house, if I remember correctly - that say "friend or foe - we don't know" and exhort the reader to remove any motorcycle helmet he may be wearing. The same should be said, with knobs on, to those who cover their faces for cultural reasons. But I have never yet seen a sign demanding that mohammedan women should show their faces. I wish I had seen such a sign. I wish I could see them everywhere there are mohammedans.

I shall go off now to try out my French at the site to which you link.

Je ne suis pas charlie, je suis Chrétien.

Fr Simon Henry said...

And I broadly agree with you, Simon. My point is that the secular list of "freedoms" is irrational, precisely because it is not rooted in traditional Christian values.

Kevin Jones said...

That is because is it rooted in political correctness alone and besides the nice Christians are unlikely to bat an eyelid at erosion of their "freedoms" let alone threaten or carry out violence.

The "freedoms" were designed to protect what were minority groups to deliver equality. Of course, the minority is heading towards being the majority and perhaps the protection should be afforded other groups to achieve that same equality.