Theologian James Emery White questions whether many in America who so easily embraced the global outrage in the defense of freedom of expression as the result of the murderous attacks on the staff of Charlie Hebdo would be as quick to defend the rights of others to express moral standards different than their own.
In his blog post, "Are You Charlie?" White quotes Brian Pellot who reflected: "I do not consider myself racist, homophobic, Islamophobic or misogynistic. 'Being Charlie' doesn't mean being any of these things, despite what you think about the magazine's tact and tone. … As advocates for freedom of expression we must sometimes defend views we find repulsive. This doesn't require us to endorse them. In this case, we must protect what gunmen tried to kill, a satirical magazine some deem offensive. #JeSuisCharlie simply means, 'I defend freedom of expression.'"
White then responds: "Yes. But it's easy to side with such a sentiment when it comes to the exercise of free press in the face of senseless terrorism which seeks to silence it. It's not so easy when it comes to allowing people to live by convictional standards that seemingly draw into question your own." more >>
Despite widespread support from western journalists defending the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's right to offend after a terrorist attack on its Paris office left 12 people dead last Wednesday, a series of leaked emails between journalists at the Qatari-government run news outlet Al Jazeera has revealed a cultural rift between western staff and their Middle East counterparts about that support.
Reminding staff of their audience in the series of emails leaked to National Review Online, Salah-Aldeen Khadr, executive producer of Al Jazeera English, questioned whether the attack against the magazine was about free speech.
"You don't actually stick it to the terrorists by insulting the majority of Muslims by reproducing more cartoons — you actually entrench the very animosity and divisions these guys seek to sow," Khadr wrote. more >>
During the Jim Crow era, W.E.B Dubois critiqued the American system when he said, "A system cannot fail those it was never built to protect." One would think that Dubois' polemic would be anachronistic to today's America. Lately however, when viewing recent uses of prosecutorial discretion in the criminal justice system, more and more people of color are pondering whether Dubois' point jarringly lingers in today's legal system.
We obviously need our criminal justice system. If it disappeared today, we would see more clearly the important work that it does to protect citizens and to enforce important laws that help to maintain the level of civility that we have in our society. Yet, it also goes without saying that a good thing is not necessarily a perfect thing.
Given our progress over the past forty years, some Americans are comfortable with the status quo, while agreeing there remains continued systemic work to be done before arriving at our nation's promise of equality. Yet, seemingly disproportionate applications of the law leave many people, especially ethnic minorities (both conservatives and liberals), with their eye-brows raised. Some of them are quite angry but not sure of how to express their concerns. So they talk about it amongst themselves, in bars, barbershops, beauty salons, family gatherings, church gatherings, and parties. more >>
Pope Francis has said that his continued criticism of the global financial system is not because he supports Communism, but because of Jesus' call for Christians to serve the poor. The Vatican meanwhile is set to publish a report titled "This Economy Kills," highlighting the damage that the world economy brings to impoverished populations.
"Jesus affirms that you cannot serve two masters, God and wealth," Francis said Sunday in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa. "Is it pauperism? No, it is the Gospel."
"Jesus tells us that it is the 'protocol' on the basis of which we will be judged, it is what we read in Chapter 25 of Matthew: I had hunger, I had thirst, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me: dressed me, visited me, you took care of me." more >>
Dr. Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and president of The Urban Alternative, insists in a new book that blame for the social ills Americans are experiencing partly fall on the shoulders of Christians, who have compromised with the culture and helped marginalize God — therefore shutting out access to His transformational presence and power.
"America is in serious trouble," Evans writes in America: Turning a Nation to God. "From sea to shining sea we are witnessing the devolution of a nation."
Listing "family breakdowns to the immigration crisis to the abiding racial divide" as well as "the redefinition of marriage and the family, abortions on demand" as examples of the nation's "unraveling," Evans adds that "the American dream is quickly becoming the American nightmare" for those disillusioned with the country's direction. more >>
In the midst of the NFL playoffs, some churchgoers might find themselves in a quandary over whether to skip a worship service or watch their favorite football team still in the hunt, but a recently released survey shows that most churchgoers would rather attend worship service.
In a recent LifeWay Research study of a random sample of 2,000 Americans, with the survey conducted only on those who are Christians and attend religious service, more than 8 in 10 (83 percent) of the faithful disagree with the statement: "I would skip a weekly worship service in order to watch my favorite football team."
The survey of 994 churchgoers also showed that nearly 7 in 10 (68 percent) strongly disagree. Only about 1 in 7 churchgoers (15 percent) say they'd skip church in order to watch their favorite football team. more >>