Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie

The attack on the Charlie Hebdo office, by fanatic Muslims in Paris this week, rekindled briefly in me the transient emotions and impulses of a hack journalist. It was news, but more than that, the attack was on “us.” Something must be done, written, delivered, whatever – right away! Even before thinking.

In the offices of the satirical magazine itself, this response was muted. (I have put it the way their writers might have done.) Prominent staff, including the celebrated editor and four famous cartoonists, were all dead. But outside, tens of thousands filled the streets with “Je suis Charlie” [“I am Charlie”] signs, and other indications of passing solidarity.

So far as I can see, the fanatics scored their trifecta. Men they considered blasphemers were executed. All France stopped to consider the deed. And Muslims far beyond were cast as pariahs. All of these effects were intended.

Psychopaths they might be, but as anyone who has viewed the brief video clips of gunfire should have noticed, the assailants were well trained. This was not a “copy cat” operation, as other recent hits in France, when, e.g., unhinged Muslims drove cars into crowds.

The operation was well planned, disciplined, and an indication of what can be expected in future, as seasoned killers from “the caliphate” in Syria and Iraq return to their homes in Europe and America. They are ruthless, and they know we are not. This gives them an advantage beyond the choice of weapons.

A great deal of blather has been expended on “the defense of our values.” This plays right into the fanatics’ hands, for they know we don’t have any. They want to accentuate the contrast between believers and unbelievers; they want to persuade their fellow Muslims, especially the young, that blasphemy is our only defense, and that it can be defeated.

They want young Muslims, settled in the West, to feel isolated, too: to raise the stakes for them. They want to lead the police who pursue them right into the heart of the Muslim ghetto, where they will find themselves extremely unwelcome.

In France and around the world, moderate Muslim organizations, which plead for “live and let live,” were quick to condemn the attacks. They have learnt to be very quick about it. As well, they have learnt not to be ambiguous in their condemnations. If they happened to think Charlie Hebdo a tasteless magazine, that often and crassly mocked their Prophet, now was not the time to discuss it.

But this, too, has become an intended effect of violent attacks: to embarrass the “moderates.” The message to the young with testosterone is: “We get results, they get nothing.”

Perhaps the most discouraging thing, in our inaptly captioned “war on terror,” is the response that can be elicited from the West’s real fools: those who say “this is not about Islam,” when even they know perfectly well it is about Islam and nothing else.

Assassinated editor Stéphane Charbonnier in 2011. In the cover cartoon Mohammad says: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”
Assassinated editor Stéphane Charbonnier in 2011. In the cover cartoon Mohammad says: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”

By now, the politically correct allow no captions at all. They are trapped because they have no positive values to defend, and thus no way to understand the people who intend to annihilate them. They come pre-annihilated, and the Muslim fanatics know this, too. Indeed, they know far more about us than we know about them, thanks to our willful blindness.

Instead of positive, Christian values, which answer to the Muslim ones at every point (whether in agreement or disagreement), we now present a nothing. Our “freedom” is articulated in purely negative terms, as human “rights” to indulge any form of license, “so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody” in a narrowly immediate, material way.

Consider, for instance, a cover from Charlie Hebdo in 2010. The cartoon depicts Pope Benedict, holding a condom aloft and declaring, Ceci est mon corps. (“This is my body.”) It was typical of the magazine’s efforts to shock. It was a nice try. But it fell short of blasphemy because, in the modern West, blasphemy simply cannot be achieved.

We have no God who could be blasphemed, except to that minority which remains Christian, who for the most part understand that one has to be Christian in order to blaspheme.

When the French president, François Hollande, went round to the Charlie Hebdo office, after the massacre, all he could deliver was a bundle of clichés. It was like a social call, on the dead.

One may say, airily, that the free press can never be silenced; but it can, and it was, as events had just shown. It is also quite willing to silence itself, as we saw from the many media outlets which carefully pixelated Charlie Hebdo cartoons that “might be offensive to Muslims.”

Except when following a mob, the “free press” is usually gutless. My one (and only) reason for admiring the late editors and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo is that they weren’t cowards. They actually said, “you’ll have to kill us to shut us up,” and meant it. Their defiance of Muslim fanatics redoubled, after their office was firebombed in 2011.

In this, they set an example for us. And here I am thinking of us Catholics.

Islam is a positive force. Its followers believe things, and many will fight for them. The fanatics may be twisted, but their cause that is not selfishly personal. They fully intend to conquer Europe – unfinished business from the Seventh Century – and their tactics and strategy are hardly counter-productive.

With each new strike they win more deference, and inspire more support among young Muslims. Each punch they land sounds the hollow in the decadent Western chest. We will not even acknowledge that we are at war, so complete is our surrender.

But the real battle, as they understand, is not Islam versus an empty licentiousness. That is too easily won. It is instead Christ versus Mohammad: the only battle in which they can be thrown onto the defensive; in which their own children can be turned against them.

David Warren

David Warren

David Warren is a former editor of the Idler magazine and columnist in Canadian newspapers. He has extensive experience in the Near and Far East. His blog, Essays in Idleness, is now to be found at:

  • Noah_Vaile

    Very well stated.
    Ethically we are the empty suit.
    Great article.

  • DeaconEdPeitler

    Yes, Europe and America in our non-Christian state are defenseless. Christian society has all but completely unraveled. All we have left are our technological toys and our individualism. It’s simply not enough. We’re as if in a trance – contemplating our navel as we glance down at our iphone.

  • torydem

    The current situation resembles the 1930’s. The appeasers of the 1930’s are the politically correct of today. As the author says, they have nothing to defend.

  • Joyfully

    A few weeks ago the Mohammadean’s killed 135 children and teachers in Pakistan. That is a display of the depths of demonic psychotic action they are willing to take to make their point: there is nothing in the God-made world held to be more sacred than the immaterial lies of the ranting, dehydrated, false desert prophet Mohammad.

    I can not imagine Christians (by this I will collect everyone non-Muslim, even Commies, and Hindus, we are all “kafir” to the Islamists) slaughtering children (abortion, i know, i know…) with such an aim as their’s: death is better than education. Thanks be to God.

    If adults are fair game in the killing fields, we will find ourselves with angry orphans that grow up to become violent jihadi’s.

    There needs to be multinational exposure of the fraudulent Mohammad’s actual words. Exposure of what is being “prayed” five times a day (Catholic Mass is telecast every day). Exposure of the lack of central authority.

    If an angel did actually speak to Moe in the desert it was surly a fallen angel doing Lucifer’s bidding and that, too, needs to be exposed. We have turned angels in to cute little girls and have striped them of their efficacy (in our lives, not in Truth).

    St. Michael, pray (and slay) for us. God’s mercy on us all.

    • Nicolas

      People who killed 135 children in Pakistan isn t Mohammadean s, they are psichopaths. In every state in our world you can find psichopaths who love to kill and mutilate other people and who love war because in that situation they be allowed to act like they arepsychopaths.
      They aren t violent because they are islamists the situation is reversed, islam and the “holy war” are an excuses for them to be violent and to take Rich sources of oil in iraq. Except that they can behave like psychopaths they can get rich. The third reason why people became terrorists and warriors of ISIL is that the Americans and most of Western world made various intentional and untinentional crimes in Iraq, killing innocent civilians in 2001 and in 2003.
      Now, there are a lot of terrorists and Isil warriors who have lost a family member in the NATO aggression, and when they ask why it had to be, the answer is: because Americans politicians and businessmen want to stole oil from Mesopotamia,that there is abundant. They are furious and they want revenge. That is the realy 3 reasons why people became terrorists and warriors of ISIL.

  • Bonjour mes amis

    Vous avez raison <>

    • TelUK

      Oui, c’est la verite!

      • kilbirt42

        Ou sont les neiges d’antan?

  • usnavcad1351

    Walk into a certain”Grade school” during the nineteen 30s and early 1940s. In retrospect, what a fantastic beginning for learning and beginning life. Thirty nuns of a given “Order”. Sixteen classrooms of grades one thru eight. No condoms, no cucumbers, homosexual and/or queer was left for discussions in high school and only formally, if at all by teachers, but on the playground, out of the classroom by students themselves, guys knew it was wrong to be queer/homo/etc. as well as wrong to steal, and “bad” thoughts were very definitely brought to the confessional on Saturday afternoon where the line was at least twenty people on each side in four confessionals.
    Now! The “New Liberty” of life and living will come at me and profoundly question, “Who in the h– are you to make such a comparison? We won WWII and the excellent foundation, beginning tool for doing so was in the minds and ability of those early learners who made it happen. Wow what competition throughout the classroom! The boys against each other! Who was best in math? The boys against the girls! Anita U and Bobbie S and I were always on the front edge and HIGHLY COMPETETIVE! in math.
    In a classroom today where my grandson attended, ten years ago, he with an I.Q. of (you wouldn’t believe it) was seated in a “groupie” round table of five others. His ability was brought to bear. Of course, no one excelled, not even he—–. Later he made up for the loss!
    So with the evil that we voted into The White House and with the penalties imposed on many of our most positive blessings it is most interesting thought as to what we are leaving for the next generation. WOW! And this is just the beginning of what could be a lengthy discussion of those things that we most profoundly hold near and dear———————

  • John II

    Yes, humorless Islam responds to tasteless Western satire with violence and murder.

    But Islam also responds to Regensburg with . . . violence and murder.

    The fanatic is by definition a person who rejects argument, with an unwarranted certainty that he has a corner on truth. But the soft skeptic also rejects argument, with an inconsistent certainty that truth is unattainable. That seems to me to explain the common ground shared by Western skeptics and Islamic fanatics–and the unrequited accommodation and warmth extended by Western skeptics to Islam.

    But the soft nihilism of the secular West is no match for the hard nihilism of Islam.

    • Richardson McPhillips

      The fanatic – like the insane person – is not necessarily irrational. AT least this is something I take from the article. The people doing these things or rather the people arranging that these things be done are coldly and strategically rational, given their starting point that Islam will win at any cost.

    • ForChristAlone

      “But the soft nihilism of the secular West is no match for the hard nihilism of Islam.”

      Most quotable of the day!

    • Mariusz

      “Nihilistic” means” without values”. How is then Islam nihilistic?

    • Merkava

      Pass gas outside a Mosque, and you will be subjectto “violence and murder.”
      Muhammed was heavily into violence and murder.

  • Howard Kainz

    We have reached the “catch 22” of religion — a religion that is hell bent on exterminating all other religions by sword or by stealth. To tolerate them is to sign your religious death warrant.

  • Alley Upta

    But of course your liberal would say that it isn’t true that we do not have values. We, the West, he would argue, no longer privilege the substance of belief, but the act of believing. Or rather, since one cannot wholly abolish the objective element in believing, one may say that we believe in the freedom to believe and practice what one chooses to believe, and the only belief that will not be tolerated is the belief that that freedom should be denied to others. The important thing is not what one is free for, but that one is free for it: not “Christ versus Mohammad”, but “Christ and Mohammad.”

  • Thomas Sharpe

    “It is instead Christ versus Mohammad: the only battle in which they can
    be thrown onto the defensive; in which their own children can be turned
    against them.”
    – interestingly that appears to be only possible in the West, where Muslims now live with Christians, as attempting conversions in Muslim lands would land a person in jail or a public execution. The West must convert Muslims who in the Providence of God are now living in their lands, but to do that, we must rediscover who we are. Murders of innocent people are bad, but the murder of innocent people in the womb is worse, and so is hell.

    • Heartlander

      What a marvelous insight — they are living in our lands by God’s providence — and God is relying on us to evangelize them!! It is a difficult challenge — but I know in my heart that what you say is true. Here is a very good book to help us with that: The Challenge of Islam to Christians. I can recommend this one since I’ve read most of it. But if you go to Amazon and put “Christian response to Islam” in the search bar, you’ll see lots of titles to choose from.

      Let’s get busy!

  • sandark

    Charlie Hebdo fired Maurice Sinet for anti-antisemitism – how do you like your french fries with a side-dish of hypocrisy

  • ferritte2 .

    Great article…

  • RainingAgain

    Instead of printing cartoons of Mohammed, why do our journalists not print his words? Let everyone who wishes to read it (and admittedly, that might not be very many), learn of the little six-year-old wife aging Mohammed took for himself and kindly allowed to stay at her father’s house until she was all of nine. Let them learn, if they can anymore, of all the calls for murder, plundering and deceit. The Muslims could hardly call it blasphemy to quote from the words of their “Allah”.

    • Heartlander

      For some reason, I’m not able to edit my earlier comment, and I need to because it got messed up. The final few lines of it should read: I wish everyone would read Wilders’s book, Marked for Death. It is a great read, and among other things, you discover that the real Wilders — as opposed to the fanged, fire-breathing monster the media make him out to be — is consummately humane, decent and well-spoken.

  • Lee B

    Well said ! The only one who has a chance against this ideaology is Christ and His true followers. This comes down to the Cross and the crescent. We know that the Cross has already one, but their will be many casualties along the way.
    In JM+JT,
    Lee @

  • Here in Spain we now face the prospect of an irrational drift into the politics of extremism in 2015, with Podemos the Marxist party based on Venezuelan Chavism heading towards a majority in the polls. The danger is that the ineptitude of traditional politics will create a power vacuum that puts the entire society at the mercy of extremists. The question is already being asked, “How would Podemos handle a major Islamic terrorist incident…” Well it simply would not handle it. It would capitulate.

    • Spain gave mankind many glorious deeds but now the red tide is covering the land. The brave Spaniards have been turned into beggars of the state. How true was the saying of that wise soul: “España será católica o no será.” Yet another nation that fell victim of the venomous ideas of Liberalism.

  • pescher

    Huxley anticipated that we would become a society in which truth would be buried in a sea of irrelevance; that no one would have to ban books because we wouldn’t want to read them and that we would become a trivial culture preoccupied with something like the ‘feelies’ i.e. satisfied with sentiment; passive and with an appetite for distraction. I believe that if he could see the displays of “Je suis Charlie”; the defiant hands holding pens (which never wrote letters of concern for true rights to editors); arms outstretched holding candles( which provide no light for the mind) then he wouldn’t have been too surprised?

  • Tom Brennan

    I recently read Alistair Crooke’s excellent two-part series on ISIS and Wahhabism (google for “You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia” for part 1).
    Our enemy is not Islam at large, since that is such a variegated thing, it’s this particular strain which makes exclusive claims (must be their particular take on Islam, or you die).

    Borrowing from our extensive experience in apologetics, maybe the counter argument is to point out that Wahhabism is a “philosophy of man”, and we know the name of the particular man: Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism). What gave him the right or authority to say that Islam is to be understood in this murderously exclusive way?
    (Islam does suffer – badly – from a lack of authoritative center; witness the Shia-Sunni split. That does make it particularly hard for other imams to counter the Wahhabists – what standing do they have to speak against Abd al-Wahhab?).

    But – as per our “extensive experience in apologetics” – arguments alone won’t win the day, but they can establish grounds for conversation and, just maybe, captivate the elites.

  • pj

    David, I have to disagree with two points. First: ‘we don’t have any [values] … Our “freedom” is articulated in purely negative terms, as human “rights” to indulge any form of license, “so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody” in a narrowly immediate, material way.’ Or as commenter Alley Upta put it, ‘we believe in the freedom to believe and practice what one chooses to believe, and the only belief that will not be tolerated is the belief that that freedom should be denied to others.’

    No. A freedom opposed to all restriction is unstable and is not in fact what our secular Western elites desire. We see clearly from their actions that freedom is something they never accept. In the US, we went immediately from Jim Crow to prohibition of discrimination against blacks (the text of the law is neutral, but anti-white discrimination is never enforced) and mandatory affirmative action, without ever leaving people free to choose their own relationship partners. Today, we see that gay marriage is not enough, it is essential to make all Christians bow down before it, and we see in many states that Christian businesspeople have been fined for refusing to host gay wedding celebrations.

    Freedom of association is central to Christianity, as we are commanded to be the salt of the earth by giving cooperation to the virtuous and refusing it to the vicious, thus encouraging the good and discouraging evil. And it is freedom of association that is always under attack, never permitted.

    In truth, today in the West it is only viciousness that is indulged and excused and allowed to be free; virtue is increasingly proscribed and punished. And the secular left invest great effort in suppressing challenges to their persecutions of virtue — refuting the assertion that they have no values. They have anti-Christian values, not null values.

    Christians have taken it for granted that freedom to be Christian has been won and does not need to be fought for; we are learning now that it will require a fight.

    In a perverse way, the Islamic extremists help us by exposing where loyalties truly lie. Our secular elites rely on a frog boiling in water strategy of gradual acclimation to ever-increasing suppression, suppression concealed by dishonest propaganda. No incremental change seems worth fighting for; they hope in the end that they will be so overwhelmingly powerful, and we so few, that we will not dare fight, or will lose if we try.

    But the challenge of Islamic extremists exposes the left’s unwillingness to take any steps to restrict Muslim liberty, and only minimal steps to resist Muslim murder, juxtaposed with the avidity with which they persecute peaceful Christians who wish to cooperate with virtue and disassociate themselves from viciousness.

    The world is going to make us fight for our lives and liberties. Not only against Muslim extremists, but against Western secular society itself.

    And this is the second point of disagreement with you: ‘the real battle … is Christ versus Mohammad’. No, it is Christ vs Satan. And Satan comes in many guises.

  • Thomas J. Hennigan

    You ascribe too mucho sophistication to the terrorists. They are simply taking Islam seriously which in numerous pasaages in the Qur´an and the Sunnah order precisely what they did. As for the notion that “Islam is a positive force”., it seems preposterous. What did Islam every achieve if not pillage, mass murder, genocide both of peoples and of Christian civilizaition, subjugation of others by the sword, etc. Did Islam ever convince anyone by reasoned argument to join it, or do they do so these days? It has been propagated exclusively by the sword, mass murder and pillage. As for reasoned argument, have a look at debates between muslim apologists and people like Robet Spencer and you will see that they only use logical fallacies and a few minutes into the debate they are on with red herings, petiti principii and shoot the mesenger or personal attacks etc. How could they have any rarional arguments when they believe in a totally arbitrary god who hates anyone who is unwilling to sumbit to mahomedan barbarity?

    Neither Pope Francis nor many bishops or those in charge of Interreligous dialogue in the Vatican seem to have any clear idea of what Islam is all about. Just read what he has to say about it in Evengelii Gaudium 252. Not so many of his predecessors such as Pope Urban II, Pope Pius II, Pope St.Pius Vi and Blessed Innocent XI among others.

    • Soliloquized

      After the initial shock, I didn’t construe “Positive Force” to be tantamount to benevolent. Positive force vs ineffectual. IMHO.

      There can be no doubt that adherents are motivated by a passion for Islamicism, regardless of how misguided, and in that sense, it’s a positive or dominant drive.

  • Bro_Ed

    I say, with respect, that I think your timing is off. This is a time to come together, mourn the dead, and pray for the living. The teaching moment comes later.

    • Sylvia

      Everyone is talking about the effect of this. No one is mourning the deaths but probably people who knew those that died. The movement is getting coverage because of Islam. The time to give perspective is when people are looking for it, not later when it’s been forgotten.

  • I think the “positive force” part was misunderstood by some. Islam is aiming at objectives such as submitting Europe while Europe now has no aims but NOT to be Christian, NOT to believe in God, NOT to be “fascist,” and several other “nots.”

    Charlie Hebdo was not even funny or ingeniously irreverent. He was just going for shocking value in the manner of the perennial adolescent intellectuals of Progressivism. His humor was a variant of the bodily secretion jokes of American teenagers of my time. He was the Alfred E. Neuman of the disingenuous European atheists in the same vein with Anatole France.

    If I was French I would not poke fund at beheadings of any kind, considering French history: it was not the Muslims who cut the head of Lavoisier, the brightest physicist in Europe at the time. That head was considerably more valuable than Hebdo’s. What happened at that office was business as usual among barbarians. I smile when I remember that I had to learn French in school from a book entitled Civilisation Française. The irony!

    • C.Caruana

      And remember those thousands of beheadings were perpetrated in the name of the sacred ‘secular’ trinity of ‘Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité’. 🙂

  • Soliloquized

    Hebdo, in it’s current state, in the aftermath of the heinous act of terrorism, is more problematic than while pumping out irreligious piffle. The image of the Pope with the condom Eucharist was offensive, but the Trinity, depicted by an unclothed Christ mounted to the rear of “The Father”, with an eye, centered in a triangle “The Holy Spirit”, and stuffed up the posterior of Christ, was way overboard.

    Society is apotheosizing a publication formerly marginalized due to its extremely juvenile nature, truly the material Hebdo produced was right from the fantasizing minds of pre to early adolescents. That Charbonnier, or others, may have yelled in acts of defiance may be more attributed to an intellect or mental process that never permitted them to fully grasp the significance of what they were doing, as evidenced by their work.

    Had Charbonnier been a Christian, rather than purportedly yelling one last act of defiance (is this true or an urban legend anyway) he may have realized though his time was up, he could have pleaded for the terrorists to spare more menial workers there, or with a little creative lying, pleaded to spare workers that were actually writers/cartoonists by saying they were menial workers.

    In his death, Charbonnier still remained the center of attention, and managed to take a cheap childish magazine and elevate it to the popularity of the Bible in the minds of far too many people. That we should deplore the acts of the terrorists is without doubt, but to affirm the publication by posting anywhere “Je Suis Charlie” is folly.

    Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie
    “I’m NOT Charlie”

  • Fr Eric

    Regensburg!! All need to read it, then GKC & Belloc on issue of Islam and West. Our substance must be faith and reason residing in th Catholic tradition. Regarding “civilizations crumbling,” read Peter Brown’s Through the Eye of a Needle.

  • Sylvia

    Christians aren’t minority in the West…

    • Pedro Tondo

      Faithful Christians are a minority in the West indeed.

      • John Byde

        They always have been

    • But somehow satan has managed to gather millions across the globe to support the right to blaspheme anything others hold sacred. That is a first step towards turning crowds of ordinary citizens against anything sacred to anyone. Charlie Hebdo did not have to be killed for his actions but his actions were despicable anyway, deserving of condemnation but somehow the condemnation is now directed against the victims of his repulsive humor. I am not sure but I think we crossed a line here and it seems to me the EU is in for a “fast and furious” 2015.

    • pj

      Real, serious Christians are.

  • GrahamUSA

    At the recent Consumer Electronics Show the CEO of Ford said that the company wasn’t in the car business but in the business of making a “better world.” That last mostly undefined except to exclude of course the metaphysical, the sacred, moral specificity etc… The CEO like most of the American Establishment has no values to express beyond “inclusion” and “diversity” and whatever is next in the banal and emotional world of activism. In a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal police commissioner William Bratton made the explicit point that the broken windows approach to policing was definitely not an intentional realization of “middle class values.” And there we have it. Thank you Mr. Warren for concise summary of where we are in America in 2015.

  • Ray Ingles

    We only consider it absolute when it concerns blasphemy against any and all Gods, but we hedge and try to limit it with inquisitorial rigour when our all too sacred cows, such as racism, homosexuality, gender ideology are questioned.

    Freedom to speak isn’t the same as freedom from the consequences of speech. It’s the difference in consequence that you’re missing. Many people decry racism, or anti-homosexual, or whatever, speech. But people who rail against ‘sodomites’, say, seldom get killed. Saying Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons were vulgar, juvenile, and lacked creativity is just fine. Shooting or firebombing them is not. Comparing being called ‘homophobic’ to being shot is no comparison.

    Warren misses this, too. He seems to think those who oppose racism or discrimination against homosexuals are weak because they don’t resort to violence against those who advocate “traditional” positions. Just because he doesn’t comprehend their positive values doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    • C.Caruana

      Please give us some credit for having a minimum of intelligence. We never meant to compare, much less eqiparate ‘being called ‘homophobic’ to being shot’. You conveniently ‘missed’ my phrase ‘more ‘civil’ form of persecution’ and even a seasoned liberal cannot mistake that increasingly widespread form of persecution by mendaciously remaming it ‘decry’.

      In so called liberal societies people who merely stated their traditional Christian moral beliefs have been taken to court, accused of hate speech, fined, sometimes even given prison sentences, not to mention losing their reputation and job, while being sysrematically excluded from positions of influence and power.
      And you have completely missed the main drift of Warren’s argument. The weakness he is describing has nothing to do with the refusal to resort to violence in most instances, which in case you have forgotten, is in fact a Christian derived strenght. One commenter here accurately and brilliantly described the real weakness as ‘the soft nihilism of the secular West’. If you cannot comprehend the full spiritual and existential meaning behind that statement, I cannot argue with you any further.

      • Ray Ingles

        Being unpopular is not the same as being persecuted. And you can find just as many ‘liberals’ talking against legal consequences for even ‘hate speech’ as for it. Meanwhile, the Charlie Hebdo aftermath has brought to light many, many Christians who would be happy to outlaw blasphemy… so long as it was against their ‘sacred cows’.

        So… only ‘blasphemers’ get shot, but those who mock anything else – ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ – suffer equal (metaphorical) slings and arrows, just from different groups. You are right not to consider them equivalent, but wrong to claim the high ground, or accuse your opposite numbers of hypocrisy.

  • Elleblue Jones

    The article is brilliant. It’s truth that most secularists will not hear.

  • quisutDeusmpc

    The title of this article “Je ne suis pas Charlie” should be more aptly titled “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?”

    IF we are follower’s of Christ, should we be putting ourselves in the position of the Pharisee of Christ’s parable,

    ” ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’”
    (cf. Luke 18: 9-14; particularly vss. 11, 12)

    All right, in this case the aggrieved party is not a theist, but an atheist, but the last time I checked this is just as much about adopting the “us vs. them” mentality, in general. This article can just as well be interpreted as, “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – Godless, blasphemous, sacrilegious, irrational, violent – or even like the artists and editor of “Charlie Hebdo”. I observe meatless Wednesdays and Fridays, I contribute to the needs of the Church and I attend Mass on Sundays knowing the Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine and that Mohammed rightly claimed to only be a finite person, albeit Allah’s prophet (pbuh).

    The last time I checked, the command is, “Love your enemies. Pray for them who despitefully use you”. There was a time in our history when error did not have rights. It was considered “outlaw” – outside the law. And it wasn’t the “error” that paid the price but the person holding it. Ideas don’t propagate themselves. They require living, breathing persons. And so the person holding error or untruth was thought to be under the sway of the “Father of lies” and needed to be eliminated from the community so that the greater good would be served. We burnt people at the stake for such things. St Joan d’ Arc, Jan Hus, Mennochio

    I agree with “Bro_Ed” belowe. Now is the time to mourn the dead and pray for God’s mercy. All of the victims – the patrons of the Jewish market, the police officers who gave their lives, the artists and editors at Charlie Hebdo, and YES, the radicalized jihadists (they are the victims of the spirit of Revenge, Hatred, Murder) – should be mourned and prayed for. We used to have periods of mourning for people that lasted, at least, until they were buried (the general public), and longer (a month for general relatives; and a year for the spouses and children of the actual victims).

    This article smacks of self-righteousness. I am just as much an avowed adversary of blasphemy, secularism, atheism, and armed, murderous Salafism / Wahabbism as the next Catholic, but until we realize the fault line runs right down the middle of our own hearts, each and every moment of every day, with each and every thought, with each and every decision we personally make, we miss the mark; WE miss the mark; ALL of us – theist, atheist, Jew, Catholic, Muslim, Orthodox, Protestant, Anglo-American, Arabian, et al. WE are all in this together.

    Jesus Christ is the “Word of God”, the Divine Logos; God’s Mind, God’s Reason, God’s Message, God’s Word. We are all, objectively, in the order of creation, His son’s and daughters. Our souls are immediately created by God. We are all spoken into existence. We are all “words” of God – ‘semina verbi’. IF you are a follower of Jesus Christ, IF you are a disciple of the Holy Trinity, you….don’t…..have….a….choice. You ARE Charlie Hebdo, AND the patrons of the Jewish supermarket, AND the fallen police officers, AND, YES, the militant jihadists. If you insist that you are not, then there is only this,

    “Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things. We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true. Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance? By your stubbornness and impenitent heart,d you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, who will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness.”
    (cf. Romans 2: 1-8)

    There is No “us vs. them”. It is an illusion; or rather, a delusion; a lie. There is only “Us”. Christ is one. To the extent that people do not self identify, they are unfulfilled Christs. Our job is to help our other selves to see themselves as His self.

    • Who is “passing judgment” but you in trying to force a kind of mandatory mercy that has no value. All here have said clearly that those men were not deserving of death but they were in contempt of things that others hold sacred. Christ is not “one” with satan, buddy nor goodness has anything to do with overt wickedness. You are mistaken by a thousand miles. Praise darkness all you want but you won’t turn it into light.

      • quisutDeusmpc

        Mercy has no value? Well, excuse me. I was under the impression it has infinite and eternal value; if it does not, to borrow and adapt Flannery O’Connor’s expression, “then to hell with it”. I am not talking about a sentimental mercy that is devoid of justice. What I am talking about is thumbing our noses at “Charlie Hebdo” in the wake (both literal and figurative) of the murders and saying, in effect (i. e. if I have the sense of Mr. Warren’s “idler”(-ing) essay), ‘Well at least we have Jesus Christ’ and therefore something of value to defend and promote, is crass in the extreme. They will simply see it as the inversion of what Christianity is. Christianity IS Mercy, the Divine Mercy. On the cross, God managed to both break His Word (He pronounced the condemnation of death in the Garden) and keep His Word (by piercing the heart of His Word on the wood of the cross (in other words, the ‘admirabile commercium’) that we might participate in the divine Life. Secular France and “Charlie Hebdo” believe they DO have value: the Rights of Man (liberte, egalite, fraternite). To turn on them during this time of mourning and proclaim the message (a false Gospel): But you don’t have Jesus Christ, and you don’t have the Gospel and that is precisely the only thing that CAN counter fascist Wahhabism / Salafism is NOT Mercy is anti-Mercy and therefore anti-Christ.

        I am certainly NOT for “Satan” (in this case, I would imagine you are suggesting that the militant jihadists are the latest manifestations of the ‘man of sin’), nor am I for ‘overt wickedness’, nor am I “praise[-ing] darkness”. What I am suggesting is this: to react in the very same spirit of revenge or violence is to become what one despises in “them”. But, at the very least, it is HIGHLY innapropriate to be thumbing our noses at the victims and their families during their time of grief and saying, So glad we’re NOT you (Je ne suis pas Charlie); at least we would have the hope of Christ and eternal life. That is an anti-Gospel message to be proclaiming at this stage of the game, or, at all, in my opinion. I am every bit as shocked at this tragedy and would hope that law and order, truth and justice will prevail in the civil / secular realm. My concern is that in the interior, spiritual realm, we don’t allow ourselves to be dragged down into the quagmire of, for example, Marine Le Pen and the French National Front.

        • Justin Jurek

          So we should just ignore blasphemy and not condemn it in the name of “mercy”? It’s self-righteous to declare that blasphemy offends us and you shouldn’t allow it to be printed?

          • quisutDeusmpc

            In my day that was called suffering for the faith. People have the right to say what they want in the U. S.. The last state to strike blasphemy laws from their codes was in 1952. Ever heard of “offering it up”?

            “Blessed are you when people insult you, and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”

            Read the lives of the saints. This is the point where they are found saying, in effect, ‘Thank you Lord, that I have been found worthy to participate in your cross, your sufferings’; and offer that grace up to Him as a sacrifice of praise.

            “But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole,…Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth, by his wounds we were healed.”

            (cf. Is. 53: 5, 7)

            You tell me who is right – Jesus Christ or ourselves?

          • outlander0098

            Thank you for placing this one light in the darkness. I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon it. This reminds me to focus on my struggle against my own imperfections rather than thrusting it outwardly onto the actions of others.

        • My response to this was censored but can be read elsewhere in the web.

    • C.Caruana

      Another screed in the now hackneyed ‘who am I to judge’ style that is itself overflowing with moral and value judgements scattered right, left and centre. No ‘us vs. them’ mentality in your styling yourself as real follower of Christ against the poor miserable Pharisees, who I believe are your God’s children too?

      Your post fairly reeks of victimology typical of politically correct religiosity, implying the ‘equality’ of all ‘victims’ in this affair. Yes yes we are all sinners, but woe to you for ignoring the words of Isias ‘woe to those who call good evil and evil good’. There is a difference between those who call their sin a sin and those who embrace it as a divine command to butcher, or a ticket to martyrdom and heaven. Or to gratuitously and ideologically degrade, insult, hurt and verbally and psychologially assault others in their most sacred beliefs and ways of life to express their hate of them.

      ‘IF you are a follower of Jesus Christ, IF you are a disciple of the Holy Trinity, you….don’t…..have….a….choice. You ARE Charlie Hebdo..’ – what a metaphorical farrago of theological, philosophical and spiritual fallacies! So the islamic butchers and Charlie Hebdo have no choice about rejecting and cutting themselves loose from Christ and the Trinity? Is this a bastard form of Spinozaic pantheism or a new fangled species of Hindu Monism? Wake up and take in the smell of some very evil coffee.
      Might as well refrain from judging the devil and those who overtly and not so overty fully identify with him, because they are monistically one with Christ. Speaking of delusions! No I am definitely not a murderous Jihadist, nor Charlie Hebdo.

      • quisutDeusmpc

        With all due respect, throughout my critique I am careful to state the plural “We”. I am careful not to judge Mr. Warren, but the position of the essay: We, catholics, aren’t secular satirists with no absolute values to offer the world as an alternative to the claims of Jesus Christ or Mohammed. We have, precisely, Christ to offer as an alternative, the God-man over and against Mohammed, who only claimed to be a man who was chosen to be Allah’s prophet (pbuh). I took painstaking care to mention “We” whenever I compared theists to skeptics / agnostics / atheists, and identified myself and I would assume, since he writes here semi-frequently, Mr. Warren, as fellow travellers (i. e. as Catholics). I don’t know what it is about distinguishing between the person and the argument that seems to be lost on you. I am claiming that NOW is not the time to be drawing fine distinctions and leveling abstract arguments about “The Catholic Thing” when nearly twenty people have been murdered and their families are in a time of mourning. William Donohue of “The Catholic League” just intimated the same type of abstract distinction when asked for comments regarding the recent events in France and it went over like a lead balloon. People are dead; fellow human beings have murdered and been murdered. NOW is the time for prayer, grieving and consoling the remaining; not finger pointing and drawing out a philosophical argument, or syllogism, or theological nostrum that seemed to amount, to me, to: What consolation do your secular values offer you now; because the ultimate trump card in the “clash of civilizations” is ‘God from God, Light from Light….”? The article is dated the TWO DAYS after the tragedies. We haven’t even had time to get all of the facts or emotionally process it and we’re abstractly talking about secular vs. Christian vs. Islamic values and militanty stating “Je ne suis pas Charlie!”

        Since Saint Pope John XXIII (the Second Vatican Council), Pope Paul VI (Evangelii Nuntiandi), Saint Pope John Paul II (Redemptoris Missio) through to Pope Francis (Evangelii Gaudium) the Church’s orientation has been turning to an evangelical, mission oriented focus. What kind of message does “Je ne suis pas Charlie” send to a grieving world regarding “The Catholic Thing”? How are we showing the world the “Evangelii Gaudium”, The Joy of the Gospel, by saying, two days after the murderous spree, No, I’m not you. One of the corporal acts of mercy is “burying the dead”. It is a religious obligation to grieve WITH the aggrieved; death was not God’s original intention. There is an old maxim, You catch more flies with honey than with salt. In my humble opinion, this article was like rubbing salt in open wounds. To what end? It smacked of a self-righteous tone of, No, I’m not you; I’ve got Jesus Christ, the only thing that trumps the philosophico-theological claims of Mohammed. Is THAT the best mourning families can expect from Catholics in their hour of need? When Lazarus died, “Jesus wept” (cf. John 11: 35); and consoled Martha and Mary (“Your brother will rise”; “I am the resurrection and the life”). The people we should be considering should be able to say concerning our actions and words during this tragic moment, as the Jews in mourning did who mourned Lazarus, “See how he loved him.” (cf. John 11: 36). Is this the time to be pointing out that “Charlie Hebdo’s” portrayal of the Catholic Church, the Pope, the Holy Trinity in their magazine was deeply offensive to us, but at least we didn’t turn to physical violence over it; we’re just going to criticize your having done so two days after your deaths while your family is in mourning?. Your criticism and this article smack of Catholic triumphalism and it always damages Christian missionary witness.

        I am not a pantheist, I am not a Spinozan. I am making a Christian / Catholic personalist, natural law, rhetorical appeal to common, human decency and courtesy. It is precisely the indifferent, abstract philosophically detached attitude detached from an empathetic ability to identify with the victim’s and their families in this dire hour that I believe WE (I am including myself in my judgement and did so in my original comments) need to strenuously avoid,

        “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

        John Donne, “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions”, Meditation XVII

  • TIG

    Absolutely spot on.

  • susi

    je pense donc je ne suis pas charlie

  • David Harding

    That goes both ways…and killing is just too damn expresssive