The poster above marks the affront and the desire to stand with those who lost their lives in the attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and this is a very right stance to take.
But, this is not Spartacus and so my Avatar will instead become:
Now is the time for all those who celebrate free speech, even when it's not easy and perhaps hits out at us, to make a stand and to draw a line by peaceful protest and by recognising that blind, unthinking and cruel fundamentalism, regardless of whether it be theist or atheist, is something that will not be tolerated in the 21st century.
Yesterday's happenings, which although different in scale, were no different to those acts which saw Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard targeted and fatwahs issued to writers - remember Rushdie? - and the like.
We live in a world where no book should be burned and where, offensive as I (and others) might find them to be, no viewpoint is merely trodden down. We live one generation away from pogroms and knocks on the door which result in people disappearing and this wolf is kept for the door by us standing as rational and free-thinking people.
We stand unbowed in defiance of those who seek to peddle their brand of fear and oppression,
We must ensure that what we don't do is create a fad and bring about a flash in the pan, knee jerk response - the lives of those who died - and the sacrifice of those in Police uniform which saw them pay with their lives in pursuit of upholding the law, must be stood up for in a thinking and balanced manner.
Today's New Testament reading sums it all up rather nicely:
1 John 4.19-5.4
'We love because he first loved us.
Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.
The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world.
And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.'
Not rocket science now, is it?
This incident presents no real proof for those who wish to portray faith as the root of anything positive - but is proof that wicked and evil people will use whatever they can as an excuse to grasp at power and to manipulate the wills and minds of vulnerable and sad individuals. That's the very reason they need a wholesome and intelligent faith ;-)
And in the same what that I am not Christ but corporately am part of the body of Christ - when we stand together: