Murdering journalists and cartoonists in Paris. And threats to freedom everywhere. Even here.

More murder in defense of religion in Paris on Wednesday. The relationship between the atrocities committed in Paris  and this blog is this. Even in our relatively peaceful corner of the world, when people speak up on controversial issues, threats are issued. Think it can’t happen here? It does. Just last month, because of a letter to the editor on  Whidbey Island over the controversy of military jet noise, a woman who wrote in support of limiting the jet noise was threatened online (the comments were taken down later). In the last decade, people who supported the strengthening of environmental laws in the Critical Areas Ordinance and Shoreline Master Programs were phoned at night and issued death threats. Death threats were posted on light posts around Jefferson County during the last CAO. Police guards had to be posted at meetings.

2014 was the deadliest year on record for journalists and bloggers, according to Journalists Without Borders and reported in Time Magazine. 67 Reporters were killed doing their job around the world, which is a basic tenant of our concept of democracy. It’s in our Bill of Rights. Around the world, bloggers are routinely jailed for upsetting those in power. If you don’t like the fact that people are allowed to criticize in a democracy, there are plenty of places you can move that support tyranny. But don’t expect you will be welcome. Apparently many of the young people who traveled to fight with ISIS have found out the hard way that there is no turning back, and have been executed. Or forced into suicide missions high on coke. Check out the latest reports from the front of Kobani on VICE.

Salman Rushdie, no stranger to intimidation by religious fundamentalists issued a statement today. Rushdie’s statement reads:

Religion, a medieval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today.

I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.

‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion’. Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.

Did I think that the cartoons that Charlie Hebdo published offensive? Yes. Did I think that anyone should be killed over them? Absolutely not. And neither should anyone, regardless of religion, think so if they want to live in a democracy.

I stand for Charlie Hebdo. As should anyone that supports freedom and democracy.

je suis charlie

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