In response to the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks

Published January 16th, 2015 by Bobby Henderson


The P.A.S.T.A Foundation wrote this article in response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks titled In Defense of Religious Satire. I like it, a lot of great points in here:

As the world continues to reel from the vicious terrorist attack that left 12 dead at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, for some in the West the inevitable finger pointing and blame game has already begun. In one corner, right-wing blowhards attempt to smear the entire Muslim faith of over 1 billion people with the heinous acts of two fanatics. While in another corner, politically-correct ninnies minimize the horrible killing of these writers and cartoonists by referencing the paper’s history of “xenophobia, racism, sexism, and homophobia” and claiming the publication somehow “provoked” the violence from Islamic extremists.

Both of these reactions are an affront to civil society. We cannot blame the whole of the followers of Islam for the actions of a group of marginalized individuals. Painting with this broad-brush point of view is a major contributor to the ease with which an entire society can label Muslims as “the other”. It’s this mentality that helps support military imperialism and the wholesale torture and killing of people in far off countries. The second mind-set, one that would explain away the barbaric nature of these killings by limiting freedom of speech, takes away one of our most potent defenses against fanaticism on all sides of the spectrum: Humor and Satire.

[read the rest here on J.T. Eberhard’s1 Patheos blog.]

What do I think about the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks and the aftermath?

I’ve been trying to stay out of it until the noise dies down. I hear a lot of voices saying what’s obvious and true: this was a sad, terrible act done by some extremists; this is a predictable outcome of blind, extreme faith; the few extreme members don’t represent the whole of any group.

One thing I believe: it is the groups who feel their beliefs are above criticism who are in need of being deflated a bit with humorous satire. This idea that some beliefs can’t be questioned is a cancer. But let’s please try to confront it in a positive way.

There was a great interview on NPR this week with a man who has reversed his radical views and is now fighting against the underlying causes of extremism. He makes the point that in Islam there is a core belief, even amongst many moderate members, that the prophet Muhhammad can not be criticized or joked about, and that this is at odds with modern democratic society where we demand the right to poke at our institutions/leaders/beliefs. Definitely worth listening to if you’ve got 30mins. Here’s the link: How Orwell’s Animal Farm Led A Radical Muslim to Moderation.

1. Side note — Early FSM people may remember J.T. Eberhard from the Missouri Pastafarians group. I was always a fan of his — one of my favorite things he did was building a box-fort in the middle of campus as a statement about religious discrimination.

217 Responses to “In response to the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks”

  1. Rasputin says:

    Last night there was a mass shooting at a nightclub in Arkansas. Seems people don’t need to be religious to murder strangers. Being drunk, angry and vengeful has the same result.

  2. Captain Birdseye says:

    It’s predictable in an alcohol-fuelled society, where there are more guns than people. We don’t yet know a motive, but, I doubt if anything in the USA is free of a religious taint, including justification of murder.

    • Apprentice Frederic says:

      AWWW, Cap’n B., not *all• of us are knuckle dragging Nazi religionists!

      • Captain Birdseye says:

        Of course not, AF, but, I believe you will find an organised web of gun-toting religious lobbyists on every committee, department, panel and bench, who exert more influence than you may imagine. I could argue (weakly and cheekily) that the American Dream is the acting-out of Biblical entitlement. Even the marketing of cleaning products target religious taboos. I wonder what brand of soap the Pope uses.
        In this case, the murderer may offer a justification, which is always interesting to categorise.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          Cap’n B., Fair enough; couldn’t agree more!! I did Google Italian Soap Brands, maybe Prima Sprematura, though the Pope maybe cares more about soul care than body care….

        • Captain Birdseye says:

          That’s exactly what I meant, AF. There are so many metaphors for the ‘washing away of sins’. What is considered wholesome to one culture may be regareded as disgusting (taboo) to another. Most cleaning products are designed to tap into this to restore a sense of order. I suspect the Vatican supplies choir-boy s***n for the Pope’s use.

    • Apprentice Frederic says:

      But it is fair to say that Christian gun nuts have the upper hand, not lol?

  3. Rasputin says:

    Loads more attacks being carried out by people who’ve been inspired by the word of Gob. Too many to respond to them all.
    Don’t they understand: The Bird is the Word?
    If Gob tells somebody, “Drive down the street and kill as many families as you can”, he’s a very sh*tty Gob.

    • Captain Birdseye says:

      Rasputin, these people claim they are not responsible; that their victim’s predetermined time was up and they would have dropped dead for other reasons at that exact moment anyway.
      It’s a sickening illustration of fundamentalist thought and faith.

      • Excelsior says:

        I just saw on the internet that the New Jersey priest Fr. Kevin Gugliotta was just sentenced to 2 years in prison for uploading child pornography.
        First joke: He said that he only did it to punish God for making him lose at poker!
        Second joke: The Archdiocese has not decided yet if he will be allowed to return as a priest! (Actually the Archdiocese is trying to find somewhere to hide him to protect him and the Church from the law, just as they do for all those pedo-priests that rape children!)
        Gob should be proud that he has such a Church that no matter what it does, the suckers still fill it’s offering plates, and doesn’t have to pay taxes!

        • Captain Birdseye says:

          Isn’t the Christian punishment thing meant to be one-way only?
          Obviously, casino tables should all have a sign on them, warning that god causes gambling losses and poker causes paedophilia.
          Maybe the Vatican should open its own casino.

  4. patroller says:

    Kekka, your master approaches.


    • ? says:


    • Kekka says:

      What is your obsession with me Trollope?

      I am not available.

      I will never be available.

      You should Voetsek, eet kak end vrek. Jou ma se poes.

  5. neco says:

    Question mark, are you alive?
    Live life. Praise the FSM.

  6. ? says:

    All hail our Noodly savour. May pesto be upon Him/Her/It.

    • Rasputin says:

      Yaarrgghhh, thou art blessed to have accepted our noodly deity, ? .

  7. Rasputin says:

    And religious genocide continues in Myanmar (Burma). The Abrahamic god must be delighted.

  8. Rasputin says:

    And another bomb on the London Underground yesterday. It didn’t explode properly. I assume the FSM used His noodly appendage to prevent the full explosion. Look at the images on YouTube. The bomb was contained in a plastic bag from a Lidl supermarket. I didn’t know I could buy bombs from Lidl.

    • Rasputin says:

      So the terrorist got his bomb from Lidl. Some of the stuff I’ve bought from Lidl doesn’t work properly either.

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