L’assassin court toujours

The new Charlie Hebdo is on the stands, the anniversary edition. The slaughter was a year ago, January 7 2015.

The murderer is still on the run.

The Guardian reports on this by letting us know what the Vatican thinks of it – as if we’re all somehow obliged to pay attention to what the Vatican thinks of our struggles to break free of its tyrannical murderous god.

The Vatican’s newspaper on Tuesday criticised French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo for a front cover portraying God as a gun-wielding terrorist to mark the first anniversary of a terrorist attack on the publication’s offices in which 12 people died.

A million copies of the special edition hit France’s newsstands on Wednesday with a cover featuring a bearded man representing God with a Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder, accompanied by the text: “One year on: the assassin is still out there.”

In a commentary, the Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said treatment of this kind towards religion “is not new” – and stressed that religious figures have repeatedly condemned violence in the name of God.

So what? Who cares? Of course the Catholic church doesn’t like rebellion against religion; we know that already. Of course the Vatican is aligned with the enforcers of religion and not with escapees; we know that already too.

“Behind the deceptive flag of uncompromising secularism, the weekly is forgetting once more what religious leaders of every faith unceasingly repeat to reject violence in the name of religion – using God to justify hatred is a genuine blasphemy, as pope Francis has said several times,” it said.

That’s just a lie. It’s far from true that all “leaders” of for instance Islam “unceasingly” reject violence in the name of religion.

The commentary added: “In Charlie Hebdo’s choice, there is the sad paradox of a world which is more and more sensitive about being politically correct, almost to the point of ridicule, yet does not wish to acknowledge or to respect believers’ faith in God, regardless of the religion.”

And yet it’s the cartoonists and writers of Charlie Hebdo who were slaughtered a year ago – the Vatican could have the empathy and tact to remember that and refrain from abusing them some more when they point to that very fact. Instead it just adds more paint to the target on Charlie’s back.

A week after the Charlie Hebdo attack, pope Francis condemned killing in God’s name but warned religion could not be insulted. “To kill in the name of God is an absurdity,” Francis told reporters on the papal plane on an Asian tour.

While defending freedom of expression, he also cautioned “each religion has its dignity” and “there are limits”.

“If a good friend speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched, and that’s normal. You cannot provoke, you cannot insult other people’s faith, you cannot mock it.”

In other words they had it coming. The assassin is still on the run.

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