WCC condemns Paris slayings

Reacting to news of the deaths of twelve persons in an armed attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, acting general secretary of the World Council of Churches Georges Lemopoulos said:

"The fatal attack that has taken place today in Paris against the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo is an attack on human life, human dignity  and the human rights of all. The World Council of Churches utterly rejects and condemns any religious justification advanced for it. Together with all people of true faith and good will, we pray for the victims and their families, for the perpetrators to be brought to justice, for the extremist ideology that inspired this attack to be extinguished, and that justified outrage may not lead to reprisals against Muslims or fuel anti-Islamic sentiment."

Introduction to Moment of Silence for Charlie Hedbo

08 January 2015 - Ecumenical Centre chapel, Geneva, Switzerland

Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish justice of the United States Supreme Court, wrote an opinion on press freedom in which he observed that the appropriate remedy for offensive speech is more speech rather than enforced silence. The truth has a way of winning hearts and minds if spoken clearly and challenged peaceably.

The remedy for offensive drawings is not to silence forever those who produce and publish them.

Today, with our neighbours in France, we gather to observe a minute of silence for those who were murdered yesterday in Paris at the offices of Charlie Hebdo. But silence will not be the end of this story. Opinions will continue to be spoken, and debated, and illustrated, and published, and truth will be recognized…

Because this is the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre, we also will offer prayer and song to God in the coming minutes. Many connected with Charlie, leading critics of all organized religion, might not approve of our mode of remembrance. But we have an inalienable right to express our beliefs through words and the lively arts, as do they.

Let us pray: Lord, have mercy in this hour, and grant all of us peace. Amen.

Originally appeared on the WCC website