A Christian secularism
The French are proud of their history, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t—but our secularism we sometimes brandish like Liberty holds the French flag over the barricade in Delacroix’s painting. Can we sweep under the carpet thousands of years, during which the religious only cared about spirituality, arts and books? They’ve been the guardians of our sacred heritage when no one else was around—France might have become a secular Republic, it remains a Christian country in its culture and in its values. We celebrate Christmas, our kids eat fish every Friday at school, our language is full of Biblical idioms, and our magnificent churches attract dozens of thousands of visitors every summer. Many people idolize secularism nowadays, but this is just another dogma. Furthermore, to be an atheist means you do not believe in God; it doesn’t mean that you are right.
Seven million copies of the post-attack issue of CH were printed—an all-time record. It features a caricature of Muhammad on the cover, holding an “I am Charlie” sign, weeping; the caption reads: all is forgiven. This was perceived as a new slice of “pear” by some so-called moderate Muslim countries such as Turkey, where many demonstrated against CH; then Kadirov’s plastic kingdom started to roar, as simple people obeyed their dreadful master. Now, this is what Voltaire was fighting against: the manipulation of the masses by tyrants, through religion—and to belittle fanaticism in religion is the surest way to curb the power of the oppressors who use it as a political tool.
There are many things to say about our Western society, its history, its brutality; and some journalists draw cartoons to keep us on our guard—the overwhelming majority of the last 52 front covers of CH were dedicated to domestic policies, and only one dealt with Islam; because the threats are here, indeed. Their names are ignorance, fanaticism and tyranny—they are the real three impostors! And books are the only way to fight them; some will pervert, or misuse, this weapon by going too far, or in the wrong direction. But only in a society full of books can we imagine such excess. And only in a society full of books, good and bad, can men of good will from all sides feel comfortable. Printed paper is the heart of our civilization. And this is a good starting point—in fact, this is the only one. Because, in the beginning, was the Word...