For the cartoonists

I used a cartoon, and a religious cartoon at that, on, my blog yesterday and yet I live.

I sometimes pray for satirists – those who come to occasional services in St Mary’s may occasionally have heard me do so. They don’t usually get enough prayers. Today, sadly, the thoughts of the world are with them.

The killing of the journalists and cartoonists in Paris today made me think of a divinity class I was in long ago. We were talking about feminism and ethics, that being the stuff I was made on. We had discussed non-violence and non-violent protest. Inevitably we had made an excursion around Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr and had probably had a go at whether Bonhoeffer was justified in getting involved in the plot against Hitler. We noted that these were all men, of course, and and talked about whether that was inevitably so.

Eventually, someone said, “Yes, but what about real tyrants. What do we have to say to people facing real tyranny. Do we tell them to go floppy in the middle of the road as part of a protest when they will just get killed for it? What about tyrants – how do we deal with them?”

There were no answers forthcoming from the class but there was from the person teaching it.

“Make people laugh at them” she said.

I’ve never forgotten that answer and I don’t forget it today, for all its problems.

I realised then that words and ideas were always more potent, always more powerful than force. It was a moment when something significant made sense to me for the first time. Humour can be savage and sometimes needs to be.

The killings in Paris do no honour to any god. They dishonour our common humanity.

And so I turn back to my prayers.

For satirists, humourists, cartoonists.
For journalists. For bystanders.
For those who take risks to disturb our peace of mind.
For those who take risks to give the peace and security for them to do so.

Lord in your mercy.
Hear our prayer.




  1. I need a cartoon to accompany my blog post of today. Won’t advertise. You know where it is.

  2. Lee Llewellyn-Thornhill says

    Kelvin you are spot on with your post today as always, well nearly always ; ) lol. It is such a sad world when because of a cartoon you get killed, Okay you could say they were offended by the Cartoons contents or rather subject, the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) who is not allowed to be seen in photographs/Art etc though their are apparently pictures that do exsit of the Prophet, but what if it had been the Son of God Jesus or as Muslims see him the Prophet Jesus? I have seen many cartoons mocking God, Jesus etc but on many occasions I have laughed quite literally till I have fell over! It is silly really, if a faith cannot be seen to be able to mock itself at times (And I’m a good Christian who did convert to Islam at one point but came back to Christianity and absorbed Islam into my faith as well, its a beautiful faith) Then if any faith cannot laugh at itself its not a very strong one, I am pretty sure God has a great sense of humour and laughs many a time at the things that go on down here on his creation, if you didn’t you would go mad! right? So with you I stand side by side in memory of these people killed/injured in this terrible TERRORIST attack as do many Muslims from the comments and announcement from various Muslim organisations and we MUST NOT blame ALL Muslims it is an extremely SMALL MINDED group of idiots like in the Christian faith many times who have nothing good to say about humanity because it is different to their view that spoil it for the 99.9% who get along TOGETHER and love EVERYONE. BUT this small MINORITY of murders must not be allowed to fracture faiths and people who live together peacefully day by day UNITED AS ONE because that’s exactly what these small brained idiots want and thankfully we are all standing together to condemn this vile murderous act, People should be free to express an opinion or a cartoon without fear of death or injury and we must hunt down these lunatic fringe who kill because something upset them, I think I’m right when I call these scum Fundamentalists who are in NO WAY Muslim, they bring shame on God/Allah and on the prophet Mohammed(Pbuh) and they are I am sure looking down on these murders with shame and disgust as well as pity for their hatred and shame on humanity and Islam. We must pray for the people massacred in these evil and pointless murders, may their souls rest in peace in Gods care and may God/Allah shine down on our faiths Christianity/Islam and keep us all safe from harm and prevent any hate attacks in reprisals for these wicked murders/injuries on any community and that OUR God brings us all together united as one in condemnation for this senseless and cruel act Amen/Ameen

  3. Thank you Kelvin; greetings from Dunedin. I have been debating how we respond to tyranny and the limits that potentially imposes on pacifism – but satire, yes! That has real scope as part of the answer.

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