In Defense of Charlie Hebdo‘s Alan Kurdi Cartoon

After last year’s Charlie Hebdo massacre, there were far too many people (including some liberals) refusing to join in the “Je suis Charlie” chorus because they said the magazine published too many racist, sexist cartoons. In a way, the critics were suggesting that the cartoonists had, at least to some extent, brought the attacks upon themselves.

We’re seeing a bit of that this week with a cartoon drawn by the magazine’s Laurent Sourisseau (“Riss”). It features Alan Kurdi, the refugee child who was famously found dead, face-down in water last year as his family tried to escape Syria.

The caption for the cartoon basically asks what Kurdi would have become if he had grown up. The answer? One of the people who allegedly sexually assaulted women in Cologne, Germany:

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Yep, that bottom line literally translates to “butt fondler.”

Offensive, right? A lot of people think so. And at first glance, I was put off, too.

But here’s what those critics don’t understand:

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Anglican Communion Punishes Episcopal Church for Accepting Marriage Equality

Last July, the Episcopal General Convention finally decided to allow same-sex marriage within the Church. The decision came a decade after Episcopalians welcomed openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson.

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To outsiders, it wasn’t exactly a big deal. It was welcome, sure, but it was followed by pity applause rather than a standing ovation. Given that the Supreme Court, the Democratic Party, a handful of Republicans, and the majority of the American public already accepted marriage equality, Episcopalians were late to the party, not leading the way forward.

Episcopal leaders were like stragglers crossing the finish line of a marathon at the eight-hour mark. They did it and they certainly deserved credit for that — it was a huge personal accomplishment, after all — but the crowds had dissipated and everyone else was out celebrating without them. The only thing they really deserved credit for was entering and finishing the race, something evangelical Christians and Catholics never even bothered to do.

And it wasn’t even a full acceptance of gay marriage since priests were permitted to say no to officiating same-sex ceremonies.

For their tepid endorsement of marriage equality, though, they have been officially punished by the Anglican Communion to which they belong:

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What Should Atheists Do With Their Bodies After They Die?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses what atheists should do with their bodies after they die (or, um, have done to their bodies):

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GOP Lawmaker: Obama Can’t Cite Bible Since Conservatives “Own the Entire Tradition” of Christianity

Republicans can’t seem to figure out just how Christian President Obama should be.

When he doesn’t talk about his faith, they call him un-American or a secret Muslim. When he does, as he did when talking about the need for compassion for Syrian refugees coming into the country, he’s going too far.

Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) — better known as the guy who dethroned Eric Cantor in a Republican primary — told talk show host Sandy Rios that Obama had no right using Christian imagery because conservatives “own the entire tradition.”

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21-Year-Old Irish Woman Faces Life in Prison for Taking Abortion Medication

A 21-year-old woman from Northern Ireland, whose name is being withheld for legal reasons, has been charged with procuring and using the abortion drugs Mifepristone and Misoprostol — and could face life in prison for doing so.

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