We are all ignorant; none of us have all the answers. That fact is not only a strong argument in favor of free speech and against those who would suppress it -- it is a spur toward greater wisdom.
In our society, vulgarians like Larry Flynt and the murdered journalists of Charlie Hebdo are the vanguard who protect freedom of speech. They are the canary in the coal mine, whose death warns us of the unseen dangers gathering around us.
In a divisive world where the leaders are sacrificing the long term safety of a nation for the short term political gains, and putting the nation on a destructive path of exclusion of those who differ, Merkel has done the right thing; choosing inclusion.
The vast majority of believers adhere to mainstream religion and seek three things there: community, moral guidance, and the comforts of ritual and belief. A minority get caught up in what I call Old Time Religion. OTR is authoritarian, reactionary, oppressive, and bent on domination.
The threats against our modern, multicultural and diverse societies, whether in America, Europe or Australia, are almost identical. When freedom of speech is under threat, then all that we stand for, all the underpinnings of our way of life, our future is under threat.
What has happened to our "Country of Enlightenment"? France has always bragged about being a model of coexistence where the universalist and color blind philosophy of our Republic was supposed to protect us from racial tension. If we don't want our country to plunge into the abyss, the republican fable we are telling has to come to an end.
The Mosque of Rome is the largest Mosque of Europe and its architecture replicates and perfectly integrates itself in the heart of Italy.
Anti-Semitism in France has long played an unwitting role in facilitating of the Zionist movement.
God placed humans in the Garden of Eden and gave them the right to agree or disagree. One of the primary ways that we express agreement or disagreement is through speech. The most divine thing that we do on any given day is express who we are and what we believe.
It is January 11, 2015 at the time of this writing and world leaders from over 40 countries gathered in Paris, linked arm to arm to march in peace for unity.
Obviously, this is a decision that only the democratically elected government and people of France can make. That said, as longtime friends of France and the trans-Atlantic partnership, we too have a big stake in where France goes from here. Allow us a few observations.
Following a week of deadly shootings, nearly 4 million people took a stand and marched against terrorism on Sunday, the largest public gathering in France's history. Over 40 of the world's top leaders marched together in solidarity. We should've been there.
No one or at least I hope no one that would read this blog would want to see anyone killed for speaking their mind, no matter what it was that was being said, even if they disagreed.
Freedom of speech is vital, but it is not the only value we have. We can defend Charlie Hebdo's right to offend, understand the social reasons why the New York Times did not publish their cartoons, and support legal restrictions on far right attempts to incite hatred and violence.
This is a time for courage and unity. It is also a time for symbolism. The White House admits President Obama should have been in that front row of leaders, marching, singing, and waving flags and signs of courage and determination.
There is a reason over a million people visit the Anne Frank House very year. There is a reason France's most celebrated public intellectual, Bernard Henri Levy, is a proud Jew. A strong and safe Jewish community enriches the cultural life of every nation.