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.