On 8 January 2015, the people of Sri Lanka elected a new president. The date also marked the sixth anniversary of the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, a critic of the regime which has now been replaced.
Let us start with a few clear parameters. Murderous violence is always wrong and does as much damage to its perpetrators as to its victims. Freedom of expression is at the heart of the free society and must ever be defended. But with that right come responsibilities and an obligation to discernment and humility.
Twelve people were murdered yesterday (7 January) in an appalling attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. This has inflamed religious and ethnic tensions, as the killers are believed to be violent Islamist extremists.
Imagine police wake you. Though not suspected of any involvement in violence, you are being investigated for terrorism-related offences, on the basis of a remark by your three-year-old at a playgroup or childminder’s.
As we enter an election year perhaps the real issues may be smuggled onto our television screens via comedy and entertainment, whilst the news media which is supposed to inform us simply keeps the debate within certain parameters.
BBC Radio 4's 'Beyond Belief' series will look at the significance of the biblical story of Moses and Exodus for Jews, Christians and Muslims in a programme to be broadcast at 4.30pm on Monday 5 January 2015, featuring Ekklesia associate Keith Hebden among others.