What one can expect when right-wing theocrats get power – arrests and prosecutions for “blasphemy” because of a Facebook page. Yes really – a Facebook page.
A man was arrested last week in Evia, Greece, on charges of posting “malicious blasphemy and religious insult on the known social networking site, Facebook” according to a press release by the Greek police.
The accused, whose identity has not been made public, had created and managed the Facebook page Elder Pastitsios the Pastafarian…
Paisios, who died in 1994, is well-known in Greece for his spiritual teachings. There have been dozens of books published about him and his prophecies, including such topics as the end of the world, the upbringing of children, couples’ relationships, even the diet Paisios supposedly followed. Some high-ranking priests have proposed that the Orthodox Church sanctify him – a kind of elevation to sainthood.
“Pastitsios was pure satire and without any vulgar language or insults,” the accused said in an interview with the Greek website Pandoras Box, where he explained how he wanted to criticize the commercialization of Paisios. “I take the books and criticize them. I use satire.”
Yes well that’s blasphemy, so you’re busted.
The issue of the Pastitsios page was brought to the attention of the minister of public order by a member of parliament belonging to Golden Dawn, the neo-fascist party that entered the Greek legislature for the first time in May. Golden Dawn’s popularity has been rising, and as a result it is able to influence the public agenda, with the help of the populist Greek media and the government’s fear of losing its more conservative voters.
“Obviously, the law is irrational since God doesn’t need to be protected by any criminal code,” says Professor Katrougalos. “What the young man did was express himself. For some, it may have been in a distasteful manner but you can’t prosecute taste.”
Or rather, you can.