Greek Christians and Neo-Nazis Support Blasphemy Laws

NPR has a story about recent arrests for blasphemy in Greece that I wrote about when they happened. The first was a scientist named Philippos Loizos who dared to make fun of a dead Greek Orthodox monk and the second was against the director and cast of a performance of the Terrence McNally play Corpus Christi. While most European countries got rid of their blasphemy laws, Greece retains theirs and is now using them again:

But in the 20th century, Nash adds, most European countries took action to separate church and state and phased out blasphemy laws.

In Greece, the Orthodox Church remains powerful, and its opinions about blasphemy hold sway. But the church does not get involved with the law, says Haris Konidaris, a spokesman for Archbishop Ieronymos of Greece.

Well, many of your priests were part of a mob that attacked the theater where that play was being performed:

Christian activists have pushed prosecutors to make arrests on blasphemy charges in the past.

And in the past year, the neofascist Golden Dawn party has also called for such arrests during speeches in the Parliament.

Yannis Ktistakis, a human-rights attorney, says the blasphemy laws fit into their agenda. “It’s the political agenda of nationalism,” he says. “They think that now is the time to call [on] Greeks to think about their ‘special’ identity.”

On the pretext of defending Greek identity and the Greek Orthodox faith, a Golden Dawn parliamentary deputy screamed obscenities as he led a mob that stormed a controversial play this October. The mob, which included priests, also threw rocks at those attending the Greek production of Corpus Christi, the Terrence McNally play that portrays Jesus and his apostles as gay men in modern-day Texas.

So why hasn’t the Greek Orthodox church condemned any involvement with the fascists? And demanded that these barbaric prosecutions be stopped? Oh, that’s right, they don’t get involved with the law — except when they do.

27 comments on this post.
  1. Rip Steakface:

    With a name like Golden Dawn, it’s like they’re trying to say “we’re horrifically repressive assholes just waiting to swoop in and take absolute control!” Seriously, it’s about as subtle as the Mythic Dawn cult in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or the goddamn blackshirts in Italy.

  2. raven:

    Greece?

    Place has really gone down hill since they kicked the old gods out. Maybe they should have kept Zeus, Aphrodite, Athena, Demeter, and all the rest. At least they were more interesting than crotchedy old Yahweh.

  3. anubisprime:

    That a church of whatever ilk would feel comfortable in the same stable as neofascists and go on the rampage with them is not a shock…what does is the silence of the rest of society!

  4. richardelguru:

    Fascists and a church, now there’s a conspiracy that makes more sense than gays and islamists!

  5. hexidecima:

    religion and fascists, always counted on to be working together.

  6. elpayaso:

    somehow i’m waiting to hear the story about someone being prosecuted under these laws or attacked by the GDites for worshipping Zeus et al………so much for protecting Greek identity and all that rot

  7. Doug Little:

    But the church does not get involved with the law

    Except when it is breaking it.

  8. Artor:

    @ Rip #1
    The connection I make from the name is with the Order of the Golden Dawn, the ceremonial magical order made famous by Aleister Crowley & Jimmy Page. I’m certain that’s not what the Nazi’s were thinking, but I have to wonder what THEY mean by the name.

  9. Marcus Ranum:

    Wouldn’t it be awesome if they both simultaneously denied they wanted to be associated with the other?

  10. No One:

    The symbol of Fascist oppression in Greece 1967:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_3D_ZLOC0At4/S83Z-n8k8UI/AAAAAAAAAyE/UJyRSA-F8QE/s1600/Dictatorship_Phoenix.png

    And the end result, the uprising of ’73. The gates of the Polytech university of Athens stormed by tanks:

    http://abalinx.com/wordpress/hellenic/files/2011/04/thecoopat40part3pic6.jpg

    Sad to see history repeating itself (after a fashion).

  11. =8)-DX:

    That a church of whatever ilk would feel comfortable in the same stable as neofascists and go on the rampage with them is not a shock…what does is the silence of the rest of society!

    I’m pretty sure “the rest of society” is talking about their local political parties and issues. In Greek. Because they’re Greeks. This issue perhaps not coming up on US TV much, but it’s actually been in the news for some time (reuters anyone?) and I’m sure the Greek internet has plenty to say on the matter.

    Any Greeks out there, please confirm this! =)

  12. Rip Steakface:

    The connection I make from the name is with the Order of the Golden Dawn, the ceremonial magical order made famous by Aleister Crowley & Jimmy Page. I’m certain that’s not what the Nazi’s were thinking, but I have to wonder what THEY mean by the name.

    Yep, there’s that too. The Mythic Dawn in that game wasn’t really fascist (though they were authoritarian, especially considering the overbearing, Jim Jones-esque leader – authoritarian organization with an anarchist/world-destroying goal), but they certainly were religious whackos. At least the entity they worshiped (a malevolent spirit/god who was fed by chaos and destruction… yeah, generic, but there’s plenty more interesting figures in the mythos) was real.

    I tend to consider any organization that sticks “Dawn” in their name as a likely bunch of assholes, if they’re serious in much capacity (I wouldn’t really consider Page and Crowley particularly serious… not sure why, but it strikes me more as musicians and occultists fucking around than honest belief). Are there any useful, beneficial organizations that have Dawn in their name?

  13. Olav:

    Anubis Prime #3:

    That a church of whatever ilk would feel comfortable in the same stable as neofascists and go on the rampage with them is not a shock…what does is the silence of the rest of society!

    The backdrop to all this is of course the current economic crisis in Greece which is happening on a more devastating scale than perhaps you can imagine. The Greek population is really desperate. Their country essentially bankrupt by no real fault of their own, their lives and dreams are literally being destroyed by the measures that the EU is now imposing on them. They may not necessarily believe everything the Church or Golden Dawn says, but they are looking for a way out.

    Golden Dawn is handing out food parcels and provides other social services in many places, but only for those who can prove to be “real” Greeks. In their view this includes adhering to Greek Orthodox Christianity. They want immigrants and opponents to their ideology out of the country or, literally, dead. Their rhetoric and aims are on the level of that of the Nazis in the early 1930s. This is not to invoke Godwin’s Law. It is just how it is.

    People are careful to speak out against these fanatics because a. it can be dangerous to do so (people have already been attacked and killed) and b. one may have to depend on them at some point.

    Of course it is also a complete failure of the EU leadership. Personally I am very much in favour of the European Union, but I am certainly very disappointed by the way this crisis is handled.

  14. Ben Waggoner:

    @elpayaso: Funny you should mention that. There is indeed a revival of ancient Greek polytheism in Greece — commonly known as Dodekatheism, “worship of the Twelve Gods”, or Elliniki Thriskia, “Hellenic worship” — and I’m not sure what the current situation is, but they did have to deal with legal discrimination, and a lot of crud from the Greek Orthodox Church, for years. There’s a documentary about this called “I Still Worship Zeus”:

    http://www.nationalfilmnetwork.com/store/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=182

    That said, some of what I’ve seen from Hellenic neopagan organizations in Greece itself is kind of loudly nationalistic in a rather off-putting way — although I haven’t seen this from Hellenic neopagans in the US, who are not necessarily of Greek descent.

  15. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d:

    Greece?

    Place has really gone down hill since they kicked the old gods out.

    When they first began, the Golden Dawn were Olympian revivalists. It’s only recently they’ve grown to love the Greek Orhodox church.

  16. anubisprime:

    =8)-DX @ 11

    Well by ‘society’ I was referring to the rest of the European media, which has not really commented overly on the situation.
    But I take your point…I am sure rationally this nonsense must have registered somewhere in the Greek environment.
    It just seems the prevailing attitude elsewhere might be regard it as an ‘internal’ issue and no one else’s business.
    Especially regarding the point that the church and its preferred religious scam are up to their sweaty armpits in this swamp!
    I do not expect other religiously cursed organizations to pontificate, they never ever issue a condemnation or criticism of another delusional cult but the secular authorities are a little less burdened by dogma and scam enablement I would have thought! …or maybe I expect to much!

    Olav @ 13

    Yes it seems that the EU institutions are really using Greece as the whipping post in their distress.
    I am broadly in favour of the EU…I see no practical alternative really, but I despair as to the semi-woo odour they emanate at times.
    The obsequious, unctuous, hand wringing is that endemic in the corridors so much so that they and the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg rarely make a rationally defensible ruling when religion is the subject.

    But this ‘pairing ‘ of such crass institution seems more a deal made in some back street house of ill repute to the glory of both parties that one might consider they are both using each other to assert superiority over the indigenous…that have in fact a coalition.
    And echoes of a 1930′s National Socialist master of their fate amalgam of the spiritual and political cannot be ignored….because Europe has seen what such a perfect storm of depression, financial uncertainly, and a populace caught in the cross-hairs of bankers cold feet and atrocious incompetance that engulfs a nation, can and did achieve!

    I agree the EU did not cover themselves in any glory in their knee jerk cowardice and their atrocious attitude to the folk that were not responsible for the greed and house of tacky dog eared cards the so called financial institutions made.

    But the EU are so far up their own posterior where the air they find is acceptable that they are sleep walking into a very nasty and vacuous situation which is becoming worse by the day.

    This unholy alliance of Golden Dawn & Greek Orthodox Church should trigger alarm bells ringing in every head in parliament…but they are so comatosed by fear and incompetence that they are more bothered about their own expense accounts and who has precedence over who and who sits where then actually sorting the problem out.
    They all seem reluctant to drag the screaming mewling bankers in by their ears and beat a properly costed financial package out of them with a 2 x 4.
    I do despair, because their is self preservation going on at a rate that is both obnoxious and ultimately damaging to Europe.
    They are all shit scared of opposition parties that would castigate them roundly with the support of sycophantic anti-European Murdoch inspired media outlets that tend to the Nationalists anyway, certainly seeing as the finance in every European country is in such chaos.
    Which is what Murdoch and his ilk pray for…an unregulated market with no consequences.

    So a pragmatic solution is dumped for a public relations related fiasco with Greece as the villain of the peace.
    Again a secondary point is that the EU is seemingly trying to keep the European bank out of the shite…cos they were the prime watchdog of the banking system in Europe a when it went pear shaped.
    They fucked up, and they know it but like all politicians and bankers in general they feel no remorse for their incompetence…as long as the champagne flows!

  17. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    anubisprime,

    I’m not sure where you’re talking about Greece and where about the EU, but the main opposition party in Greece is the leftist Syriza, which opinion polls indicate would come first by around 10% if an election were held now (and under the Greek constitution, the party winning most seats gets a bonus of 50 extra, so forming a government without them would be practically impossible). Whether they would be allowed to take power is another matter – a Nazi*-Church-Police-Army coup with the connivance of the old establishment parties is a frightening possibility. The main opposition in most of the big EU countries (Germany, Italy, UK, Spain) is a centre-left party, who whatever their limitations are not favoured by Murdoch or anti-Europeans.

    If anyone doubts Goden Dawn are genuine 24-carat Nazis, here is their logo.

  18. dingojack:

    Nick – while much of what you say is certainly possible (see the Lambrakis Affair’). The last sentence however is pure idiocy: “If anyone doubts Goden Dawn [sic] are genuine 24-carat Nazis, here is their logo”.

    Firstly – Here is their logo.

    Secondly – OMG Classical Greeks were Nazis, (just 24 centuries too early).

    Dingo

  19. dingojack:

    OMG it gets worse! Not only was the democratic Athenian state a bunch of Nazis,, so are Hindus!!
    Dingo

  20. Olav:

    Dingo, if the logos don’t convince you you can easily look up the nice lads of Golden Dawn on Youtube, where you can see them giving the right arm salute and marching the streets in black shirts and boots. Unironically.

    You can also look up some speeches by their chief arsehole, Nikolaos Michaloliakos.

    These motherfuckers aim to intimidate and they are succeeding. No they don’t have a majority but they are still a very disruptive force.

  21. dingojack:

    Yes, but was that the argument that Nick was making?

    “If anyone doubts Goden Dawn are genuine 24-carat Nazis, here is their logo”. – Nick Gotts

    So – if their logo was a cuddly teddy bear, then all that goose-stepping, saluting and intimidation would be all peachy-keen, right?

    These are the Greek version of other Fascistic/ Nationalist Groups throughout the world, their logo is not really germane”.

    Dingo
    ——-
    * besides which it is derived from a common ‘wave’ motive found throughout the classical Greek and Roman world (hell, even the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians used it), are they Nazis too?
    Bet it’d be news to Anton Drexler in 1919

  22. anubisprime:

    Nick @ 17

    Sorry if my post was less then clear.
    But your points are in broad agreement with what I suggested in @ 16…

    But this ‘pairing ‘ of such crass institutions (Golden Dawn and the Greek Orthodox Church) seems more a deal made in some back street house of ill repute to the glory of both parties that one might consider they are both using each other to assert superiority over the indigenous…they have in fact a coalition.
    And echoes of a 1930′s National Socialist master of their fate amalgam of the spiritual and political cannot be ignored…

    This financial situation is in many ways the mirror of what happened in Germany pre-Hitler.
    That is what goads the populace, and trapped in spiralling inflation with no relief is what eventually lights the fuse.

    Okay I do take the point that Greece does not have the military might to blitzkrieg, but up to that point all things seem eerily recognisable.
    There are other countries with some not inconsiderable unrest with the EU.
    It is a perfect storm brewing up.
    Every country in Europe has the EU sceptics, some make speeches and write ranting raving screeds and some start political parties to fight on the political stage in Brussels..in Blighty we have UKIP starting to make inroads into the hustings fandango and they are gaining.
    They are right wing for the most part and and there are seemingly some murky ties with BNP.
    Some murmur that in fact UKIP is the public acceptable face of the largely discredited BNP & EDL.
    Seems lessons have been learned and recognition that to get votes a certain amount of cleaning the act up is required.
    That is in itself an unholy alliance right there….and the church is in the shadowy background do not doubt it!

    It is not healthy but folks everywhere and certainly in Blighty are getting rather sick of perceived overbearing EU regulations in business and several rulings of the Court of Human Rights really piss them off.
    It is all the same to them, they see no clear water between those institutions they are all labelled interfering foreigners.
    And some voices declare Blighty has enough internal problems with integration to have to do battle with the EU as well, so out of Europe is their solution.
    I do not think it is any coincidence that several court cases involving Christian ‘repression’ or ‘intolerance’ have been taken there…methinks a certain ‘framing’ is going on, seems there is an agenda and some puppeteers are the new old enemy…evangelical theist ambition.
    They are playing the Brit public, and using the spin-off fallout to influence several decisions made by government.
    But that is another story.

    But the social unrest, the poverty, the swelling of an unjust and unfair miasma in local agitation in Greece…it all is so reminiscent of a path Europe has trod before, what? are we really doomed to repeat history again, that is chilling the EU was supposed in greater part to eradicate internecine warfare in Europe that was its point!

    But as I say…pompous cowardly financial incompetence on behalf of the bankers and a need to portray a tough uncompromising do or die tilting at global recession and unemployment by politicians, all for show as it happens, seems to be conspiring to bite their own ass!

    This global meltdown might have slowed, it has not stopped. and what will eventually arise from the puddle is in greater part under some modification of social mores and attitudes.
    It might not be the Utopia that the rational find logical…and the longer it goes on the less likely it ever will be.

  23. keusnua:

    If I may be cynical, the reason for the lack of (or at most lukewarm) condemnation for fascist Golden Dawn by The Powers That Be can probably be spelled Syriza (see Nick Gotts, #17). The banksteres are probably terrified that such a party might come to power and start threatening the status quo which means they never pay for any of their mistakes. So, they need to keep nice with the likes of Golden Dawn as an alternative outlet of the people’s anger. 30s redux indeed.

    All the EU right now is just in a terrible state. Even most of our so called socialist and social democratic parties are anything but. Most seem to agree that somehow a financial crises perpetuated by the financial industry needs to be paid for by the people. With the burden disproportionally falling on the weakest. Unemployment benefits, disability, healthcare. There is a drive to dismantle the wealth-fare state. A system that was builds in the ruins after WWII, when real scarcity prevailed, is suddenly too expensive in the relative prosperity of the present era. It is everywhere, in all countries practically. Greece is just further ahead on this path than the rest. It is a very sad time to be European. I hope we can sort it out without major violence.

  24. anubisprime:

    keusnua @ 23

    I hope we can sort it out without major violence.

    I think it is a possibility that violence will appeal to some.
    It all depends on how bad and how deep the crisis goes.
    When folks start losing homes and businesses on a scale not seen since the great depression of the 30′s which coincidentally propelled a fledgling fringe movement in Germany to government and history.

    It was bad everywhere but Germany really seemed ripe for a society re-vamp.
    That is where is gets dangerous when folks look for the kind of society that requires substantial ‘re-building’
    And the impetus seems to be fuelled by institutional collapse of public finances and inert vague government following their own mantra and political agenda in dogmatic policy rather then providing real time help to the populace.
    Bigotries and hatreds, often fuelled by religious overtones creeps in to the mainstream.

    As I suggested earlier…it has all the makings of a perfect storm, and Greece is a rather stark clue to where this is possibly going.
    When the shit hits the proverbial fan in Blighty, there will be one grouping already manning the barricades and leading the charge because this will be their last possible chance of securing a rosy jeebus stained future.
    It is unclear if they will have numbers, but that will not stop them anyway…a bit of martyrdom always tickles their persecution bone they will be jostling and positioning to be next to the throne…when the natural successor is crowned.
    So when the bailiffs arrive once to often the riots will begin, and such will be the economy that not much will stop them because there will be nothing left to conserve.

    That is the stark truth!

  25. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    dingojack@21,

    Don’t. Be. So. Silly.
    First, there are different versions of the Golden Dawn logo. Look here and you’ll see Golden Dawn supporters waving a flag that looks just like the version I linked to.
    Second, there are plenty of logos a Greek nationalist party could use. The quasi-swastika tells their supporters what they stand for, while allowing the plausible deniability you’ve fallen for. Your comparison with Hindus is just stupid: Hindu use of the swastika preceded Hitler’s. A political party that chooses a swastika-like emblem today is making an unmistakeably clear statement about its politics.

  26. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    in Blighty we have UKIP starting to make inroads into the hustings fandango and they are gaining.
    They are right wing for the most part and and there are seemingly some murky ties with BNP.
    Some murmur that in fact UKIP is the public acceptable face of the largely discredited BNP & EDL.
    Seems lessons have been learned and recognition that to get votes a certain amount of cleaning the act up is required.
    That is in itself an unholy alliance right there….and the church is in the shadowy background do not doubt it! – anubisprime

    You’re lumping together things without much connection – I seriously recommend a subscription to Searchlight, which has covered the British (and international) far right for decades. UKIP is certainly xenophobic and racist, but it’s a party of the populist far right, not fascist like the BNP, and much of the leadership of the EDL. There is mutual antipathy between UKIP and the BNP, and I know of no evidence that it isn’t entirely genuine – they compete for votes. The BNP has been going through a very bad crisis, with a lot of local council seats lost, many senior members leaving, and serious financial problems, although legacies have apparently fixed the latter. The EDL recently hooked up with a tiny far-right party, the BFP, but that alliance has now dissolved, and it may turn itself into a political party. I do very much doubt that the church is in the shadowy background, if by “the church” you mean the Church of England or any other mainstream denomination; although undoubtedly some members of the far right are serious Christians, including both Catholics and evangelical Protestants.

  27. Ο κ.Τσίπρας στην Κροατία | Ροΐδη και Λασκαράτου Εμμονές:

    [...] http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2013/01/08/greek-christians-and-neo-nazis-support-blasphemy-l… [...]

Leave a comment

You must be