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Jan 04 2013

Greece resurrects blasphemy laws

We tend to think of blasphemy laws and punishments for violations as currently existing only in backward religion-dominated societies, usually in the Islamic world. But it was not that long ago that such laws were almost universal and many of them are still on the books in modern societies though not enforced. So it is always a surprise when some people now try and invoke these relics of medieval times.

Once recent example comes from Greece where the people involved in putting on a play titled Corpus Christi by American playwright Terrence McNally that portrays Jesus and his disciples as gay were charged with blasphemy and the production had to shut down last November after daily protests and threats to the cast, crew, and attendees.

That is not all. Another man was arrested and charged with blasphemy in September for a Facebook post mocking a famous dead Greek Orthodox monk and linking his name to a pasta dish.

These charges were filed under laws that date back to the 1850s. NPR had a report this morning updating the situation. The Greek authorities have dropped the charge of blasphemy against the man who mocked the dead monk but he still faces up to two years on charges of ‘insulting religion’, which is as absurd a law as blasphemy to have on the books of any nation. The blasphemy case against the play’s director and cast is ongoing.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    Tabby Lavalamp

    Between this and Golden Dawn, Greece is becoming more and more unattractive.

  2. 2
    Kevin

    According to legend, Socrates was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death.

    2500 years later — well, at least there’s no hemlock involved.

    Otherwise very sad.

  3. 3
    left0ver1under

    This does not surprise. Nearly every country where “blasphemy” laws have returned is a country where one religion was larger than the others combined.

    Religions are only peaceful when they are a minority. When they are the majority they are violent, and when they are predominant they are genocidal.

  4. 4
    olivercrangle

    Jonathan Turley’s blog is a good place to touch base with blasphemy, free speech issues globally. (And of course other civil libertarian issues.)

    The concerning issue is that he finds evidence that this is being pushed by a variety of countries at the UN, and even threatens the US.

    http://jonathanturley.org/2012/10/14/the-death-of-free-speech/

  5. 5
    Crudely Wrott

    Blasphemy does not offend the gods. What it does do is give the faithful an excuse to offend others without having to justify anything.

    And to cover their tracks.

    It is the lowest of subterfuges for it requires no effort beyond herd mentality.

    Cows, zebras, ants and the faithful. At least they are predictable.

  6. 6
    Jubal DiGriz

    I notice that both Greece and Ireland are having economic troubles where part of the recovery involves drastic cuts it government-provided social services.

    Hey people, come get your opium.

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