A 27-year-old man has been arrested in Greece on blasphemy charges after he made a satirical Facebook group mocking a renowned, deceased Greek Orthodox monk named Elder Paisios who supposedly performed miracles. The official charge was “Malicious Blasphemy and Religious Hubris.”
Wait, what? Blasphemy? Blasphemy is an actual crime in 2012? I blaspheme on a daily basis.
The day you can’t mock a religious figure on Facebook in the country that invented democracy is the day the concept of freedom basically decides it’s had enough of this s**t, it’s just not worth it anymore, and it’s going to pack up and leave. Hey, Greece, can you just stop f**king things up for a little while? Attempting to pull down the global economy wasn’t enough for you, now you need to murder free speech too?
I can’t even believe this is a real thing. Also, I find it rich that someone got arrested for “religious hubris” for mocking someone who claimed he could perform miracles. Does nobody see the flaw in the system there?
On the Facebook group page, the arrested individual would post fake articles about Elder Paisios such as “Elder Pastitsios the Pastafarian” and “The New Miracle from the Elder in Serres.”
The former refers to Pastafarianism, the fake internet religion based on the idea that the world was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Pastafarianism was created as a logical rebuke to a push in Kansas to teach “intelligent design” in schools. The Greek blasphemer clearly used this as guidance to mock the cult surrounding Elder Paisios.
The latter is a story about a miracle that supposedly occurred in the Greek region of Serres. The point was to show how people unthinkingly accepted any story about Elder Paisios’ miracles. It was filled with factual inaccuracies, in addition to being completely made up, and yet still spread like wildfire across the religious and right-wing press in Greece. Story after story repeated the article’s claims without bothering to source them. In fact, when members of the religious establishment of Serres began to speak out about the story not being true, they were frequently labeled as blasphemers themselves.
Eventually the Facebook group creator came forward and was greeted by a chorus of violent threats culminating in his arrest on September 21.
Way to go, Greece. Way to pull us all back to the 14th Century. I hope you’re proud.
If you want to do something about it, there is an online petition you can sign.