Constitutional revisions with regards to religion reforms prepared by the government have triggered a religious frenzy of such level that even Greek Orthodox hardliners would envy. “Religious neutrality” and scrapping the religious oath for lawmakers and the President of the Hellenic Republic will end up in banning public celebration of Christmas and removing the cross form the Greek flag. This was the fairly deliberate interpretation by a high-ranking member of conservative New Democracy aiming to decompose the SYRIZa proposal and spread disinformation, horror and Flag-and-Christmas shock.
It must have been one of the most populism moments of New Democracy at Skai TV, when MP Makis Voridis staged a show of obscurantism, religious fanaticism and Byzantine glorification – that ended in 1453.
“The cross will be removed from the flag and we will not be able to celebrate Christmas or set up the Nativity scene in public places,” Voridis claimed on Monday in an unprecedented performance of nonsense and canting rhetoric.
If SYRIZA’s proposals prevail Voridis claimed that:
- “there will be no icons of Jesus Christ in schools and court rooms and the religious oath will abandoned in general.”
- “Christmas will not be publicly celebrated and we will not be able to set up Cribs.”
- “The cross must be removed from the flag.”
“When you proclaim religious neutrality, you are in fact breaking with our identity and our traditions as they have been settled for hundreds of years. We are the heirs of the Byzantium and the balanced that existed between the Emperor and the Patriarch. This is what we inherited, this is what is reflected in our constitutions, our traditions. Tsipras asks to break down this history or ours,” he said among others.
“New Democracy has stated that this article in the Constitution will not be revised,” Voridis said.
Presenter Giorgos Aftias (left) is stunned to listen to Voridis’ (right) interpretation.
Hasn’t it be for the video circulating on news in websites and social media, one could have thought that what he was alleged to have said was fake news by ND political opponents.
Anyway, those directly affected by the relevant Constitutional revisions, the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church and Archbishop Ieronymus have asked the Prime Minister to clarify the term “religious neutrality.” The Holy Synod is expected to publish its official view on the issue tomorrow, Tuesaday.
PS on social media it is claimed that next to Christmas also traditional Greek Christmas cookies melomakarona and kourabiades will be banned and Santa will be arrested the moment he enters Greek soil or most likely Greek Air Space.
What on earth are they talking about? I love in one of the most religious neutral countries in the world. In October we had Islamic history month, now it Hinduism. We celebrate Christmas (publicly!), EID, Hanukkah, Diwali and everything else. In court you swear on a religious book – whatever that is: Bible, Koran, Baghavad Gita. Yes, there are no crosses in public places – courts, public schools, etc. – and no images. But that doesn’t mean I don’t put Byzantine icons in my window in my school library when it’s Greek Heritage month!
This is scare tactics along the lines of Donald Trump’s caravan fears: MS13, rampant diseases, terrorists, blah blah blah.
Weren’t some of these arguments used with Sunday shopping??
Mary there is a big difference between ‘Greek Heritage month” (wow, a whole month – what country do you live in?) and living NOT with a memory but a live tradition and faith. You could ask instead why Orthodoxy and live Christian belief is apparently so repugnant to not only the EU but the once Christian West. You could ask also why no western newspaper reports on the genocide of and terror against Christian communities in the middle east. Christian belief in Greece has hurt nobody and doesn’t forbid other beliefs.
Voridis may be a clown but this statement is a simple fact:
“When you proclaim religious neutrality, you are in fact breaking with our identity and our traditions as they have been settled for hundreds of years. We are the heirs of the Byzantium and the balanced that existed between the Emperor and the Patriarch. This is what we inherited, this is what is reflected in our constitutions, our traditions.”
Since Orthodoxy and Christianity protects other faiths and the stranger, as well documented world wide and evidenced by the Greek state, the Orthodox church and the Greeks themselves in their actions towards the migrants, why should the West/ EU (as represented by Tsipras) interfere in what has been exemplary?
Greece! You had a chance to get out of the EU in 2010 and 2015. Do it now before it is too late. Orbán, Kurz, Salvini, Babis, and Poland may not succeed in transforming it. Stop being psychologically so dependent on this idea of the Euro. What is the use of a stable currency if you don’t have any because it all went to the banksters?
the Voice from Hades
Tsigantes: There are a number of your statements with which I disagree, but I will not pursue them but rather let them lie.
The emphasis is not to be the “greek heritage month” upon which you landed, but rather the fact that we have religious neutrality and yet celebrate everything, and publicly. If you came to Toronto (in Canada where I live), you would see nativity scenes not only in front of churches but also in front of individual homes. You would see that mose public squares have a decorated Christmas tree and other “christmas” related symbols.
As I mentioned earlier, while there are no religious symbols in courts and schools any longer, people swear upon whatever holy book is relevant to them. If you choose to have your children attend a school in which religion is emphasized, that is also available to you.
I DO object, however, to your saying that we live with a “memory” of tradition and faith. The diaspora often keeps the traditions quite strongly as we are all living up to the memories that our parents and grandparents brought with them. Οταν ημουν παιδι αυτο καναμε and Αυτο ειναι το εθιμο και ετσι πρεπει να το κανεις (και τοτε) are things we often hear.
As to the “greek heritage month” this is an initiative from the largest school board in the province to draw attention to the various cultures and religions that co-exist within our staff and students. I, myself, prefer NO heritage months as they pay only lip service and are there to make everyone look good. However, as it is what it is, these months allow any of the spotlighted cultures to fully display ALL aspects of their culture.