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Man Arrested In Greece For "Blasphemous" Facebook Page 412

Posted by timothy
from the where-you-can-be-crucified-but-not-cremated dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A 27-year old man was arrested yesterday in Greece (Greek-language original) by the electronic crime police, for creating a Facebook page "Geron Pastitsios" which made fun of an extremely respected Orthodox Christian monk who lived in Mount Athos, as well as the Greek Church. The arrest came promptly after the Greek far-right party — which holds 7% of the parliament seats — submitted an official petition asking the government to take down the page. The charges that the young man faces are 'blasphemy' and 'disrespect to the religious beliefs of others.'" What would the UN say?
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Man Arrested In Greece For "Blasphemous" Facebook Page

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:13PM (#41451659)

    with all this freedom of speach.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:45PM (#41452253)

      with all this freedom of speach.

      Thankfully, we've cracked down on the freedom of snectarine.

    • Bout 2 and half milenia since Socrates and this guys cant get it through their thick head. Really, human stupidity knows no bounds.

  • bread and circuses (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Well, perhaps this kind of controversy is exactly what the Greek government needs to turn attention away from the economy.

    • by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @01:18PM (#41452855)

      Well, perhaps this kind of controversy is exactly what the Greek government needs to turn attention away from the economy.

      And yet my first tought upon reading this was "so this is how the Greeks use the bailout we gave them."

      Oh, well. At least we now know that all that whining about budget cuts was all lies, since they can fund an inquisition. Nobody expected that.

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:15PM (#41451689)
    Tracking down those vile criminals, one bit at a time.
  • by tokul (682258) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:16PM (#41451713)
    'blasphemy' is anachronism from middle ages. 'disrespect to the religious beliefs of others.' is exactly what he have done.
    • by readin (838620) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:20PM (#41451779)

      'blasphemy' is anachronism from middle ages. 'disrespect to the religious beliefs of others.' is exactly what he have done.

      And it should be legal.

      • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @01:05PM (#41452603) Journal

        'blasphemy' is anachronism from middle ages. 'disrespect to the religious beliefs of others.' is exactly what he have done.

        And it should be legal.

        It should be mandatory. All religions are crazy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Natales (182136)
        Sam Harris has a very good post on the freedom to offend an imaginary god [richarddawkins.net]. It was written with a focus on the unrest in the Middle East, but it's equally applicable to this particular case.
        • by readin (838620) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @03:24PM (#41455123)
          If your argument is that you should be free to offend something imaginary, then you'll lose the argument because the people you're arguing with don't believe it is imaginary. The key to the success of American religious tolerance is not that we believe religion is imaginary and therefor that various beliefs are harmless. The key to our religious tolerance is that we believe people have an inherent right to be wrong. We believe in conversion by choice, and that conversion by sword is not allowed.

          If you expect to make the argument that because their god is imaginary Muslims shouldn't get upset at offenses, you're not arguing for religious tolerance; you're arguing that your religion is better than theirs.
    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:21PM (#41451805)
      By holding onto one set of beliefs, you implicitly disrespect all other sets of beliefs whether you want it or not.
      • by wcrowe (94389)

        Insightful? What you just stated is "one set of beliefs", which means you're no better than anyone else.

        • If ir is a belief, it's a belief about beliefs, or a meta-belief, if you prefer. I'm not versed in this area of thought processes, but isn't there a certain set of rules for this that most reasonable people accept? And I'm sorry for being disrespectful to your beliefs, but the other part ("which means you're no better than anyone else") feels like a strong non-sequitur to me. In cases where there is a single objective reality, at most one person out of a set of persons with different beliefs about reality c
        • by spire3661 (1038968) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @01:19PM (#41452871) Journal
          Thats the point. EVERY single human being has their own individual set of beliefs. To go around making sure everyone is on the same page is madness. To go around FORCING the issue is evil.
      • Disagreeing and disrespecting aren't the same thing.
        • by raydobbs (99133)

          Sadly, few of the ultra-religious see the difference between the two anymore. Not being with them means your against them, not agreeing with them means you disrespect and hate everything they hold dear - no tolerance, no compromise, no glittering future. Just the likely ending of our hands around their necks, and their hands around ours as the world as we know it fades to black.

          Forever.

        • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @01:10PM (#41452701)

          Disagreeing and disrespecting aren't the same thing.

          For rational people, no. For religious people, well, you're sort of out of luck on this. If you believe that Allah is the one true god and that anyone else is deluded and should be either reeducated, taxed, or criminally prosecuted, and then I come and hold the belief that all this religious stuff is just a memetic parasite living on a biological/neurological substrate grown for some quirky evolutionary reason within the past few dozen millennia, it's difficult to me to imagine that person telling me "All right, I don't see your naturalistic point of view as an affront to my faith." If anything, news from the Middle East convinced me that the reality is exactly the opposite one.

        • by lgw (121541)

          Disagreeing and disrespecting aren't the same thing.

          And so? You have no legal protection from being offended, nor should you. Freedom of speech is entirely freedom of offensive speech. Anyone should be able to legally disrespect anyone else, and anyone else's beliefs.

          Throwing a temper tantrum and exploding all ove the place just because you were offended is immoral and wrong.

      • by hazah (807503)
        I respectfully disagree.
      • Not if you are a Universalist. All religions are correct. Even the ones that say Universalists are incorrect.

        An infinite, onmipotent God is big enough to be an Atheist, Baptist, Catholic, Pastafarian, Hindu, Moslem, ... at the same time.

        When you get to heaven/hell, you get a private heaven/hell, created just for you, with exactly what you expect. So does everyone else.
        • So I just have to expect hell to be a happy place, and then I can do whatever evil I want and as "punishment" I get brought to a happy place after death? :-)

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @01:54PM (#41453529) Homepage Journal

        By holding onto one set of beliefs, you implicitly disrespect all other sets of beliefs whether you want it or not.

        Untrue. I'm a Christian, but the year I was in Thailand I gained a LOT of respect for the Bhuddists. It depends on what beliefs you're talking about. I don't have to believe in reincarnation or karma to respect those who do.

        However, when a belief is obviously brain-dead stupid, like electing someone who is exactly like Bush will have a different result than the clusterfuck that was his administration, I can't respect that. Stupid doesn't deserve respect.

    • by pla (258480) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:30PM (#41451987) Journal
      'disrespect to the religious beliefs of others.' is exactly what he have done.

      People need to earn my respect. You don't automatically get it by virtue of your gender, you don't get it because of your age, you don't get it because you have nice hair, you don't get it because some morons voted for you... And you certainly don't get it just because you have the older fairy tale.

      When you can rephrase a law that still amounts to an anachronism in a way that it doesn't refer to thoughtcrime, let me know.


      We need to get over this BS of "religious tolerance". I "tolerate" anything that doesn't affect me. If your brand of delusions negatively affect me, then no, I will not tolerate that.
      • by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:37PM (#41452083)

        Having to earn respect is a lot different from deserving disrespect. And we all have delusions, which quite often negatively effect others. The point of tolerance is to prevent one brand of delusion from harming another (or from harming something that isn't a delusion, but also can't be proven as such, therefore causing other people who disagree to brand it as a delusion).

    • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:49PM (#41452321) Journal

      I have a religious belief that free speech is sacred, and any restriction on that speech is disrespectful to my religion.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:18PM (#41451737) Homepage

    As the founder of the 42nd New Reformed Neo-Rebel Orthodox Pastafarian Church (newly created, 30 seconds ago), I find that all laws against blasphemy are blasphemous against my religion.

    So such laws must be eliminated because they are self-violating.

  • How the hell they managed to lift the privacy of the user and give his name to the public so quickly... I really doubt there is such a fast lane for any other crime. Obviously, a "Barbara Streisand" effect has ensued on the Greek blogosphere and Facebook pages were similar pages have popped up.

    • by sumdumass (711423) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:33PM (#41452037) Journal

      The "Barbara Streisand" effect can actually be hazardous for the accused here. Supposing that the charge is actually valid enough to surpass a cursory ruling of the courts, his crime is essentially the equivilent of pointing something out that makes someone else look bad in public. If a lot more public are now aware of it, then potentially the harm or problems these actions caused are now compounded.

      Blasphemy laws are not necessarily about hiding the certain speech. They are more to the point of stopping it altogether. The bigger the exposure the bigger the penalty might be in order to discourage the behavior in the future. Of course people outside of Greece's jurisdiction don't really need to worry about them.

  • Petition... (Score:5, Informative)

    by kyriosdelis (1100427) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:20PM (#41451777)
    ...to repeal the Greek blasphemy law is here [change.org].
  • Politics (Score:5, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:20PM (#41451787)

    Politics is the same everywhere. I'm guessing it's an election year in Greece too. Politicians doing outlandish things they know will never hold up in any court is what we call "tuesday" across the pond. Conservatives over here have done things like pass laws forbidding global warming. Not research into it, or funding for it, but global warming itself. They've made being the Earth a crime. Elsewhere in America, there is a state now where, by law, every woman is pregnant. No, I'm not joking -- they legislated the definition of conception to be two weeks before sexual contact. No more virgins here, good sirs! Still no word on whether they're allowed to use the car pool lanes.

    And those aren't even examples of religious non-sense, which makes the above examples look positively civil by comparison. *hugs* Greek citizens, we feel your pain too.

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      The scariest thing here is that you pretend to be informed enough to vote and one would assume you actually attempt the process. Politics being the same elsewhere is probably the closest truth in your post.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ethanms (319039)

      Conservatives over here have done things like pass laws forbidding global warming

      They've made being the Earth a crime

      in America, there is a state now where, by law, every woman is pregnant

      Seriously... wtf are you talking about? You either need to put down the crack pipe, or provide legitimate citations for these (and then pass the crack pipe over here)

  • by Aardpig (622459) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:20PM (#41451793)

    The monks on Mount Athos have a quite a history of corruption and greed (see, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatopedi_monastery#Land_deal_controversy [wikipedia.org]). I wonder if this blasphemy case is a retaliatory measure against a whistleblower?

  • by readin (838620) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:24PM (#41451865)
    So when someone makes a video attacking Islam, he's called "far right" and it is the moderates who make his film illegal and ban him from their country (as the UK did to Geert Wilders). But when someone makes a facebook page attacking Orthodox Christians, he's a moderate and the people who want the facebook banned are called "far right".

    Just trying to make sure I understand the definition of "far right".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OakDragon (885217)
      As per usual, it's sloppy shorthand for "do not like".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      far right: (adj) political ideology that predisposes adherents to passive-aggressive whining about how no one likes them

    • Just trying to make sure I understand the definition of "far right".

      I think it refers to the same group of Greek politicians that once put thousands of Greek leftists into concentration camps.

    • So when someone makes a video attacking Islam, he's called "far right" and it is the moderates who make his film illegal and ban him from their country (as the UK did to Geert Wilders). But when someone makes a facebook page attacking Orthodox Christians, he's a moderate and the people who want the facebook banned are called "far right".

      Just trying to make sure I understand the definition of "far right".

      Conservatism (and thus "right", including "far right"), because it includes defense of traditional instit

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Geert Wilders campaigns against state subsidy. Yeah that makes him part of the right.

      The definition of right is relative and amounts to the party with more support for the social hierarchy. Far right groups are groups that support the innately superiority of some groups generally racial discrimination but can also refer to support for noble families i.e. monarchists. Wilders is someone who supports strong anti-Islamic policies which effectively have strong racial undertones.

      Conversely the attackers on th

    • Just trying to make sure I understand the definition of "far right".

      There is no definition possible without the context. You can't put even the US parties on a simple one dimensional axis and there are only two of them. And what about Libertarian party, are the right or left? If you have to have a simple chart that maps out political opinions I prefer this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Political_chart.svg [wikipedia.org] Basically I think we need up and down as well as left and right.

  • Crappy right-wing deregulation & economic policymaking is allowed. Fighting illegal wars against far weaker enemies is allowed, with massive civilian casualties. Being an anti-immigration racist is allowed. ---- But show an exposed female nipple on TV, or say something negative about the Church or Clergy, and they will hunt you down, brother! --------- These people need to get a life.. Whatever this man said online, its freedom of speech! Love it or hate it...
  • by GungaDan (195739) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:26PM (#41451897) Homepage

    Did one of them finally pay taxes?

  • the rules of your club to people who aren't in your club.

    This just in:
    My belief states I always get to play the ship piece in monopoly. Anyone who says otherwise should be arrested for blasphemy. If Parker Brothers stop putting the piece in the game, then they are committing blasphemy.

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:27PM (#41451921) Homepage Journal

    Greek government is blaspheming against Zeus, the true god of Greece. Time to arrest them all and put Sam Worthington (son of Zeus) in charge.

  • by WilliamGeorge (816305) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:33PM (#41452025)

    For this sort of behavior on the part of others claiming to be Christians. I don't want to be persecuted for speaking my mind and what I believe, and so I do not believe anyone should be arrested or harmed for speaking out or posting things online. There is a fine line to walk when things become violent (death threats) or obscene (pornographic), but in so far as possible we need to be open and free in dialog if we want to have civil and prosperous societies.

    This is one of the few things that is still great about the US (where I live), though it is slipping day by day even here. But arresting someone for what they post? Or worse, in Islamic areas, killing people for what *others* post? I don't see how that sort of behavior can lead to anything good.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:34PM (#41452043) Journal

    Doesn't blasphemy require attacking actual deities or assorted holy objects/texts/persons, rather than mere religious functionaries, however pious?

    If anything, isn't it (in the context of an ostensible monotheism, like eastern orthodoxy) verging on blasphemy to assert that satire against a mere man is blasphemous?

    Obviously, religious functionaries have the same interest in conflating their own status with the priviliged status accorded to dieties, just as politicians generally do their best to conflate their own persons and administrations with lofty things like 'Nation' and 'The Office of the President'; but, in both cases, it is actually a vital part of the protection of the genuinely venerated things to mock and dissuade the assorted grifters who attempt to parasitize them. Not doing that swiftly turns your religion into a cult or your government into an autocracy...

    • by hazah (807503)
      Do you really think this is about actual blasphamy?
      • Not in the slightest. I'm pretty certain that this is the Greek fascists playing a little game of 'one nation, one people, one god' or some similar variant of the assorted sordid little tales of enforced unity that litter human history.

  • by synir (731266) <arkandel@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:35PM (#41452057)
    The extreme right-wing party in question - let's call it what it is, neofascist - has been a much mocked tiny minority for the last thirty years or so in Greece. They ran magazines praising the values of Hitler's Germany, the old dodecatheon (I kid you not) of Zeus and Hera and kept to their own niche of society talking about ancient aliens that gifted the race with superweapons waiting for the day to come to rise again. But no more. When the economy took a dramatic downturn they turned their preaching toward populism instead. Gone are the mentions of the Gods from any speeches or articles now that they figured they can catch a lot more followers (and votes) by supporting the most fanatical aspects of the Orthodox Church instead. So this is what it's all about. An opportunity to appeal to the masses as defending Christianity when several of their higher ups weren't even Christians up to a few years ago, and a party openly supporting racism making a bid for political power any way they can get it. They could care less about the venerable monk.
  • by dargaud (518470) <[ten.duagradg] [ta] [2todhsals]> on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:38PM (#41452107) Homepage
    -- Roman law maxim [wikiquote.org]
  • Just to speak out (Score:5, Informative)

    by jdavidb (449077) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:42PM (#41452211) Homepage Journal

    I am a Christian. I am not Orthodox, but I have enjoyed reading about their church and traditions online, and I have a lot of respect for them as compared to a lot of Protestantism.

    But this is intolerable. Requiring anybody to respect anything is slavery and is an unChristian violation of liberties. The Bible says in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 15 that the church's judgment is to be enforced only within the church. Even St. Paul the Apostle expressly denied that he had any authority to judge those who are outside of the church.

    This is wrong, immoral, and unChristian.

    • But since our discourse has now turned to the subject of blasphemy, I desire to ask one favor of you all, in return for this my address, and speaking with you; which is, that you will correct on my behalf the blasphemers of this city. And should you hear any one in the public thoroughfare, or in the midst of the forum, blaspheming God; go up to him and rebuke him; and should it be necessary to inflict blows, spare not to do so. Smite him on the face; strike his mouth; sanctify your hand with the blow, and

    • by geekoid (135745)

      I don't think that's correct. Link?

    • by wcrowe (94389)

      I am an Orthodox Christian and what little I've seen from the article the Facebook page is highly offensive. Elder Paisios was an unassuming, humble monk, who was a great spiritual teacher and loved by many. Making fun of him would be like picking on Mother Teresa or someone like that. Nevertheless, I think an arrest is uncalled for.

      I would also like to point out that the over-reaction to the page is coming from political quarters. To my knowledge, the Church is not behind this.

      • by jdavidb (449077)

        Making fun of him would be like picking on Mother Teresa or someone like that. Nevertheless, I think an arrest is uncalled for.

        Exactly.

        I would also like to point out that the over-reaction to the page is coming from political quarters. To my knowledge, the Church is not behind this.

        Christians are responsible for doing right all of the time, not just when they are representing the church. They cannot put on dark hoods and form a club and then lay the blame for their misdeeds at the feet of the club. Even if the club is political. Christians are always the Body of Christ, and I hope that the Orthodox Church teaches this.

    • The Bible says in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 15 that the church's judgment is to be enforced only within the church. Even St. Paul the Apostle expressly denied that he had any authority to judge those who are outside of the church.

      They [wikipedia.org] didn't [wikipedia.org] get [wikipedia.org] the [wikipedia.org] memo [wikipedia.org].

  • by srussia (884021) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:43PM (#41452215)
    This could be construed as "incendiary", like in Holocaust denial laws in Germany, or yelling "fire" in a crowded theater (bad pun intended).

    Getting fined in California for selling foie gras, or jailed for growing grass strikes me as far more absurd.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      If some having an opinion about you religion, ad you don't like it? grow the fuck up. The only people that should be thrown into prison are the people KILLING other people becasue they don't like what someone else said.

    • by lgw (121541)

      If you allow the "heckler's veto", you have no free speech. If you outlaw inconvenient speech as "hate speech", you have no free speech. If you outlaw speech just because those offended throw a really big temper tantrum and embarrass the grown-ups, you have no free speech.

      Freedom of offensive speech is the only free speech.

  • You have been found guilty by the elders of the town of uttering the name of our Lord, and so, as a blasphemer...you are to be stoned to death.
  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @12:52PM (#41452379)

    A 27-year old man was arrested yesterday in Greece (Greek-language original) by the electronic crime police

    look, can't we just remove their batteries or reboot them or something? maybe a re-install is needed?

  • by etash (1907284) on Tuesday September 25, 2012 @01:39PM (#41453305)
    this guy had this page for a long time. he was mocking a (dead now) religious figure (father Paisios) who is supposed to have prophesied a lot of thing about the future of Greece and how Greece will take back lands from Turkey etc. etc. This father Paisios is very famous among the right-wing-religious-low-education nutjobs in Greece. Also a big deal of those prophecies have been constructed by others after his death. Also he is known for "miracles" that he has made after his death ( saving people blabla )

    The problem was not the site that his guy had in facebook making fun of paisios. What hurt the religious nutjobs in Greece was the fact that this 27 years old guy, recently ( august if i'm not mistaken ) fabricated a new miracle of Paisios ( a story of how the mother of a young boy who had an accident and was in critical condition, visited the tomb of Paisios and the next day the boy miraculously came out of his coma ). So he spread word of his own fabricated miracle to a couple of Greek religious blogs and from then it was very easy for the most part of the (right,religious) Greek blogosphere and news site to reproduce the news. Hell, even a newspaper had a whole front page cover story on the miracle. The miracle was also front page in the Greek neo-nazi party ( golden dawn ) website

    link with screenshots of the story where he confessed his prank: http://vlahatasamis.blogspot.gr/2012/08/blog-post_1999.html [blogspot.gr]

    You can imagine now how the story ended. The guy came forward and said "gotcha, the miracle wasn't real, I just imagined it". So he actually trolled them and they bit hard. Of course that hurt a lot, and from that point it was only "logical" that those right-wing guys would ask for his arrest. The golden dawn party indeed brought the issue to the parliament .. and you know the rest.

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