Greece Grapples with Blasphemy

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This is my op-ed that appears in the print edition of the April/May 2013 issue of Free Inquiry magazine.

Nowhere is the European crisis that followed the Wall Street crash of 2008—and especially the subsequent effort to combat it—felt more sharply than in Greece. The country is suffering an economic depression after five years of rapidly declining output with no end in sight as it fails to meet the demands of the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who are since a 2010 bailout its largest creditors. Greece is also one of the largest entry points for immigrants into the EU—many of them asylum seekers—with the result that an estimated 10 percent of the population are not citizens and are widely portrayed in the local media as dangerous criminals.

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Greek artist acquitted of blasphemy charges

While the Corpus Christi and “Elder Pastitsios” pending blasphemy cases have grabbed most of the headlines, this is a case I was not aware of. Given the timing with Greek Orthodox Easter this weekend, this is a very timely and interesting case, which thankfully ended in an acquittal.

On the way to Ithaca

On March 14th, 2013, Greek artist Dionysis Kavalieratos was tried in court on blasphemy charges brought on him by members of the ultra-conservative “Genuine Orthodox Christians” Church (the Greek Old Calendarists, that also starred in the “Corpus Christi” charade). The charges were due to the following three sketches exhibited by the artist in a private art gallery (the owner of the venue was a co-defendant).

(Click to enlarge)

Happy Easter
Starring: Jesus as the lamb of god, Virgin Mary as Medea, God as the Devil, Devil as God, Sir Winston Churchill as himself.
 
Seven Dicks Jesus
offering a multi blowjob to the Lernea Hydra,the nine headed monster. The two remaining heads eat manna bread falling from the sky.

Hidden in Napoleon’s Boudoir
are the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus and Satan;
they’re being flashed by Napoleon.

The trial was more or less a farce. Most of the hostile…

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