Free Greek Man Imprisoned for Blasphemy

Target: Members of Greek Parliament

Goal: Free man accused of blasphemy and exonerate him of all charges

Recently, a currently unidentified Greek man was taken into custody by authorities on charges of blasphemy and religious hubris. The young man’s crime was creating a Facebook page, entitled “Gerontas Pastitsios,” which supported the facetious “Pastafarian” religion, a satirical group founded in the U.S. that pokes fun at religion and opposes the teaching of intelligent design in public schools.

The Facebook group’s founder had been on the radar of various religious elements in Greece for some time now, notably Golden Dawn, Greece’s ultra-conservative, ultra-nationalistic, fascist party. It would seem his non-Christian beliefs did not sit well with the party (which has been accused of neo-Nazism). The Facebook page also drew ire for mocking a Greek Orthodox monk who had been reported to work miracles and published a false story which people were quick to believe.

Once it became clear that the story was false and that the author of it was actually joking about religion, he was quickly arrested. His rights to speak freely, and to hold his own thoughts and beliefs were abridged because he was in the spiritual minority. His thoughts scared people, hurt people’s feelings, tricked them, and made fun of their religion. It is the 21st century, not the 14th. We have moved beyond scared theocracies and witch-hunts; it is no longer a crime to think for yourself, or to hold an unpopular belief.

It is quite simply backwards and antiquated both to hold a person prisoner for blaspheming and to so viciously curtail their right to free speech. Let the Greek Parliament know that the global community will not stand for this ludicrous injustice.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Members of the Greek Parliament,

I am writing in regards to the man that has been taken into custody on charges of malicious blasphemy and religious hubris. The man poked a bit of fun at an alleged miracle worker on his Facebook page, and suggested that perhaps it is time for people to take a step away from blindly and dogmatically following religion. He has been jailed for it.

Ladies and gentlemen of Parliament, this is absurd. There is simply no room for actions and laws such as these in the context of a modern society. A supposedly democratic government should not be able to throw a citizen in jail for having a dissenting opinion. He did not put forth a call to violence, or cry for revolution or rioting. He simply had a joke at the expense of religion.

The fact that you have laws that actually prohibit free speech when it comes to criticizing religion is truly ludicrous and goes against the very definition of a free society. After all, how can a people truly be free if discussing and debating various topics can be punishable by up to two years in prison?

We abandoned witch-hunts and blindly following religious autocrats long ago. To imprison a man for formulating his own belief system or shunning religion is not a step forward for Greece or the world—it is a step backwards. To advance as a people we must embrace differences in opinion, learn from them, openly discuss and debate contentious issues in a safe way. That is the only way that progress can be made.

I would like for you to strike down your anti-blasphemy laws as a matter of free speech and progress, but more importantly please release and pardon the man  that has been arrested. He has committed no crime, just said what some people did not like to hear.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Wonderlane via flickr

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