Friday, May 11, 2018

The disgrace
of Metaxas' law banning proselytism
still in place at Greece /

Το αίσχος
του νόμου του Μεταξά
για την απαγόρευση του προσηλυτισμού
ακόμη σε ισχύ στην Ελλάδα

All of the above is, rather unfortunately, fully in line with Greece’s record in relation to the ECtHR on matters of religion. The Kokkinakis v. Greece (1993) case was the first in which the Court found a violation of religious freedom; this case was a watershed, opening the floodgates on what would evolve to be an incredibly powerful role played by the ECtHR in the domain of religious freedom across the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. Today nearly 20% of all religious freedoms violations are against a single state: Greece. The problems faced by Kokkinakis, a Jehovah’s Witness arrested over 60 times for proselytism, are now rarely experienced by religious minorities in Greece. But the fact that the Metaxas law banning proselytism is still in place, formally if not much used in practice, remains problematic. So too the Metaxas law on blasphemy, which is much more alive today (see the ‘Geron Pastitsios’ case, the closing down of Hyterion’s staging of Corpus Christi, and many more examples). And religious minority groups continue to face difficulties related to inequalities in their legal status as religious groups. One may hope that on such issues the Greek state will not be found in the future, again, offering too little too late and trailing behind developments at the ECtHR.

* Effie Fokas, Too little, too late for religious freedom in Greece?, Public Orthodoxy, May 10, 2018.

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