Yet Another Reason to be Thankful for the US Constitution

Many people seem to think that blasphemy laws are only an issue in Islamic nations.  Those people are unfortunately sadly mistaken.  Without strong freedom of speech protections embedded in the fabric of the government, any nation is at risk of having certain religious groups insist that their “right” to not be offended trumps any right of free speech.  Today’s blasphemy law story, brought to us by Ed Brayton and Dispatches from the Culture Wars, is frightening not only because of the actions of the state, but due to the grassroots fascism on display in the populace.

Once again we have evidence that support for blasphemy laws is not limited only to Muslims or Muslim-dominated countries. Greece has canceled a performance of a Terrence McNally play and filed charges against those involved in the production for insulting religion.

A production of “Corpus Christi” in Athens was canceled this month after weeks of almost daily protests outside the theatre by priests and right-wing groups, including deputies from the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party.

Charges of “insulting religion” and “malicious blasphemy” have been filed after Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus lodged a lawsuit against those involved in the play, the officials said…

If found guilty, Vasiliou and the other defendants could face several months in prison. A trial date has not been set yet.

How scary is this?

They also formed a mob to keep the play from being put on:

Dozens of demonstrators, including some from Golden Dawn, blocked the entrance of the theatre and clashed with police on the night of the play’s premiere last month.

Bearded black-robed priests holding crosses were shown on television tearing up posters promoting the play. A powerful institution, the Orthodox Church plays an influential role in Greek society.

While you are listing the things you are thankful for tomorrow, before eating yourself sick, make sure to include the First Amendment.

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