Greece: government minister warns public to fear the ‘non-religious’

  • post Type / General news
  • Date / 23 May 2023

Humanists International stands in solidarity with the Humanist Union of Greece in condemning derogatory social media statements made by Adonis Georgiadis – Vice-President of the governing conservative party New Democracy and Minister of Development and Investments.

On 5 May 2023, Georgiadis posted a 17-second video clip to Twitter ahead of national legislative elections – which were held on 21 May. In the video, Georgiadis answered the question “Is whether someone is religious or not a serious selection criterion for a voter?” with:

“Each voter decides for himself what is serious for him and what is not; I will tell you my opinion, a man who has fear of God in him has limits, a man who has no fear of God has no limits, you should fear him.”

At the time of writing, the video had more than 331,600 likes.

Human rights defender and humanist leader, Panayote Dimitras

Panayote Dimitras, Spokesperson for the Humanists Union of Greece, commented:

“In telling the public to fear the non-religious, Mr Georgiadis has violated Greece’s own anti-racism legislation that prohibits and punishes incitement to hatred. Such acts, by a government minister in a state with an official Christian religion are also in violation of Twitter’s hateful conduct policy. As such, the Humanist Union of Greece has urged Twitter to address this tweet in line with its policy.”

According to Humanists International’s Freedom of Thought Report, the Greek Orthodox Church receives systematic privilege compared to other religion or belief groups, with religion still firmly woven into the fabric of major institutions. As a result, the non-religious in the country face discrimination and social stigma.

Tania Giacomuzzi Mota, Humanists International’s European Advocacy Officer, stated:

“The statement made by Adonis Georgiadis is deeply concerning; it not only perpetuates discrimination but also undermines the principles of equality, freedom of thought, and secularism. Every citizen, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof, should be treated with respect and dignity.”

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

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