A Greek man could face two years in prison for blasphemy over a parody Facebook page, the Christian Science Monitor reported, in a case that highlights recent world debate over blasphemy.
The parody Pastafarian movement, which satires religion by venerating a "Flying Spaghetti Monster," was the inspiration for the page, which is cached here if you feel like seeing something totally scandalous this morning.
The Facebook site mocks Elder Pastitsios, a Greek-Orthodox monk, says the Christian Science Monitor, by conflating his face with an image of pastitsio, a sort of Greek lasagna. The young man accused—who has not been named—says he created the site to critique the commercialization of Elder Pastitsios since his 1994 death.
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Greece is one of the only European countries with blasphemy laws on the books, and the UNHCR notes that criticism of the President can also provoke legal action.
UNHCR's website on Greek blasphemy law states that the "Greek judiciary has argued in case law that Articles 198 and 199 are designed to protect not religion or religious doctrine per se, but rather social and religious peace and harmony."
This did not go over well with a parliamentary member of Golden Dawn, a neo-fascist group that has been gaining power since May, says the Christian Science Monitor. The parliamentary member alerted the Minister of the Social Order, and Greek police were able to track down the creator from his IP address.
The UK's Register wrote that Greek Pastafarians have come to the suspect's aid, protesting in Athens against the 27-year-olds arrest.
What are Pastafarians all about? Here's some info from their website:
"By design, the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma. That is, there are no strict rules and regulations, there are no rote rituals and prayers and other nonsense. Every member has a say in what this church is and what it becomes."
Sounds progressive. And here are some common Pastafarian beliefs:
"We believe pirates, the original Pastafarians, were peaceful explorers and it was due to Christian misinformation that they have an image of outcast criminals today.
We are fond of beer.
Every Friday is a religious holiday.
We do not take ourselves too seriously.
We embrace contradictions (though in that we are hardly unique)."