“Interfaith”?

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Phallic procession of Dionysos hosted by Labrys, copyright Labrys 2016. http://www.labrys.gr/

Galina Krasskova recently published a great article outlining the issues faced by polytheists in an interfaith environment.

And today I woke up to this blog post from the Universal Life Church Monastery, an interfaith church that offers free ordaining to members and supposedly recognises all religions with its two tenets being:

– Do only that which is right.

– Every individual is free to practice their religion in the manner of their choosing, as mandated by the First Amendment, so long as that expression does not impinge upon the rights or freedoms of others and is in accordance with the government’s laws.

Reading the post one gets the impression that Hellenic Polythiesm is a “new trend”, (the post actually asks this of readers), it also highlights an act of crime which Hellenic Polytheists are blamed for without proof.

The crime occurred last month (June 2016) at the Church of Zoodochou Pigis in Iraklio, Crete. Where 13 sacred icons were defaced with faeces. The vandal wrote “This one’s courtesy of Zeus,” on the wall. It was reported in the Greek Reporter by Philip Chrysopoulos* under the title “More Greeks Turn to Worship of Ancient Gods” designed to give an impression that it is reporting Hellenic Polytheism but it actually tilted against it. This report has thus been covered by other the Christian Times and the Universal Life Church Monastery.

Apart from the graffiti on the wall there is no proof that this crime was committed by any Hellenic Polytheist, or by members of Labyrs or YSEE.

So what we see here is a prime example of what Krasskova is discussing in her article. How the interfaith community simply will not accommodate polytheism. What’s more, it actively derides it and supports monotheism.

 

I left a comment on the Universal Life Church Monastery blog post (appears it was not approved and was deleted, *update: it has been since writing.):

“1. Hellenic Polytheism isn’t new, at least not as the article states. We had people returning to paganism in the 19th century (some Greeks claim that it never died out), in the 1970’s groups started forming with more intent towards traditional devotion, instead of the ideals of Neo-paganism and Wicca, these groups started publishing newsletters, magazines and books. In the 1990’s the internet helped spread it more. Modern Hellenic polytheism is international too, there are large groups in the US, Europe (outside of Greece), followers (like myself) in Australia and elsewhere. It’s not a fad.
2. The only other source I’ve found of the faeces on the icon is from a Greek right wing orthodox reporter. Neither Labyrs or YSEE has claimed responsibility for it. Basically there is no proof that it was done by anyone who is related to the wider Hellenic polytheist community in Greece – for all we know it was some kids. This crime is being used as a smear tactic against Hellenic polytheists, who ideally wouldn’t commit such acts because their faith has taboos against uncleanliness.
3. There has been indeed religious intolerance, but those acts are from Orthodox Christians, including firebombing a book store, the patriarch publicly declaring Hellenics insane, the government refusing to allow public worship in sacred sites and denying petitions to EU which allows religious freedoms.

In conclusion if you want to report this growing and developed religion get your facts straight, interview the other side instead of using it as a platform to continue misinfo and hate.”

 

*(I’ve been informed from a Greek national that Chrysopoulos is known for his opinionated pieces with right wing and orthodox Christian leaning.)

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3 thoughts on ““Interfaith”?

  1. Just so you know, I read all the comments on the ULC Monastery article. Some of them are pretty dang nasty, but your comment was indeed approved. (As of this writing, it is located at the very bottom.) As a minister ordained in the ULC Monastery, I wanted you to know that.

    Liked by 1 person

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