Author: Effie Fokas

eds. Jeroen Temperman and András Koltay, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression: Comparative, Theoretical and Historical Reflections after the Charlie Hebdo Massacre, (2017) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 389-410

‘God’s advocates’ refers to a broad range of actors who individually and together form a support system for the existence and application of the blasphemy laws in Greece. Specifically, their aim is to purge the offences against God, Christianity, the Greek Orthodox Church, and against the religious sentiments of individuals, from the Greek public square. They are assisted in this by certain corners of the political and judicial class. This chapter describes the work of God’s advocates while presenting some of the most important cases in which the blasphemy laws have been applied in a number of fronts of Greek social and cultural life. The text then examines the subsequent political (and notably not legal) mobilization of activists and artists working both at the national and international level towards the abolishment of these laws.  Navigating between a highly active effort from amongst the ranks of the Orthodox Church and the multilevel forces in the campaign against the laws, the chapter brings to life the current volatile battle in the Greek political scene over the decriminalization of blasphemy, and offers insight into the indeterminateness of that battle’s outcome.

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