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Guest FriendofGreece

Should religious institutions be regulated?

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Guest FriendofGreece

Big news for Catholics! After decades of disagreement, the Vatican is on the brink of signing an agreement with China whereby China will provide a list of state-approved bishop nominations to the Vatican. The Vatican will then pick up the ones it wants to approve to be bishops. In doing so, Pope Francis hopes that the Chinese underground Church (not state-approved) will be liberated and on par with the state-approved Church. More than that though is the thought of evangelizing 1.3 billion Chinese in a period where the number of Church goers and believers is deteriorating. (I actually like Pope Francis because he has shown humility and humanity and seems closer to the populace.)

 

There are grumblings from some in the non-state approved Church on the basis that state-Vatican-approved bishops would be against the belief that Christians should only follow orders of Jesus and obey the Pope, rather than swear allegiance to and obey the rules of the nation in which they live. China, having been subjected to the cruelties brought by Bible-thumping-gun-in the-other-hand Christians in the past, is particularly sensitive to any interference by religious affiliations in its internal affairs. So it is understandable that they are taking measures not to have religious people revolts that disrupt the country's harmony and the lives of non-religious people. 

 

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/11/04/cardinal-zens-plea-to-vatican-accepting-chinas-fake-bishops-would-destroy-the-church/

 

We allow freedom of religion in the countries where we live. As a result, we see mosques, Buddhist temples, Jewish temples (?), etc. It seems Athens will have its first official mosque soon, whether the Greeks want it or not. My question is, should those religious houses of prayer and their leaders (imams, monks, priests, etc.) be subject to some sort of state regulations too, including the content of what they teach to the followers?

 

It seems to me that in a democracy where all citizens have equal rights, atheist and non-religious persons do not have to "suffer" from what religious people do. First, because those houses of prayer are funded somewhat by the state, I think but I am not sure. So, our taxpayer money goes there while it could have been used for hospitals and schools, etc. Secondly, if you are religious, well, pray in your own house, don't bother me with your religion and don't create problems in society because of your religion. So, as a compromise, at a minimum, I think there should be state regulations to govern all religious institutions. What those regulations should be is another story.

 

 

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As a first step religious institutions should be taxed. In Canada (from what I know) religious groups are not funded by the state. They are getting tax and other breaks though, and this is bad enough.

 

However, in countries like Greece - other than the tax breaks - the Christian Orthodox church is funded by the state too so no matter if you're Muslim, Buddhist, atheist or whatever else, your tax money fund the Christian Orthodox church. This of course goes back to a time where most Greeks were Christian Orthodox. Nowadays things have changed. Even though the majority of Greek people are still Christian Orthodox there are growing minorities of non-Christian Greeks and it's clearly unfair for them to be funding a religion they don't believe in.

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China wants things. They want to do biz in Europe and South America. So they can not afford to antagonise a Catholic church that holds enormous influence in those regions. The Chinese are less accommodating towards smaller religious groups that don't have that kind of influence.

 

Greece is a different story cause Greek identity is based on Orthodox Christianity. The first constitution of Greece defines a Greek as any resident of Greece that belongs to the Orthodox Church. The ethnic cleansing of non Christians who lived in Greece after liberation was in fact a constitutional mandate.

 

After the treaty of Lausanne Greece was forced to tolerate a Turkish Muslim minority. Which created a bit of a problem. How do you integrate an ethnic and religious minority into a Christian nation?

 

Greece followed, of course, the ottoman millet system and acknowledged the Turks of Thrace as a Muslim Millet. Meaning: they were acknowledged as a religious but not as an ethnic minority. And in order to exert control over religious minorities Greece instituted "Government sponsored Religion". So all muftis are Government employees, just as the Orthodox priests are. Unfortunately for Greece, Ataturks secular Turkey left Islam behind and promoted an Ethnic "Greater Turkish" national identity. That did of course made it Impossible for the, predominantly muslim, Turks of Thrace to identify themselves with a Greek state that still has the words "Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" in its constitution. The secular ones among them identify themselves, first and foremost, as Turks while the religious ones still follow the queues of their Greek Government employed muftis.

 

As soon as the Greek state loses control of the Muftis in Thrace, it will lose Thrace. And the voices on part of the Muslims in Thrace to isolate their religious affairs from the Greek state are growing louder.

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Guest FriendofGreece

According to the article below, the conflict between China and the Vatican goes back to the 1980's. I don't think that China is scared of antagonizing the Catholic Church. They have been making delas with the EU and South America merrily without the Vatican's "approval". I think though that the Chinese President recognizes the value of religion in a society that has become very materialistic. 

 

http://www.wsj.com/articles/vatican-china-mull-deal-on-selection-of-bishops-after-decades-of-division-1477844997

 

As for Greece, how many Turks are living in Thrace compared to Greeks?

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As for Greece, how many Turks are living in Thrace compared to Greeks?

Despite the fact that the Greek citizenship Law of 1955, which was in effect until 1998 deprived more than 50.000 Thracian Turks of their citizen ship and despite efforts to settle Greeks fro the former Soviet Union there the Muslims are today the majority in Thrace.

 

This is self evident in Komotini or Xanthi where Muslims are a clear majority. Oficialy the Greek state, for obvious reasons, claims that the Muslims are only 1/3 of the Thracian population but they do count only those who regularly attend official Mosques as Muslims. Once again the demographic reality differs from "Greek Statistics".

 

Not all the Thracian Muslims are Turks of course. About 40% of them are Gypsies but they care even less than the Turks about Greece.

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Guest FriendofGreece

This reminds me of the Tibetans (in Tibet) and the Turkic Muslim Uyhurs (in Xinjiang) wanting autonomy and freedom to practice their religions. There is no way China is going to allow them that.

 

Same thing, Greece should not allow the Thracian Muslims/Turks/Gypsies to separate Thrace from Greece. Should Greece give them Greek citizenship under the law, especially if they were born there? What is the reason it has not been given and do those people want to be Greek? If not, why don't they go to Turkey if they consider themselves Turks? Since they are in Greece, just follow Greek law.

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This reminds me of the Tibetans (in Tibet) and the Turkic Muslim Uyhurs (in Xinjiang) wanting autonomy and freedom to practice their religions. There is no way China is going to allow them that.

 

Same thing, Greece should not allow the Thracian Muslims/Turks/Gypsies to separate Thrace from Greece. Should Greece give them Greek citizenship under the law, especially if they were born there? What is the reason it has not been given and do those people want to be Greek? If not, why don't they go to Turkey if they consider themselves Turks? Since they are in Greece, just follow Greek law.

They don't go to Turkey because Thrace is their homeland and they follow Greek law only reluctantly cause it ain't theirs. They may be citizens but they are a distinct ethnic and religious collective. But, out of curiosity, does your suggestion for them to go to Turkey, even though they always lived in Greece, mean that there are limits to the definition of the "WE" as the people who live within a country?

 

If Greece were to apply this exclusion we could find ourselves in Serious trouble. We could see the muftis in Xanthi and Komotini calling the believers to arms after Friday prayers. And we could see those believers storming the local police stations and hanging Greek policemen. What should the Greek state do if it comes to that? Send in the army?

 

The very next day you'll see Thracian Turk women on Turk-CNN testifying under tears that the Greek army is using rape as a weapon. And on CNN proper Christiane Amanpour will express her outrage and call the world to stop Tsipras (or whomever) from killing his own people. And this would be the truth.

 

This is just a hypothetical but it is a real possibility cause on my planet "The Truth" is a product that is made in Truth Factories (such as CNN) according to customer specifications. And if there are important enough customers willing to pay for this kind of truth the manufacturers will deliver it and flood the market with it.

 

At the end, unlike China, Greece doesn't have the power to hold on to Thrace if the Turks claim it. And they will claim it as soon as they feel that such a move won't seriously hinder their greater geopolitical ambitions.

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Guest FriendofGreece

Doesn't Thrace belong legally to Greece, no matter the number of Muslims living there?

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Legaly?

 

Does your wallet belong to you after someone smacks a brick in your face and takes it?

 

Well, legalities don't matter much. Contracts and treaties become obsolete the moment one party decides to violate them.

Countries belong to the people who live in them. For now, 25% of the people living in Greece are foreign born or born to immigrant parents.

Down the road the majority of people living in Greece wont be native Greeks. Why should they call themselves Greeks or continue to call their country Greece?

 

Names come and go.

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