Editorial: The traumatic relationship between the Church and State
The relationship between political authority and the Church for self-serving political…
The relationship between political authority and the Church for self-serving political purposes has been deeply problematic for years. Time and again we have seen politicians attempt to attract believers by winning over various representatives of the official Church. Everyone, including politicians, is entitled to their religious beliefs; so long as they do not remember them during electoral showdowns or worse yet, “trade” them for electioneering purposes.
The tight embrace between state and political authority with the Church representatives is not beneficial to either side. In the recent past we had the divisive conflict on the inclusion of religious beliefs on identity cards, which resurfaces every so often with various excuses and pretexts, harming both the Church and the political system.
Nobody doubts the fact that the majority of the Greek people identifies with the Christian Orthodox faith. This persona and spiritual relationship however cannot be associated with state authority. Nor can the representatives of the Church demand, as a birthright, to enforce rules on public life or the education process.
It should also be clear that fundamental human rights, such as religious freedom, are not resolved in well-governed societies by referenda, as the Archbishop hinted on Tuesday. Obviously what is needed is public debate, calmness and pragmatism, not divisive political conflicts, such as the ones that will result from a referendum.
The cries of some passionate and extreme clerics, as well as some politicians, does not suit the role of the Church, nor do they help a society that is already deeply traumatized and divided over the ongoing crisis. Everyone must realize this, for the good of the Church and State.