When faith gets organized ...
25 April, 2013
When faith gets organized ...
Christian Orthodox Religion in Georgia is a sacred topic, not to be discussed or criticized at any given point. No religious person likes to have his beliefs questioned or threatened, not even to be debated. Most fevered religious followers, including a large number of mamaos (Georgian priests) have very limited knowledge of the bible or the teachings of Jesus Christ. If they did not, they would know that judging other people is not considered a Christian characteristic to be proud
of in the Good book. I’ve tried to talk to a mamao once, asked him about Saint George and his origins. He looked right through me and answered only when my father asked him the same question. He did not know the answer. A religious friend of mine was seven months pregnant and went to ask her mamao if it was okay to skip markhva because her doctor advised her to. Her mamao said the doctor worked for the devil and to starve herself if she wanted her child to go to heaven in the future. If she had listened to him she and her child might have ended up there sooner than later.
It is hard to take these bearded unhappy men seriously in this century. It would be one thing if they imparted any sort of wisdom instead of always barking at people who come to church 10 minutes till 5 (5 pm is the closing time for a lot of business transactions). It would be easier to listen to them if they did not partake in politics and did not sanction such ridiculous ideas as ID cards being the work of the devil. If, just for appearances sake, they would stay away from driving Mercedes and wearing gold fat chains while the country is supposedly broke.  It would be easier to even support them financially if the government wasn’t shelling out over 20 million a year of tax payers’ money already.
Every society has a philosophy or religion to govern its spiritual well being. In United States, there are many religions that enjoy the freedom to practice their beliefs as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others and do not interfere with secular, legal laws. For example, Muslims live in US but Sharia Law that encompasses everything from crime, politics and economics to dieting and hygiene does not have any legal ground to stand on in the United States. Catholic Church’s stance on abortion or use of birth control no matter how controversial is still over ruled by the legal justice system. None of the religious laws and doctrines takes precedence over the Secular legal system. This is because a society that is multinational and multi cultural should not be governed by a religion they do not adhere to, but by a code of rules designed to protect them from any discrimination or persecution. A legal entity! 
In Georgia, religion does not just stay in people’s hearts, homes and churches that seem to grow like mushrooms overnight. Religion, and mind you, only Christian Orthodox religion, no other religion is able to do this, is  getting indoctrinated into the legal body of the government with profound encouragement of Minister of Justice. The Minister has never hidden the agenda to empower Christian Orthodox church with legal authority over Georgian citizens and has spoken about this freely. Recently the Georgian Christian Orthodox church has been in the news for putting out a possibility of integrating the religious wedding ceremony with legal authority by the Church. While the convenience of the matter is tempting (you will no longer have to go to a separate location in the city to get your paperwork in order) the power that Church gains with this law passing is immeasurable. If the marriage has to be sanctioned through church, does a divorce go through the same proceedings? Does the church have legal authority to award custody of kids? Can Church prohibit legal abortions and condoms? (We all know about the condoms, only the ones that give pleasure are prohibited. Because there are other types? Then, do Church’s recommendations turn into rules? Does Church have the right to tell women what to wear, where to eat, if they should work and just how should they wash the man’s feet when he comes home? Where does the Church’s authority over the secular government end? And if Christian Orthodox Church get’s this legal status, do other religions get it as well, or are they just not good or large enough for population control and therefore useless? If the Ministry of Justice is interested in turning Georgia’s spiritual leaders into a Grand Ayatollahs, then Georgia’s citizens will have the same rights and freedoms, with a Christian slant, as those of Iranian citizens - none.
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