The great message of hope for the modernization of Greece that the polls of May 21 gave out, when Kyriakos Mitsotakis won twice as many votes as his second-place opponent, was somewhat diminished due to the appearance of a new religion-based party that came out of nowhere and almost entered Parliament.
This is probably a political event without precedent, at least in the recent history of Greece.
‘The Democratic Patriotic Movement – ‘Niki’, founded by the theologian Dimitris Natsios, received 172,000 or 2.92% of the votes. It was a stone’s throw away from the 3% needed for a party to enter Parliament.
Natsios claims that “we are neither right-wing, nor left-wing, nor centre. We are the children of the aching ‘Romiosini’” .
We are people of faith in our holy Church,” he said.
Everyone is, of course, entitled to have their own convictions and beliefs.
And indeed his statement that “we are people of faith in our holy Church” is a statement that is appreciated, that is respected – it would be good if that sentiment were embraced by more people, especially within Greece.
However, I cannot but stress that the mixing of politics and religion is a keg of dynamite that can blow up entire societies, states, and continents. It can cause very great damage.
The history of Europe is full of horrific, large-scale examples of this.
America struggles to keep these two forces, politics and religion, separate, but lately seems to be struggling to hold the line.
Moreover, ‘Niki – Victory’, as it calls itself, uses unacceptably extreme terms in its political positions. For example, it calls the Prespa Agreement ‘traitorous’.
We could probably have made a better deal than the one that was signed. It is likely that many are deeply disturbed that the name Macedonia – despite the efforts of our community– is being used unhistorically by another country as well. However, I do not accept that the Greek SYRIZA negotiators and the MPs who ratified it are traitors.
Still, I will agree with many who say that Greek society has strayed far enough from its values, principles, traditions, and religion. These are obvious to the naked eye.
Just as it is also obvious that its youth are uncritically and seemingly without opposition from their elders copying the worst standards, habits, and fashions of the West, ignoring the different circumstances, the different mentality and culture that prevails there.
This should be of great concern.
However, as I mentioned above, religion, as Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece has emphatically stated, does not – and should not – be involved with politics. The mixture of politics and religion can lead to tragic consequences, not excluding, in its extreme form, even the imposition of a theocratic regime.
So let us not let the well-meaning, pure, religious Greeks fall victim to political exploitation.
Let them demand that the normal political parties live up to their beliefs and not give voice and power to a party that plays where no one should be playing.