Last bid to keep faith on IDs fails

A last bid by Church of Greece supporters to restore the mention of religious belief on state identity cards has failed, following a European Court of Human Rights decision published on Saturday. The Strasbourg court rejected an appeal by a group of Greek clerics and theologians against a ruling by Greece’s highest administrative court on a question that strained to the extreme relations between the government and the Orthodox Church of Greece in the Spring of 2000 – just after the ruling socialists won a third consecutive term in office. According to the ECHR decision, «the recording of individuals’ religious beliefs on an official document… threatens to open the way to discriminations in their relations with the administration, or even in professional matters.» ID cards, the court said, are not meant to advance religious rights. The government’s removal of the religion slot (among other entries) from state IDs prompted two mass rallies and a plebiscite campaign from the Church, which yesterday stressed that it had no official connection with the ECHR appeal.

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