2003 September 25 Thursday
Ann Coulter On Mount Athos And The European Parliament

The Mt. Athos Orthodox monastery in Greece (see it in context here) does not allow females to enter and hasn't for centuries. But, as Ann Coulter reports, the European Parliament is not happy with this state of affairs.

Who could object to such an arrangement? The European Parliament, that’s who. You see Mt. Athos is all male. Only males who are monks can reside there. Only males can visit.

That violates today’s extremist ideology. That ideology demands that there never be separation between the sexes. No all-boy schools. Not even boys’ choirs. Even in athletics there is a challenge to the male domination of some sports.

What makes this ideology capable of being exercised in the first place? We need to look at what basic right is at stake. What is violated here is not just freedom of religion. The violation of freedom of religion is a side-effect of a more fundamental violation of the basic right of freedom of association. This is a right that is rarely defended in the current era.

They propose to violate a fundamental right of association in order to defend human rights.

This followed the Strasbourg Parliament’s adoption of its annual report on human rights in the EU, which called on Greece to abolish legislation that imposes 2 to 12-month jail terms on women caught entering the easternmost leg of the Halkidiki peninsula, from which all women have been banned for over 1,000 years.

The report also urged Athens to allow the construction of mosques and Muslim cemeteries, to legalize proselytism and to ease draft terms for conscientious objectors.

Fodo Sylla is leading the fight to end the right of free association.

The Greek Orthodox Church, in its latest Ecclesia Report, announced that "the plenary session of the Euro-Parliament passed a proposal-report prepared by French Euro-deputy Fode Sylla concerning the EU Fundamental Rights situation for 2002, which includes, among others, a reference to the special status enjoyed by the monastic community of Mount Athos, in northern Greece."

According to the Euro-deputies, the controversial point is that the isles of Athos do not allow entry to women. The Euro-deputies see this prohibition as an infringement on women's human rights, so they asked the Greek government to revise the prohibition.

But what about female birds that land on the roofs or trees?

· In the Greek monastery of Mount Athos, nothing female is allowed. Men can enter but not women; roosters but no hens; horses but no mares; bulls but no cows. The border is patrolled by armed guards to ensure that nothing feminine passes the gates. It has been this way for more than 700 years.

To repeat myself, why is there so little recognition today of a right to free association? Granted, it was not mentioned as a fundamental right in the US Bill Of Rights. But I suspect if James Madison had been able to see the future he would have written one in. Imagine that you wanted to give a dinner party and you sent out a guest list and the government found out about it and insisted that you couldn't restrict who could come to your house for the party. Wouldn't you think that was a moral outrage? Why is this any different? Why can't a church choir be able to be all boys if that is what the church wanted? Why shouldn't a country club be able to be all males or all South Carolinians or all people with green eyes, or all people with double joints if that is their preference? Why shouldn't we have total control over who we associate with outside of the corridors of government?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 September 25 03:06 PM  Cultural Wars Western

razib said at September 27, 2003 1:18 AM:

two points

1) there is a distinction between gov. & private sectors here. religious organizations are private in many countries-but remember that some of the european officials come from countries with established churches. in these countries the national churches routinely have to kow-tow to gov. interference, one reason some ministers & priests argue for disestablishment as a way to revive their religion.

2) this is also interesting in light of the fact that the article you mention has the following quote: "The report also urged Athens to allow the construction of mosques and Muslim cemeteries, to legalize proselytism and to ease draft terms for conscientious objectors." One of these things doesn't fit into the general thrust of maximizing personal freedom....

hellen christoforakos said at January 1, 2005 11:24 AM:

I see it one way and I believe, what right do you have to maek someone conform to our ideology? Where does true freedom rule? and how can we on earth make laws about what really has everything and nothing to do with us. I ersponal would repsect someone eleses view, I might talk to them and then I might pray that things change. I am a complete novice to prayer and I believe if these monks pray with greater belief than I ever had and refuse to change their views , I will repsect that. That doesn't mean I agree with them, I believe they have a hard enough time continuing on a way of living that is hard enough without two genders, its kinda symbolic too, if one thinks about it. Are there two genders in heaven? These monks, you must understand I believe have been able to overcome sexuality has I know it. I would believe that it would be far harder to not see both sexes on their road to oneness. Its a regime that has no understanding in how we operate. We are trying to duplicate a way of thought with ideals (in the west) that are a very poor imagine of the divine, as they get watered down. What does this have to do with the economic unions of Europe, which was the reason the union was set up, see how when you set a committee its starts to infiltrate all areas of life? Maybe that is what they are trying to point out. Really I'm just babbling, I really don't know. I think there is peace there, so why don't we spend more time to correct other situations which require drastic help in finding some sort of peace. This is the big sheme of things, sounds like someone doesn't what to tackle the bigger issues. The western perspective of looking out rather than looking in. I give up!

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