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Georgian Church wants optional biometric ID cards

by | Jul 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s Holy Synod appeals to the government not to make it obligatory to have ID cards with micro chips, but confirms that it’s not dangerous to use such cards.

The Georgian government last year introduced a new kind of ID cards, and aims at gradually changing the old cards with new ones which contain a micro chip.

The goal is to simplify bureaucratic procedures. The government says the new cards will change the whole system of providing citizens with services. But when the idea about these cards first appeared, religious groups were against it, claiming that the cards may have some satanic meaning.

Yesterday, at a scheduled session of the Holy Synod, a radical group calling themselves Union of Orthodox Parents were gathered with their supporters from morning in front of the Patriarchy, demanding that this issue be brought up at the session. Their demand does not only concern the new ID cards, but also new passports that contain biometric data. The group calls for the Synod to ask that ID cards and passports with memory chips should not be made obligatory for citizens and that there is an alternative card for those who do not want to use the ones with a chip.

«These passports and ID cards are a sign of the Antichrist and we want just like in Greece and other countries to have the right to make a choice and not have problems.”

After the session, the Holy Synod made a decision that ID Cards are not a sign of the Antichrist and that it is possible to use the new cards.

“But because it causes a variety of opinions in society, we ask the government to make the system voluntary, if possible, and allow alternative cards,” the statement said.

Today Deputy Justice Minister Giorgi Vashadze commented by saying that those people who currently have the old type of ID card are not obliged to get one of the new ones.

“We didn’t make it obligatory in the law and do not oblige anyone,” he added.

But alternative cards is not an option the government is looking at right now, he said, and suggested for people to wait for an official opinion by the Holy Synod, which will be made public in a few weeks, and this will treat the issue in more detail.

“But the main thing is that an ID card is a document which does not contradicts our religion and belief,” Vashadze said.

There are 38 clerics in the Georgian Holy Synod – Metropolitan, Archbishops and Bishops. Chair of the Holy Synod is Georgia’s Patriarch.

 



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