For the first time in Georgia’s recent history, its PM used the shocking term „anti-Christian forces“ in his public discourse. Today, such an “eschatological” motif may look a little unusual, to say the least. PM Gharibashvili touched on the sensitive strings of the identity of the majority of ethnic Georgians, further dividing the already polarized society and pouring fuel to the ongoing confrontation.
This is happening just after fascist groups in Tbilisi attacked democratic institutions, media, minorities, and political parties on a broad front. Gharibashvili drew the line and divided the society between the “defenders of Christianity” and “anti-Christian” forces.
He virtually aligned himself with anti-LGBTQ cause, which is driven by both the Patriarchate, administrative body of the Georgian Orthodox Church, on the one hand, and the fascist, Kremlin-oriented organized groups, on another.
These groups have a sufficient number of destructive followers. Their main curse is “You are a liberal.” On their scale, liberals are forces fighting against Christianity, as well as against Georgia. It is often heard from them lately that they are Caucasians and not Europeans. And that “liberal anti-Georgians” have no place here.
“When 95% of our population is against […] the propaganda parade, we, my friends, must all obey them.” These words also belong to Mr. Gharibashvili.
No one knows what empirical material the PM relied on, on the other hand we do not live in the tyranny of the majority, we recognize the principle of respecting the dignity of every single person, let alone the whole community.
It is a matter of principle that the PM of the country should rely on the human rights clearly defined in the Constitution and other laws and not on the percentages of the “traditional majority” which espouse different position. The phrase he utters is a chrestomathy of anti-liberal populism.
A large group of clerics took part in the July 5 rally, standing in front of Parliament. Some of them defended journalists who were physically assaulted, while others, on the contrary, incited abusers. Prior to that, high church hierarchs had repeatedly appeared in the media, commenting on clearly political issues such as the delimitation of the border with Azerbaijan, education, changes in the anti-discrimination law, land issues, the rights of minorities.
The dangers facing secularism are increasingly being discussed in Tbilisi, as well as on the opacity of church funding, the privileges it enjoys, or Russian influence within the church.
The participants of the July 5 protest erected a cross in front of Parliament, which is a great Christian symbol. Given the existing political contexts, the move took on a political overtone, and the religious symbol became a political tool.
They simultaneously raised the cross and lowered the EU flag.
If the Georgian PM ultimately assumes the role of a “fighter against the enemies of Christianity”, then he and his team, along with the ultra-right, will start hunting the witches, or liberals.