Talk:Freedom of religion in Georgia (country)

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The percentages of people practicing different religions here are inconsistent with those from the main Georgia article. 21:31, 8 November 2007 (UTC)


The article states that Georgia does not require registration of religious groups. Is that true, and has it always been the case? I was under the impression that some religions were illegal in Georgia until just this year.--IronMaidenRocks (talk) 00:22, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Georgianization of Armenian Churches[edit]

Shouldn't the article reflect that a number of Armenian Churches (such as Norashen) in Georgia which were closed by the communists have since independence been taken over by the Georgian Church, despite protests from Armenians and the Armenian Church? --Wikiboer (talk) 12:40, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Bring article up to date[edit]

Lots of work needs to be done to bring this article up to date. I understand, for example, that the law was changed in 2011 to allow religious organizations (other than the GOC) to be registered as "legal entities of public law" (the same status already enjoyed by the GOC). — Richwales (no relation to Jimbo) 05:38, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

I've done a major revision (almost a total rewrite) of this article over the past several months. I'm hoping to nominate it for promotion as a Good Article soon, and I'd be grateful for any feedback. I should say that I realize the article appears to be heavily biased against the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) right now, but WP:NPOV requires us to reflect what the reliable sources say, and all the sources I've been able to find so far have been uniformly critical of the attitudes and actions of the GOC and its adherents vis-à-vis followers of other faiths (or of no faith). Any suggestions are, of course, welcome. — Richwales (no relation to Jimbo) 22:42, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

  • As a first thing, the lead could use expansion. A good rule of thumb I've seen elsewhere is that every header in the article (topics apparently important enough to deserve their own subsections) should be mentioned in the lead, if only with a word or two. The current lead does not do this, which likely makes the mention of harassment seem more focused in the way you feel seems negative. More history perhaps, and naming some of the minority groups. Furthermore, everything in the lead should be in the text. For example, the failure of the Georgian government to prevent harassment doesn't appear to be widely discussed.
  • There feels to be a skim in history. The mention of one royal family is noted, but then it seem there's an assumption is became dominant. Obviously it's not the main history article, but the detail in that first conversion followed by the lack of notes on further spread (was Colchis Christian?) is somewhat jarring.
  • A couple of other questions: Who elevated the church leader to a Patriarch (was it unilateral, as the last line in this section seems to imply? If so, how did other churches react)? Was it called the Church of Georgia before the Kingdom of Georgia was created, and what area did it cover once it broke away from Antioch? What were the relations between the ROC and the GOC during the Soviet period (when the ROC claimed jurisdiction over the GOC)? What were the Soviet era religious restrictions?
  • The jump through the ages is also surprising, but likely justified if nothing else happened. A useful addition to this section however would be a note of when the Christian church split up, with Georgia remaining Orthodox. (I've deliberately not looked at the main article commenting on this, so I've pointed out items I feel are lacking based on what the current text does (and doesn't) say. If you feel more should be trimmed, likely some of these become irrelevant.)
  • Perhaps flip the July 2011 paragraph to chronological order, noting the status of other churches before 2011 first, and then noting the change? This at any rate seems more a history item. I note the history section is the history of the GOC, rather than Freedom of Religion, which you may want to adjust if possible. Aligning the text with chronology would also allow the reactions of the GOC to be grouped with the reactions of others (the reaction I note also includes the ammendment being "against church and state interests", an indication I feel of the GOCs position on its role in the state. This article doesn't really cover the position of the GOC, which could be interesting, and may balance the negativity you percieve.)
  • A description of how the GOC obtained its seized property back would be useful, as well as an expansion on how property claims could conflict.
  • It may be worth separating a section on the law as it is written from the law as it is carried out (presuming the property disputes follow some law or another).
  • The Abkhazia and South Ossetia sections mention that there was a lack of Georgian control post-1991/2, but before that point, was the Georgian government more relevant than the Moscow government? The history section (to me) implies religious restrictions were controlled centrally. No doubt Georgian government policies changed greatly after independence (and the Rose revolution come to that), but none of that would have affected the separatist areas.
  • The separatist sections also have a lot on the political history, but not much on religious. Is the Abkhazian church a state one? Does South Ossetia recognise the GOC, and if so, why the bans on orthodox meetings? It is probably worth mentioning that South Ossetia has not set up a parallel church, if they haven't (perhaps they've let the ROC in?).
  • In Societal attitudes, which follows on from the separatist sections, it mentions population percentages but doesn't note whether or not they include the separatist regions (presumably not). A general note of clarification would be useful.
  • What are the other ethnic affiliations besides Georgians to the GOC? Is the "Georgian population" ethnics Georgians or (...?) all Georgians? (for lack of a better way to phrase it right now)
  • Why are followers of a defrocked priest attacking others? My default assumption is that a defrocked priest would feel some animosity towards the church that defrocked him, rather than others.
  • You mention the change of government affecting prisoners, so it might be worth having a paragraph(s) on the views of various political parties, and perhaps the churches (or equivalent for non-christians) themselves. What's the context behind the patriarch's 2013 statement?
  • Muslims have their own subsection, but the prose there doesn't seem to signify any greater relative notability than other groups. Are they the 'main problem' for the GOC, so to speak?
  • Who was arrested in the Violence at Kavkasia TV studio, the protestors?
  • Short bracketed explanation of what the Kmara protest group is would be useful.
  • A controversy section seems similar to a wp:criticism section, in that it will appear to violate NPOV simply because it's topic invites such a thing. I don't know how it should be broken up, but this would be a step towards removing perceived negativity. Perhaps give homosexuality its own section, although I recognise it's not necessarily a religious freedom topic. Perhaps a media section of some sort as well.
  • This article is only 19kb of prose, which is quite short (well under the 40kb optimum and 60kb rough preferred upper limit), so there's plenty of space to flesh out examples and add more, if there is more to add. There don't appear to be many subartcles for this, so it would be useful to include details that would be included in subarticles that don't exist (which could always be broken off if the article gets too long).
  • Is there a reason the pictures are so small? WP:IMGSIZE recommends the default size, and I don't see how small pictures adds here. More pictures may be nice too, the disputed mosque perhaps, or any mosque really. Pictures of any rallies if they're available.
  • It may be commented on in any review about the reference presentation inconsistency, with the one long-form followed by shorter ones, but personally I can see why it's done, and wouldn't object to it. I haven't checked every reference, but it looks like all the text in the article is referenced.
  • The usual disclaimer applies, I'm an observer, probably relatively uninformed compared to authors here who have done the research to write the article, and all comments should be taken in that light as simple suggestions. I'm watching this talkpage. The article is, at any rate, informative, which is good. Regards, CMD (talk) 01:29, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
These comments are much appreciated. When doing so much work on an article like this, it's easy to forget that there are things about the overall topic which the author understands very well, but which readers not already familiar with the subject probably would not know.
Please keep in mind that this article is not History of Georgia (country), Georgian Orthodox Church, Persecution of Christians in the Soviet Union, Georgian Civil War, Controversy over Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence, Background of the Russia–Georgia war, or any of various other articles with some relevance to the overall subject. Further, the criteria for a Good Article say the article should stay focussed on the topic without going into unnecessarily detail (with references to WP:LENGTH and WP:SUMMARY). The idea of adding more background information is a good one, but it has to remain just that — background — and not grow to dominate the article and obscure the central subject (namely, freedom of religion in Georgia). Having said that, I do agree that the article probably should include some more detail, as well as cite more "main articles" and/or include a "see also" list.
So far at least, I've limited pictures mainly to ones which are free (just one non-free image so far). From this point on, most new images would be describing current events for which free media may not exist; I'm not allergic to non-free pictures or fair use justifications, but I am a bit concerned about adding a whole bunch of non-free images and then having WP:FFD folks with a deletionist leaning complain that the non-free stuff is being used to excess.
Additionally, there may be difficulty here obtaining significantly more source material than I already have. This concern has two ramifications which I can see right now. First, some details which CMD is asking about might not be substantiated well enough by good sources to allow their inclusion without violating WP:V or WP:NOR. Second, I would very much like to expand the article to provide a more obviously balanced viewpoint, but I feel my hands are tied because I need to limit myself to what the available reliable sources say, and the reliable sources I've managed to find so far are almost all in the anti-Georgian Orthodox Church camp.
Any other thoughts (from CMD or anyone else)? Thanks again for the feedback so far. — Richwales (no relation to Jimbo) 04:06, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
My comments relating to the addition of detail with regards to background were related to my perception of what was already there, where it seemed some areas had detail and some didn't. As a loose comparison, imagine reading a history of a war where some battles were described with great detail, whereas others were simply mentioned. It's a matter of opinion in the end, and mine is as I noted more uninvolved. If you feel that it is a good summary (perhaps some of the war's battles were simply irrelevant), than that's fine.
I actually reckon you've got more detail than needed on the political status of Abkhazia. You probably only need something like "Abkhazia/South Ossetia is considered by Georgia to be a part of Georgia, but has been controlled by separatists since the 1990s. Georgia's claims have the support of most of the international community."
I felt there was room for more detail in the actual topic anyway, for example more societal attitudes. I don't know if you're doing this, but I often find people who have one viewpoint try to balance things by leaving out points those of an opposing viewpoint say/believe that they feel make the opposition look silly. However, these points are often ones those of an opposing viewpoint find appropriate, and removing them actually diminishes their views. So if the GOC is saying anything you find ridiculous, doesn't mean it shouldn't be included. (If you're not doing that, I can only assume you've made it balanced already.) Does the GOC issue many statements in English (Georgian would work too, if no English is available)? Primary sources are fine for getting the viewpoints of those that publish them. CMD (talk) 13:10, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Everyone please be aware that a discussion is taking place at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Eastern Orthodoxy related to this article (see this section of the talk page). The main issue over there right now is, basically, whether what is basically a list of societal controversies involving the Georgian Orthodox Church is (or is not) truly relevant to the overall topic of freedom of religion in Georgia. — Richwales (no relation to Jimbo) 21:41, 8 January 2014 (UTC)