LGBT supporters have accused Poland’s bishops of “blessing hatred” and of being a “disgrace” after what they said was a “two-faced” response to anti-LGBT demonstrations in the city of Bialystok.

The big picture

Some 800 people from across Poland took to the streets July 20 in Bialystok in an “Equality March” for LGBT rights.

They waved rainbow flags and banners with slogans such as “Love is not a sin”.

But counter-demonstrators gathered in front of Bialystok’s cathedral hurled threw stones, firecrackers and bottles at the marchers and police.

They also spat at the LGBT campaigners, and chanted slogans such as “God, honor, homeland” and “Bialystok free of perverts”.

At least twenty marchers and counter-protesters were arrested.

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Driving the news

Polish bishops’ spokesman Pawel Rytel-Andrianik expressed his “unequivocal disapproval” of the violent counter-demonstrations. But he said the Church would continue to condemn the “deadly sin” of homosexuality.

Meanwhile, Polish bishops’ president Stanislaw Gadecki accused the LGBT protesters of promoting “hatred for the church and its clergy”.

Gądecki, Archbishop of Poznan, said LGBT protests often turn into “places of blatant intolerance, obscene presentations and scorn for Christianity”.

Also, Archbishop of Bialystok Tadeusz Wojda condemned the “acts of violence and scorn” of the anti-LGBT protesters, as the Catholic News Service reports.

He said they are “incompatible with the attitude of a Christian and disciple of Christ”.

But Wojda continued:

“At the same time, I encourage prayer and care for the family and its internal purity, so our families, strong in God, can offer an example of beautiful love in the pattern of the Holy Family. These latest incidents show we still have much to do”.

The Archbishop of Bialystok had issued a pastoral message July 7 saying that LGBT campaigners had “insulted Christian values, profaned sacred symbols and uttered blasphemies against God”.

Wojda said the LGBT march was “an initiative alien to our land and society” and “an act of discrimination against Catholics”.

“The Gospel teaches respect and love for every person, and we try to follow this – but we cannot accept the deriding of our faith and depraving of our youth”, said Wojda.

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For the record

Gazeta Wyborcza journalist Agnieszka Sadowska accused Wojda of “blessing hatred”. She called his labelling the LGBT protest as “depravation” was a “disgrace”.

Anna Dryjanska, an LGBT rights campaigner, went further and accused Wojda of “two-faced incitement” to “violence against LGBT people”.

“There was a pogrom atmosphere in Bialystok – if the police hadn’t been there in force, something truly dreadful would have happened,” Dryjanska told Catholic News Service.

“When it turned out people had been beaten and injured, the Catholic bishops washed their hands with banal statements about opposing violence”.

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