LGBT Equality March in Poland

Polish Bishops intensify attacks on LGBTs, accuse them of “vulgar mockery”

Poland’s Bishops have redoubled their attacks on the queer collective, this time accusing LGBT defenders of “ridiculing, mocking and showing hostility towards the faith and religious sensitivity of people”.

Driving the news

“The Catholic Church, according to the message of the Gospel, respects the dignity of every human being, without any exceptions”, Polish Bishops’ spokesman Paweł Rytel-Andrianik said in a statement Saturday.

“This is a basic law from the catalog of human rights”, the spokesman added.

“We have a constitutional right to respect human dignity and to protect the symbols of our faith”, Rytel-Andrianik added, saying that “artistic freedom” is no excuse for “vulgar mockery and a lack of basic respect”.

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One level deeper

The Polish Bishops’ spokesman was referring to the wave of what he called the “profanation” and “desecration” of Christian symbols in Poland in recent weeks.

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In one incident in May, Elżbieta Podleśna, a 51-year-old woman from Płock, in the centre of the country, was charged with offending religious sentiment after she was found with posters of the Virgin Mary adorned with an LGBT rainbow halo.

The woman was later released from police custody, but not after officers seized her phone, computer, USB pen drives and CDs.

If found guilty, the woman faces a fine and up to two years’ imprisonment.

Podleśna said to reporters: “This was not an attack on religion or faith. This was not a form of attack at all. How can someone attack anyone with a picture?”

Her lawyer added: “This is a situation when the state does not respect the liberty of its citizens by actions of its functionaries”.

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The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights released a statement saying that “the activities of the law enforcement in case of Elżbieta Podleśna violated the constitutional rule of proportionality and norms of [the] penal procedures code”.

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Why it matters

Poland’s governing party, the nationalist-ultraconservative Law and Justice (PiS), has found in the country’s Catholic Church a key ally in the LGBT collective, which it sees as a “threat to Polish identity”.

In recent weeks the Polish Bishops have hit out at IKEA for alleged “LGBT indoctrination”, have insisted being homosexual is a “deadly sin”, and have accused queer demonstrators of “depraving our youth”.

But while the Polish Bishops are concerned about “profanations” and “desecrations” of Catholic symbols, they have for the moment kept silent on the desecration of a Jewish cemetery this week in the southern village of Tarnów.

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“Jews eat children. Jadowniki eat Jews,” was painted on the fence of the cemetery in Tarnów, as Israel National News reports.

Natalia Gancarz, of the Committee for the Protection of Monuments of Jewish Culture in Tarnów, said the vandalism of the 16th-century cemetery was evidence of “anti-Semitism and deep depravity”.

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