The Bishops of Poland have lashed out at the homewares and furniture chain IKEA for what they regard as its “LGBT indoctrination” after the Swedish multinational sacked a Catholic employee for expressing strong anti-gay sentiment.
Driving the news
A Krakow IKEA worker known to the media only as Tomasz K. was dismissed after refusing the company’s request to participate in events for May’s International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Not only did the man boycott the celebration: he also posted homophobic comments and anti-LGBT Bible quotes on the company’s intranet.
Tomasz K. is now suing IKEA over his dismissal. The case has generated great controversy in Poland, with politicians accusing the chain of “Bible censorship” and “anti-Catholic discrimination” and the Public Prosecutor’s Office now investigating the matter.
For the record
Last weekend Poland’s Bishops came out strongly in support of Tomasz K., praising the employee’s “courage” and condemning IKEA’s “ideological activities”.
“We applaud the courage of this man, an example of the importance of defending the faith in everyday life, also in the field of employment”, the prelates stated in a press release.
“We congratulate Tomasz for his courage to profess and defend the faith in daily life. This is the lay apostolate postulated by the Second Vatican Council in the decree Apostolicam Actuositatem and remembered by St. John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio. His attitude deserves recognition and imitation”, continued the bishops.
The Polish episcopacy’s strongest words, however, were reserved for IKEA, whom it accused of “unacceptable… LGBT indoctrination”.
“Poland doesn’t need the aggression and the contempt” of IKEA’s gay advocacy, continued the bishops, stating the chain is “destroying social peace, sowing uncertainty and they pose a threat”.
“How easy, but how dangerous it is to cause confrontation! The Constitution of the Republic of Poland not only guarantees the freedom of religion to all, but also protects against interference in personal beliefs against the will of the person concerned”, the prelates recalled.
Why it matters
Poland’s Bishops have long been a loud voice on conservative issues, but in recent times their credibility has hit a new low with shocking revelations of clergy sex abuse in the country.
In February this year, a victims’ group, Nie Lekajcie Sie (“Do Not Be Afraid”), accused 24 Church leaders of “concealing clerical crimes and moving pedophile priests from one parish to another”.
Nie Lekajcie Sie also included 384 victims and 85 convicted priests in a “Map of Clerical Abuse,” but said many more victims had not come forward out of a fear of “social ostracism”.
“The Polish LGBTQ community has many enemies: the government, the prosecutor, the Catholic Church, the state media and the largest trade union, Solidarnosc,” Radek Oliwa, publisher of the LGBT newsmagazine Queer.pl, said to Newsweek.
“It’s a shame and alarming that a private company is one of the last institutions that respects the law and values the dignity of non-heterosexual citizens.”