Warsaw Jews are standing up for LGBT people against the “hostility and hatred” directed at them by the Polish government and also by the Church.
– “We survivors of the Holocaust cannot be indifferent”
In an open letter June 15, members of the Board of the Jewish Community of Warsaw expressed their clear opposition to all homophobic and transphobic sentiment that they lamented “dehumanises” LGBT people.
“We are observing in Poland today attempts to provoke hostility and hatred towards LGBT people, cynically undertaken by politicians in the presidential election campaign”, the Warsaw Jewish community leaders decried.
“Statements and actions of representatives of the highest authorities of the Republic of Poland are terrifying because they prove how little they learned from the history and horror of World War II”, the board members warned.
The Jewish representatives in the Polish capital continued:
“We Jews – survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants – do not want and cannot be indifferent to the words dehumanising LGBT people.
“We do not agree with hate speech, prejudice or aggression. We know that taking away the dignity and humanity of one social group, as well as causing unauthorized fear of it among the rest of society, inevitably leads to tragedies and pogroms.
“We have a duty to demonstrate our solidarity with all who are victims of injustice, prejudice and violence. We have the right to say NO to discrimination against LGBT persons.
“We support sexual minorities and support actions for equal
treatment of all Polish citizens”.
– Catholic Church figures cosying up to ruling Law and Justice party ahead of presidential elections
The Warsaw Jewish Community’s strong statement against anti-LGBT rhetoric came after Polish President Andrzej Duda said on the campaign trail June 13 that “LGBT ideology” is more destructive than communism.
Duda also introduced a “Family Charter” of proposals ahead of the presidential elections June 28 with the aim of safeguarding Poland’s traditional Catholic values against what he called the foreign influence of the LGBT rights movement.
Those policies of the president’s include a ban on gay marriage and adoption and a prohibition on teaching LGBT issues in schools.
In response to Duda and his Law and Justice party (PiS) allies’ growing attacks on the rainbow community, Protestant bishop Jerzy Samiec tweeted June 14 that LGBTQ people are his Church’s “sisters and brothers in Christ”.
Catholic Church leaders have also been insisting that LGBTQ people are brothers and sisters as well, even if they are continuing to speak out against “an ideology that aims to revolutionise social customs”.
And indeed, many in the Catholic Church seem to be more interested in currying favour with their ideological soulmates in the PiS party, who in the words of PiS MP Dominik Tarczynski “are trying to keep Poland great and Christian” with their anti-LGBT rhetoric, their purge of “communist judges” and their anti-immigration policies.
Catholic broadcasters Radio Maryja and TV Trwam, for example – linked to PiS ally and media tycoon Father Tadeusz Rydzyk – gave Duda an open platform May 31 to expound on his policy of “cleansing Poland of all kinds of dirt” that in his opinion has been left over by the former communist regime.
As cringeworthy as it was to see priests fawning over Duda in that interview, it was nothing compared to a bishop’s comparison of two government ministers to saints and Gospel figures.
Praising the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis, Emeritus Bishop of Czestochowa Antoni Dlugosz said last weekend at a prayer service at the Jasna Gora Monastery that “two representatives of our government, chosen by the majority of Poles, embody the charisma of two of the Evangelists”.
“The Evangelist Mateusz [Matthew] Prime Minister Morawiecki is looking after the life of our nation, so that it may live better”, Dlugosz affirmed, adding that meanwhile “the Evangelist Lukasz [Luke], Professor Szumowski [the health minister], is an extension of the deeds of Jesus, taking care of our lives and health. We thank the Mother of God for their service”.
Those comments of Bishop Dlugosz’s were met with swift and harsh condemnation, with Catholic commentator Tomasz Terlikowski insisting that “such words are not only imprudent, bringing the Church into a political brouhaha, but also un-Catholic”.
“We believe in God, not PiS”, declared Terlikowski. “We read the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, not a minister and the prime minister’s speeches, regardless of our views”.
Catholic priest Daniel Wachowiak, for his part, said he was “surprised, saddened and annoyed” by Dlugosz’s comments.
“This is not what one says, not what one believes”, Wachowiak lamented on Twitter.