A Polish church stuck in the past

In Poland a simple poster distributed by an LGBT activist featuring an image of the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo has got Catholic leaders in a lather.

Elzbieta Podlesna allegedly put up the posters near a church to protest an anti-gay Easter message that denounced words like “LGBT” and “gender” as “aggressive” and “deviant”. She has been arrested for offending religious beliefs and faces two years (!) in jail. The poster was pretty mild stuff and even apparently had some aesthetic charm. But with elections coming up this year, the ruling Law and Justice Party seized this as a golden opportunity to win favour with “hysterical” Church spokespeople, for whom the LGBT campaigners’ rainbow motif acts like a red rag to a bull. The party is now doubling down on the threat of “sexual deviation” to Catholic values.  It’s going to be a tough few months for Poland’s LGBT community. (Piotr Sarzynski,  Polityka, Warsaw, and The Week. 17 May 2019).

I picked on this particular piece of old- fashioned intolerance  to illustrate the fact that extreme right- wing activity is mounting everywhere in the Western world, encouraged by the example of Trump and what I personally see as a creeping right- wing coup in the United States, together with the crass stupidity of Brexit, to name but two instances. Copycats are everywhere in the Western world, replaying the Hitler- Mussolini-Franco reaction to economic hardship and “bring- all- their- houses down” attitudes prevalent in the 1930s.  A novel way of portraying the Virgin Mary should be treated at worst with a simple shrug.  It’s called free speech and, as far as this non- Catholic is concerned, just a statement about the humanity of the LGBT community, which can’t, for heaven’s sake, help the sexual orientations of its members.  They  were born LGBT, like it or not.  Leave them alone and focus on the sexual deviations among some priests in the most reactionary  Catholic church in Europe.


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