Catholic church continues battle against LGBT in Visegrád Four

Riot Police protect participants of the First Equality March organised by the LGBT Association 'Teczowy Bialystok' in Bialystok, Poland, on 20 July 2019. [EPA-EFE/ARTUR RESZKO POLAND OUT]

The rhetoric of the Catholic Church members against the LGBT community is becoming increasingly aggressive in four eastern EU countries, with priests comparing the LGBT movement to the plague and calling it an “ideology” with totalitarian features.

In the past weeks, LGBT issues have moved to the top of the agenda in Poland, which faces a parliamentary election on 13 October, and quickly spread to the other Visegrád countries – Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Family policy and traditional values have always been a crucial topic for the Polish government and now Czech politicians follow the same narrative.

Two months before the parliamentary elections, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) politicians and Catholic priests have launched a campaign of accusations and fear-mongering among the electorate.

LGBT members are being demonised in public speeches, LBGT-free zones have been declared in Poland and there have been attacks on LGBT marches.

Jarosław Kaczyński, PiS leader, is convinced that the LGBT community and its rights are protected by the EU rules, so he suggests a new strategy. “This has to be done differently, calmly limit it. In such a way that it does not destroy the Polish culture or damage the Polish Church. And we will fight for it,” Kaczyński stated on Sunday (11 August).

Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski of Krakow spoke against the LGBT in a homily marking the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.

He was grateful that Poland is no longer occupied by the ‘red plague’, meaning communism. However, Jędraszewski warned that a new plague has arrived that “is trying to conquer our souls, our heart and our minds. Not Marxist, nor Bolshevik, but born from the same spirit, Neomarxist. Not red, but rainbow!”

Polish Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki added that “respect for other people cannot lead to the acceptance of an ideology that aims to revolutionise social customs and interpersonal relationship.”

Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka, also supported the Polish clergy:

“I endorse the statement of Archbishop Gądecki, who defended himself against worldwide totalitarianism, which has recently been presented by aggressive statements by LGBT ideologists,” Duka said in an official statement.

A spokesman of the Czech President, Jiří Ovčáček, also spoke of the totalitarianism. According to his statement “the ideologies of ‘climatism’, LGBT or ‘genderism’ are totalitarian.”

He argued that these ideologies despise the man and target the masses, dictate to people what they can and cannot say, which in the end destroys the variety of different opinions in society.

Prague Archbishop Duka urged other churches to express their support to Poland. The Hungarian Bishops’ Conference joined the Conference of Bishops of Slovakia and completed the Visegrád Four in the anti-LBGT drive.

Hungarian Bishop András Veres highlighted in his letter to Poland that no one should be excluded from the public debate about LGBT and the space and equal rights for the opposition and different voices should be provided as well.

“It is shocking that those who seek acceptance of their beliefs, at the same time refuse the expressions of others who have an opposite opinion,” he said.

According to Polish news website Onet.pl, Archbishop Jędraszewski refused to distance himself from his words, and called LGBT an “anti-Christian system of anti-values.” He also called for a rejection of an “anthropological error in the form of very dangerous gender and LGBT ideologies” which aim to spoil the Polish nation.

Statements and actions of the Catholic Church have been criticised by NGOs and Western politicians.

“Perpetuating the notion that gender equality and LGBT rights threaten Polish society doesn’t protect anyone – it only feeds dangerous intolerance, homophobia, and misogyny,” said NGO Human Rights Watch.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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