WHENEVER I meet up in Benidorm with my Polish friend Krzysztof the conversation turns to the latest lunacy emanating from his former homeland, fast becoming as much of a theocratic basket case as Iran or Pakistan.
At our last meeting I laughed in disbelief when he informed me that Poland’s Department of Agriculture was the latest government department to attack LGBT communities. It claimed that gays tend to be vegetarians or vegans, hellbent on destroying the country’s meat industry.
This is borne out by an article in ‘Notes from Poland’ which reported that a 2019 documentary film revealed that while veganism ‘may seem innocent’, it is in fact an ‘unethical and immoral ideology’ seeking to bring about an ‘anti-Christian and anti-human revolution’ by ‘taking apart social, cultural, economic and religious structures.’
The group behind the film is part of a network of ultra-conservative Catholic organisations that has led campaigns in Poland against a wide range of perceived threats – including environmentalists, homosexuals … and even cyclists!
The illustration accompanying the report and reproduced here with the artist’s permission, was created by Aleksandra Herzyk, and perfectly shows how blame culture is engulfing the country, with the ‘gay agenda’ now being held up as Enemy No 1.
The weaponising of religion by neo-fascists has reached such fervour that, in August, dozens of authors, artists and scholars expressed outrage at the hostility being directed toward Polish LGBT people in by the country’s President Andrzej Duda and other far-right politicians.
In a letter of ‘solidarity and protest’, they wrote to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, calling on the EU to defend human rights values that were ‘being blatantly violated in Poland.’
It said: ‘Homophobic aggression in Poland is growing because it is condoned by the ruling party, which has chosen sexual minorities as a scapegoat with no regard for the safety and well-being of citizens.’
When the UK began experiencing a large influx of Polish immigrants following the EU’s 2004 enlargement, the RCC in Britain was jubilant, believing that the newcomers – coming from a deeply Catholic country – would inject new life into the church.
After reading a report about the church’s optimism, I approached a number of Polish friends, and asked whether they were among those upon whom the church was pinning its hopes.
All said ‘absolutely not!’ The general view was that they’d escaped a country crippled by Catholicism, and were absolutely done with religion.
After the disastrous Brexit vote, which unleashed a terrifying wave of xenophobia, many Poles felt compelled to pack up and return – only to find their homeland more in the grip of religious insanity than it ever was before.
Thank you for taking the time to read this column “Something’s rotten in the state of Poland.
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