Were Croatian Events Extreme? What Is the Definition of “Extreme”?

Four days ago, we posted about two protests about Catholic involvement in marriage equality–one for marriage and one against marriage for lesbian and gay couples.  The “pro” protest involved women going topless in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City; the “con” protest was a letter of inflated rhetoric on religious liberty signed by 1,000 priests in England and Wales.

In our headline and in the post, we labeled both protests “extreme.”  Several thoughtful commenters disagreed with our characterization, and we appreciate their feedback.  It has provided us with much input for reflection.

So, today, we post about another protest and another set of hierarchical comments, these from Zagreb, Croatia.  And at the end of this post, we ask three questions of you, our loyal readers:  1) Would you label the Croatia events “extreme”?; 2) What is your definition of an “extreme” when it comes to protest and comments?; 3) Does using tactics that some might think “extreme” help or hinder a cause?  We look forward to your feedback, and we hope that it sparks some discussion on this important matter of what is an appropriate and effective form of protest.

KissCroatiaThe Croatia protest was a “kiss-in” in front of the Catholic cathedral in Zagreb, the nation’s capital.   It was sparked by comments from the archbishop there who compared a pro-LGBT government proposal to Nazism and from other senior priests who disparaged LGBT people.

Balkan Insight.com reports:

“Some 100 campaigners for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights kissed each other and waved rainbow flags at the protest in front of the cathedral on Saturday despite being confronted by a much larger crowd of opponents.

” ‘We are here to send messages of love from the place which only sends out hate speech,’ Matea Popov from campaign group Zagreb Pride told journalists during the protest. . . .

“The protest was organised after recent statements by several top priests calling homosexuality ‘unnatural’ and ‘pathological’.

” ‘The conspiracy of faggots and lesbians would destroy Croatia,’ said Adalbert Rebic, a professor of theology and prominent priest, said last week in an interview with the newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija.

“Some other Catholic dignitaries, including Zagreb’s assistant archbishop Valentin Pozaic, have made similar statements.

“Their comments were sparked by a major dispute between the government and the Catholic church in Croatia about the introduction of health education into primary and secondary schools which includes teaching on homosexuality that the church considers unacceptable.

“The centre-left government said that children should be better educated about health and sexual issues.

“The church and conservative civic associations accepted the idea, but strongly opposed a part of it in which children are to be taught that homosexuality is normal. . . .

“The dispute boiled over last week when assistant archbishop Pozaic compared the government to a Nazi dictatorship.

” ‘Nazism got into power democratically, but then they imposed dictatorship. Is there any need to compare them with today’s communists in Croatia?’ Pozaic asked in a speech.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry




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