One of Poland’s top bishops has said the nation is suffering from a “rainbow disease” as he likened LGBTQ advocates to Communist leaders who oppressed Poland in the 20th century.
Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski of Krakow made his disparaging comments during Mass marking the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis. According to The Irish Times, Jedraszewski told the faithful in attendance:
“‘A red plague [a reference to Poland’s former Communist government] is not gripping our land anymore, which does not mean that there is not a new one that wants to control our souls, hearts and minds,’ he said. ‘Not red, but rainbow.’
“In his homily, Archbishop Jedraszewski recalled the heroism of Poland’s Home Army against Nazi occupation, and the country’s struggles under fascism and then decades of ‘Bolshevism’ rule as a Soviet satellite state.
“He said that ‘promoting LGBTI ideology denies human dignity’ because the ‘rainbow disease’ is ‘neo-Marxist’ in its absolutist ambition.”
Jedraszewski is not the first Polish church official to smear LGBTQ advocates as an oppressive force. Many of these advocates have accused Catholic leaders of contributing to anti-Pride violence that broke out in the city of Bialystok last month. The Catholic Register reported on one such official’s comments:
“Father Andrzej Debski, Bialystok archdiocesan spokesman, said July 30 the Equality March had ‘unleashed actions of evil’ on both sides, and rejected claims the church itself had “caused the aggression.”
“‘Other Equality Marches this year in Warsaw, Gdansk and Poznan, organized in the name of tolerance and anti-discrimination, have shown just the opposite: the enmity of LGBT circles towards Christianity,’ Father Debski said in a KAI statement.
“‘Are we not seeing double standards at work,’ he said, ‘when sacred symbols are profaned during these parades, alongside blasphemies against God?'”
Bialystok’s Archbishop Tadeusz Wojda did condemn the violence that occurred during the city’s Equality March as “incompatible with the attitude of a Christian,” but he had previously described the March as “an initiative alien to our land and society” and “an act of discrimination against Catholics.”
In a nation where LGBTQ people face significant discrimination, church leaders’ claims about LGBTQ advocates oppressing and attacking Catholics are extremely dangerous and harmful (and deny the reality of the many LGBTQ Catholics in Poland, too). But Archbishop Jedraszewski’s link between advocates for LGBTQ equality, Nazis, and Poland’s repressive late 20th century Communist government is especially deplorable. Such extremist rhetoric is incompatible with Christian leadership. While church leaders in Poland may hold to their positions on marriage and sexuality, given the social context, they should equally, if not more so, defend LGBTQ people’s right to life and dignity. As I wrote just last week, when Poland’s bishops cannot speak respectfully, it is best they say nothing at all.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, August 5, 2019