Poles apart: the 'perverts' and the right-wing press

The Polish press has worked itself up into an anti-gay frenzy. And criticism of the Pope by gay campaigners seems to be the last straw
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The Independent Online

In July this year, when the campaign for the Polish presidential election opened, Marcin Libicki, an MP from the Christian People's Union, sent a letter to prospective candidates, asking: "What is your attitude to the legalisation of so-called 'homosexual marriages'? What is your attitude to the possibility of homosexual couples adopting children?"

In July this year, when the campaign for the Polish presidential election opened, Marcin Libicki, an MP from the Christian People's Union, sent a letter to prospective candidates, asking: "What is your attitude to the legalisation of so-called 'homosexual marriages'? What is your attitude to the possibility of homosexual couples adopting children?"

The right-wing dignified this letter as a patriotic act, justified by the gravity of the situation, since "liberalism" was once again striking at Christian Europe and the Catholic family. The weekly Niedziela said: "The declarations of organisations of homosexuals are growing ever more brazen and aggressive. In the cities of Europe they are staging spectacular marches of debauchery; they accuse the Holy Father of crimes; the memory of the victims of Auschwitz-Birkenau is dishonoured..."

At the beginning of July, two major gatherings met in Rome: a Polish Catholic "Jubilee Year 2000" pilgrimage and the first World Gay Pride Congress. On 8 July, a colourful parade of gays marched along the route, shouting, "We've conquered the Colosseum." Pope John Paul II called the homosexual jamboree an "affront to the Great Jubilee year 2000 and the values of the Christian City as the precious heart of the world's Catholics". He recalled that, as the catechism of the Catholic church stresses, "homosexual acts... are contrary to the natural law", although, as the catechism also notes, "a significant number of men and women do not choose their homosexual condition". Such persons, the Pope recalled, must be "treated with respect, sympathy and delicacy".

The press - both Polish and worldwide - did not view the Pope's comments as an appeal for sympathy, but as having a subtext of disapproval. The Dutch gay organisation filed defamation charges against the Pope for discrimination against sexual minorities. The charges were rejected on the grounds of "papal immunity".

The fact that gays had encroached on a Polish pilgrimage and tried to prosecute our "Polish" pope set off alarm bells on the right. The newspaper Zycie on 14 July carried the headline, "Homosexuals' strategy ever more reminiscent of Bolshevik methods and tactics". The author, Piotr Semka, analysed the seditious means of the gay media: "The truth is that homosexuals, who are numerous in the media, advertising and show business, are able to put on mass events as symbolised by the Berlin Love Parades. Officially, the Berlin event had no political or sexual character but, in reality, it was the homosexuals who had the greatest influence on its style and atmosphere of erotic freedom. The parades in Rome and Berlin had the same purpose."

Homosexuals hidden in the crowd, Semka suggests, are "teaching each other to blaspheme. They eagerly make anti-Catholic alliances with Lutherans, Methodists, Jews. This is exactly like the Bolsheviks who, though weak, tried to take power by deceit." They know how to "draw the masses to themselves by an attractive vision of a pop-culture ideology of fun and games, looseness and moral freedom. It would appear that the world may be threatened at any moment with a totalitarianism in which the role of the One Party is taken by gay societies."

A similar threat is portrayed by Tygodnik Solidarnosc, which carries the insignia of the trade union once headed by Lech Walesa. On 14 July, it carried an article by Marcin Przewozniak, entitled "Homo invasion". Here homosexuals are called simply "sodomites" and "perverts", whose "street orgies have defiled Rome". Przewozniak suggests that if one gives rights to homosexuals, paedophiles will be next, and then zoophiles will want recognition for a "special union with a beloved goat".

Marek Jurek, one of the most active politicians of the right, published in Nasz Dziennik a text entitled "Homoliberalism has appeared on the banks of the Vistula". His evidence: when a (female) journalist asked President Aleksander Kwasniewski (who is seeking a second term of office) his views on homosexual "marriages" and adoptions, the President replied: "These are normal people, and if they want to bring up children, let them do so." The Catholic-Popular paper Glos (23 July) devoted two columns to Kwasniewski's programme of "entrusting infants to effeminates, or persons wearing the fetters and skins of degenerates".

* The writer is a columnist with 'Gazeta Wyborcza'

* This article is taken from 'Manufacturing Monsters',the 2 October edition of 'Index on Censorship'

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