Warsaw, Poland – Poland’s ruling party and its chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski have found in the LGBT community a new scapegoat.
During a meeting held Wednesday in the city of Wloclawek, central Poland, chairman of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party Jaroslaw Kaczynski described the LGBT rights movement as a foreign import that threatens the identity of the Polish nation.
“Everyone must accept Christianity”, says Kaczynski
Kaczynski, the de-facto leader of Poland who wields immense influence in day-to-day politics, opposed the alleged danger of liberal, foreign-imported values to patriotism and religion, saying “everyone must accept Christianity” and arguing that questioning the Catholic Church is unpatriotic.
The Catholic Church, which holds close ties with the ruling PiS party, has faced intense scrutiny in recent months following mounting scandals of corruption and allegations of decades-long sexual abuse that were reportedly covered up by the clergy – a topic reignited by the movie Kler, which broke box-office records since its release last year.
“With his remarks, Kaczynski seems to be tapping into the belief held by some Poles that liberal values have been forced on them as a result of Poland joining the EU 15 years ago”, writes the Associated Press.
LGBT rights as the main political battleground
For months, Poland’s ruling party and pro-government mouthpieces have launched an aggressive campaign against the LGBT community to mobilize its conservative voter base ahead of May’s EU elections and October’s national ballot, as recent polls put PiS neck-and-neck with the opposition.
Analysts argue that PiS is using the same fear-mongering tactics and rhetoric regarding LGBT as the one used toward migrants back in 2015, when it rose to power at the height of the refugee crisis. “These are the same methods and same messages” used to demonize Muslims immigrants, Miroslawa Makuchowska from the NGO Campaign Against Homophobia said. “It’s appalling and frightening because it’s scapegoating”.
According to a recent OECD report, Poland remains one of the least tolerant countries in Europe regarding homosexuality and LGBT rights, despite growing acceptance over the past two decades.