Polish party wants to strengthen blasphemy law


Central Europe


Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, also United Polands party leader, attends a press conference at the Ministry of Justice in Warsaw, Poland. Photo EPA, Rafal Guz

The Polish coalition party United Poland (Solidarna Polska) wants to tighten the provisions on offending religious feelings. Therefore, it is collecting signatures for a civic draft law "in defence of Christians and believers".

Aggression toward Christians needs to stop, the party states on a website dedicated to the petition. Therefore, the Polish Penal Code needs to be tightened. Anyone who disturbs mass, publicly mocks the Church, or profanes the place of worship, could be imprisoned for up to two years. The authors of the draft claim that this protection would not only apply to Catholics but also to Protestants and Orthodox Christians.

Tightening the law would make it easier to punish people for disrespecting Christians. For example, it would no longer be necessary to prove to the disruptor of the service that he did so maliciously. Furthermore, United Poland claims that the new legislation would strengthen religious freedom. People who refer to the Scriptures or live by Christian values should no longer fear being punished for expressing their beliefs. Although there is freedom of religion in Poland, the party refers to a case in 2019 where the Polish IKEA fired an employee for his Biblical opposition to a pride event.

Lack of interest

United Poland earlier tried to submit this bill to parliament. However, they received no support from the governing PiS party. "Mr Ast (chairman of the Justice and Human Rights Committee) expressed his lack of interest in this project, considering that the current regulations are sufficient to protect Christians. We disagree with this", says MP Warchoł to the Polish news website Wprost. Therefore, United Poland is using another instrument: a civic initiative. "If PiS changes its view under the influence of a citizen's vote, we will be very happy. We hope this civic initiative will incentivise our coalition partners with PiS to change their position."

A civic draft needs at least 100,000 signatures to be discussed in parliament. This petition is now underway for several weeks.

United Poland was founded in 2012 after a Catholic-nationalist split from Law and Justice, with whom they later formed the United Right alliance. It is opposed to abortion and euthanasia. Its staunch opposition to same-sex marriage was cited as the main reason it left the ECR group in the European Parliament in 2012.



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