Polish bishop likens LGBT+ rainbow flag to "communist plague"
Poland is under siege from a "rainbow plague" of gay rights campaigners, the archbishop of Kraków, Marek Jędraszewski said on Thursday (August 1) comparing it to Poland's former Communist rulers.
In a sermon given to mark the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising by Polish resistance fighters against Nazi occupation, Jędraszewski said Poland was no longer affected by the red plague of Marxists or Bolsheviks, but warned the LGBT+ rainbow flag was born of the same spirit.
Speaking at a mass in the medieval St. Mary's Basilica, one of the most important churches for Poles, Jędraszewski warned "(it) wants to control our souls, hearts and minds".
The archbishop's remarks drew a rebuke from liberal politicians who compared it to incitement to genocide.
Poland's Catholic Church has doubled down on the anti-gay rhetoric that has become the nationalist ruling party's dominant theme in recent weeks.
The hostility to gays has become a central focus of ruling Law and Justice's (PiS) campaign ahead of parliamentary elections and the issue spilt onto the streets in July when thousands of demonstrators went on a rampage through the provincial city of Białystok to block the city's first-ever LGBT pride parade.
A conservative magazine distributed "LGBT-free zone" stickers last week, while a number of towns have declared themselves "LGBT-free."
The Catholic Church has an unusually strong influence in Poland, having been a focus of resistance to Communist rule for decades. One of Jędraszewski's predecessors as archbishop in Kraków, the Polish Cold War-era Pope John Paul II, remains a beloved national hero.