- Poland´s Parliament, The Sejm, is about to pass a Religion Protection Law, says Jerzy Kwasniewski, President of Ordo Iuris Legal Institute in Warsaw.
- In Scandinavia, Poland is most often labelled by the official media channels as an ´extremist nation´, but is this Religion Protection Law a new development in line with the present government?
- No, states Kwasniewski, and expands: - Already in communist times, our previous laws against blasphemy were substituted by penal protection of individual religious feelings. Even the atheistic regime was not ready to stop some kind of protection against scandalization by insulting traditional Polish communities of Christians, Jews and Muslims.
- Since then, article 196 of the Penal Code states that «Whoever offends the religious feelings of other persons by publicly insulting an object of religious worship, or a place designated for public religious ceremonies, is liable to pay a fine, have their liberty limited, or be deprived of their liberty for a period of up to two years».
- Have these old laws had the intended effect by curbing blasphemous attacks?
- Actually, in the past few years, the number of blasphemous attacks against religious dogmas, places of worship etc. have increased. When the Constitutional Tribunal declared eugenic abortion to be unconstitutional, many attacks on the Catholic churches followed, and were sadly encouraged by leaders of the abortion movement, says the Ordo Iuris President.
- But in 2021, over 500.000 citizens signed a formal constitutional «citizens’ draft law» named «In defense of Christians». This draft law aims to strengthen criminal law protection of all religions recognized by the state.
Jerzy Kwasniewski quotes from the «citizens’ draft law»:
«Whoever hinders the public performance of a religious act in a church or other religious association with a regulated legal situation, shall be subject to a fine, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to 2 years».
«Whoever publicly insults or mocks a church or other religious association with a regulated legal situation, its dogmas or rites, shall be subject to a fine, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to 2 years».
«The same penalty shall be imposed on anyone who publicly insults an object of religious worship or a place intended for the public performance of religious rites».
Jerzy Kwasniewski continues: - In order to provide a higher level of religious freedom guaranteed by the human rights system and the Constitution, especially the freedom to express religious doctrines (e.g. freedom to preach against gender ideology, freedom to preach pro-life or freedom to preach on natural identity of marriage), the draft law states:
«Whoever expresses a belief, assessment or opinion related to the religion professed by a church or other religious association with a regulated legal situation does not commit a crime, if it does not constitute a prohibited act against the freedom of conscience and religion or public exhortation to commit a crime or praise for committing it».
- Does this draft law have a chance to be passed by your Parliament?
- Probably it will pass, although some amendments will be given to the law before it is further proceeded by the Parliament, says Jerzy Kwasniewski, who expects this to happen within the next few weeks.