The Vice President of the Polish Government, Zbigniew Ziobro, has launched a collection of signatures to modify the Penal Code and that punish with prison sentences “making jokes” about the church Catholic or “ridicule” her, as well as interrupting masses or funerals. In statements to the press, the politician has defended that “the project responds to the high level of aggressiveness” that according to him exists in part of society against the church.
Thus, the text that he proposes foresees punishing with two years in prison the creation or dissemination of messages or images that offer a playful or humorous vision of the church and with three years to disturb any rite Catholic religious. However, he would not protect any other religion from such actions.
Ziobro, who also holds the positions of Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the State, promotes the project through the party he presides over, Solidarity Polandwhich has governed the country together with the ultra-conservative PiS (Law and Justice) since 2015. Its proposal aims to collect the 100,000 signatures necessary to be presented for voting in Parliament under the ‘citizen proposal’ formula, despite the fact that the party already presented in the past a similar bill that was not approved.
For his part, Jan Kanthak, spokesman for the party, stated that “the desecration of a synagogue or mosque provokes a harsh response from all the media”, while, according to him, “desecrating a church is often described as freedom of expression “. “Therefore, the more unequivocal the law is, and the less room it leaves for interpretation, the better,” he has defended. “It is not that we want to put the PiS against the wall, but we want to show that the citizens want this change,” he assured the press.
Currently, in Poland it is punishable by up to two years in prison to offend religious sentiments of any denomination, but sentences are usually limited to a fine for those convicted of these actions. Thus, last month a Polish woman was sentenced to pay about 420 euros for throwing three eggs against the door of a church during a demonstration against the criminalization of abortion.