Warsaw’s Left-Wing Mayor Bans Display Of Christian Crosses In Public Buildings

Authored by Grzegorz Adamczyk via ReMix News,

Warsaw mayor Rafał Trzaskowski has signed an order banning the display of religious symbols such as the Christian cross in public buildings. The move is said to be driven by a desire to combat discrimination. 

“Warsaw is the first city in Poland to adopt such a measure,” Monika Beuth, the spokeswoman for mayor Rafał Trzaskowski, told daily Gazeta Wyborcza.

Under the rules, crosses cannot be hung on walls, something that is common in Poland, a country in which Catholics are a majority. Staff also cannot display religious symbols on their desks, and all official events are to be secular in nature, so they should not include any kind of prayer. Officials will still be able to wear medallions and other jewelry featuring images of saints. They do not have to cover religious tattoos either.

Trzaskowski’s move seems to be in answer to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s 2021 call for the removal of crosses from public buildings. The Polish mayor is the likely presidential candidate for Tusk’s Civic Coalition.

Officials in Warsaw are also now required to respect the choice of pronouns favored by someone they are dealing with. “In the case of a transgender person whose appearance may differ from stereotypical ideas related to gender recorded in official documents, address him or her with the name or gender pronouns that he or she indicates,” reads the document. A non-binary person should be asked for their preferred pronouns.

The measures have been criticized by figures associated with the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) opposition. 

Tobiasz Bocheński, who unsuccessfully stood as the PiS candidate against Trzaskowski in last month’s local elections, called the mayor “a fanatical leftist ideologue who is trying to introduce extreme leftist ideology to Warsaw, contrary to the legal order and customs prevailing in Poland.”

Former PiS government spokesman and MP Piot Muller said that the mayor of Warsaw was threatening religious freedom and attempting to enforce new cultural norms in the capital city, with the cross being the first target for removal. 

Former deputy culture minister Jarosław Sellin said, “These are the effects of electing extreme leftists to power. Trzaskowski formally is a deputy leader of a party that is part of a Christian Democratic movement, what an irony. I always have a cross on the desk in my office, which means that I could no longer work in Poland’s capital city.”

The mayor of Warsaw himself answered his critics by saying that “Poland is a secular state and Warsaw is its capital.”

He argued that although “everyone has a right to their religious beliefs, anyone who comes into a public office should feel they are in a neutral place.” He also assured that “no one wants to combat any religion and that religious symbols will have their place when history is celebrated.”

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