Polish activist arrested over posters of Virgin Mary with rainbow halo

Early on May 6, six police officers raided the flat of Elżbieta Podleśna and arrested her on charges of profanation. The alleged crime? Decorating a Church with the image of the so-called Rainbow Mary.

Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko NewsMavens, Poland
Polish activist arrested over posters of Virgin Mary with rainbow halo - NewsMavens
Rainbow Madonna,

Why this story matters:

Poland is in the midst of a culture war. Since the conservative PiS party won the parliamentary elections in 2015, its politicians single-mindedly attack what they perceive as Western, liberal values: secularity, multiculturalism, gender equality, LQBTQ rights

After the works of women contemporary artists, Natalia LL and Katarzyna Kozyra were removed from the walls of the National Museum in Warsaw (they were temporarily brought back since), news of another episode broke. The arrest of activist Elżbieta Podleśna sparked international controversy.

It seems that once again, force is used where debate should take place. Is the rainbow really an offensive symbol? Would the Virgin Mary herself be insulted by a rainbow halo, since, in the Bible, the rainbow is a symbol of alliance between God and people? And most importantly, are we living in a religious state? Let's talk about it before calling the cops.

In the meantime, human-rights advocacy groups, Amnesty International and The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, condemned this incident.

Nonetheless, the minister of internal affairs, Joachim Brudziński, was satisfied with the situation, and tweeted:“Telling stories about freedom and ‘tolerance’ doesn’t give anyone the right to offend the feelings of believers.”

As the European Parliament election looms ahead, this seems to be one more piS effort to mobilize their core electorate. And yet another cheap shot. But with the public media in their pocket, the government will likely spin this story to their benefit.

Details from the story:

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