Poland: For Catholics only ?

, by Julia Aniśko

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Poland: For Catholics only ?
The controversial remarks of Beata Mateusiak-Pielucha, MP for the Law of Justice Party, are causing a stir (cc. zyciepabianic.pl)

Over the past week, a storm has been brewing over Poland. Suggestions by one PiS MP of deporting non-Catholics out of the country shocked many, Poles were quick to react.

Over the past week, a storm has been brewing over Poland. Suggestions by one PiS MP of deporting non-Catholics out of the country shocked many, Poles were quick to react.

“Separation of” Church and State, Separation of People

Last week, one of the MPs of PiS (the Law and Justice party), Poland’s leading conservative right-winged political party, Beata Mateusiak-Pielucha expressed her wish to have all Atheists, Orthodox Christians, and Muslims swear and adhere to the Polish constitution and Polish beliefs. Those who do not fulfill this requirement, Mateusiak-Pielucha added, should be deported. It isn’t breaking news that the Polish government has become increasingly subordinate to the Church, and it is becoming more evident in day-to-day life. The PiS has already commenced an unofficial coronation of Jesus Christ as the king and patron of Poland. The Catholic Church was also engaged in the conflict regarding the anti-abortion laws, working against the infamous Black Protests. Mateusiak-Pielucha’s statement only proves such submission to be even more present.

Out with Diversity

Similar deportation techniques have already been used by the Polish government before: when in 1968, after an inner war within the PZPR (Polish United Workers’ Party), purging of the party took place. The basis of this purging was the Jewish decent of certain party members. Thousands of people, and families, were sent away with a one-way ticket. It is not surprising that many noticed correlations to Mateusiak-Pielucha’s statement, which once again shows who is a “true Pole” and who isn’t.

Prayer at Mrs. Mateusiak-Pielucha’s campaign headquarters © cc. zyciepabianic.pl

While many defenders of Beata Mateusiak-Pielucha attempted explaining that the proposition should not be taken seriously, or that the statement was taken out of context, or that Mateusiak-Pielucha was misunderstood, the MP’s words were exactly what they seemed to be: A reflection of Poland’s current state. Talk of deporting atheists and those of another faiths has created reactions of uncertainty in some, and of anger in others. The MP, along with the entire PiS party, is reminded that if they expect non-Catholics to uphold the constitution, they should uphold it as well.

Many other Poles are reacting in a more unusual way: with a sense of humour.

Deportation? Sign me up!

Next to words of anger and dissatisfaction, many are taking a more humorous approach. Immediately there was an avalanche of jokes, which are not anything new, since, as we have already found in Poland, the more absurd their ideas are, the more jokes appear. One of these jokes includes an event that took place outside of the Sejm in Warsaw. On 29th November 2016 people lined up in front of the parliament building to be the first to sign up for deportation, as a way to make the deportation easier for Mateusiak-Pielucha. Many are also including their chosen destination after being deported. The majority of the chosen countries are far away from Poland, tropical countries that many would never be able to afford to visit. A fair amount have also wished to be deported to Iceland, where the latest political and social changes look promising, especially for the left-winged population. Other destination choices include: Canada, Cuba, and even Russia or Belarus.

How this proposition of deportation will turn out is not quite clear. Nonetheless, the reaction it caused is definitely stirring up a storm amongst the inhabitants of Poland.

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