Polish case against posters of the Virgin Mary. Three activists face two years in prison for portraying Mary with a rainbow halo

Three Polish women are on trial under a blasphemy law, for ‘offending religious feelings’ by making posters of the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo, and face up to two years in prison if convicted. The trial, is attracting international attention, both for the use of a blasphemy law to protect religious feelings (many countries have abolished blasphemy as a criminal offence, as recommended by the UNHRC) and for discrimination against LGBT rights. The women put up the posters to protest against a traditional Easter display at a church near Warsaw. The display listed the sins that believers were supposed to battle against — such as traditional ones like “greed,” “hate,” or “envy”, but also including “LGBT” and “gender.”

One of the accused told the court, “The immediate reason for our action was the homophobic and hurtful installation,” for Easter Day in this church, adding that she was a religious believer and saw nothing untoward about the protest using the image of Mary, “the universal symbol of the love of a mother and child.”  She said that they used the posters to complain about what she called the “hypocrisy” of the church which hasn’t dealt with pedophilia scandals while it attacks LGBTQ people. In protest against what they saw as a display of hate, the women placed posters around the church featuring a depiction of the black Madonna — but with Mary and Jesus with rainbow halos.
One of them was arrested and her apartment was searched in what the Helsinki Human Rights Foundation said was police action “deliberately used as a form of repression”.

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