Depression and hope
This story about governmental homophobia in Poland
is profoundly depressing. I am stunned that a country which lost so many people to the Holocaust is one in which talk of gas chambers is even possible, let alone connived at by an elected government. I suppose part of the point is that homophobia has in right-wing Catholic circles replaced anti-semitism as the bigotry you can get away with. Interesting, though, that even as right-wing a politician as Angela Merkel feels constrained to protest against it, though I can't believe that she or any other mainstream politician will go so far as to threaten Poland with suspension from the EU over homophobia, or, come to that, the institutional misogyny that also features in the programme of the Kaczynski government, the way they did Austria over racism.
I hope, though, that I am wrong, because there is the possibility that it would serve as a very neat way of reminding the Pope of Rome that he has no official standing in Europolitics and that things are not going to go his way.
Also, when Catholic politicians like Ruth Kelly ask us to trust them to honour principals of equality over sexual behaviours they believe as a matter of private personal conviction to be immoral...Poland is a good reason to be at least somewhat sceptical.
Admittedly, and in favour of Kelly, there is the issue that she has no hope of running things and that therefore any homophobia on her part is not as dangerous as that which we see in Poland and elsewhere. Why is it, and this is not just a rhetorical question, why is it that one of the first things tyrants do when they go off the rails is crack down on LGBT people? It was one of the first signs that Castro was going to betray the revolution; in Mugabe's case, it was later than his atrocities in Matebeleland, but before much else. Why are we the canaries for this particular drift? And how soon before e.g. Anglican bishops start applying Niemoller's famous saying to this matter?