Virgin Mary With Rainbow Halo: On March 2, 2021, a Polish court acquitted three activists who were accused of desecration and offending religious sentiments for adding the LGBTQ+ rainbow to images of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus.
In April 2019, Elżbieta Podleśna, Anna Prus, and Joanna Gzyra put up images of Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo in protest of what they called the “exclusion of LGBT+ people from society” by the country’s Catholic Church. The images were places around the city of Płock in reaction to an Easter display which featured slogans about crimes and sins. “LGBT” and “gender” were listed among the sins.
Virgin Mary With Rainbow Halo Case:
Joachim Brudziński, Poland’s Interior Minister at that time wrote that “All that nonsense about freedom and ‘tolerance’ does not give anyone the right to insult the feelings of the faithful.” The Polish authorities alleged that the images were “offensive” and accused the activists of “publicly insulting an object of religious worship in the form of this image which offended the religious feelings of others.”
Podleśna was detained in 2019 and held for several hours. In July 2020 all three activists were charged. The case had been viewed as a test of Poland’s commitment to the protection of free speech under a conservative government. According to reports in Polish media state that the activists were not motivated by a desire to offend the religious sentiments or anyone or to insult the image of the Virgin Mary. The Polish court acquitted the activists and the presiding judge stated that “It was not the intention of the activists to insult anyone’s religious feelings or to insult the image of the Mother of God.”
Podleśna told Onet, a news portal that “I still wonder how the rainbow — a symbol of diversity and tolerance — offends these feelings. I cannot understand it, especially since I am a believer.”
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