U.S. Embassy officials in Warsaw, Poland, under the Obama administration complained that Catholic Church doctrine is a major source of “homophobia” in the heavily Catholic country, according to diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks.
The messages from the American embassy in Poland’s capital, marked “sensitive but unclassified,” were part of a dump of over 250,000 official government documents by the anti-secrecy website.
An August 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw dated criticized the Catholic Church as being central in promoting “homophobia” in the former Soviet-controlled country.
“The Catholic Church plays a significant role in the formation and propagation of anti-gay attitudes in Polish society, especially in rural areas,” states the communiqué entitled “Gay rights in Poland: long road ahead.”
Not explained is why the American embassy is involved in a matter of such sensitivity within a friendly nation.
Officials did note that “the Polish Episcopate has condemned violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians,” but said that message is ignored by local priests teaching that sexual attraction to the same gender is “a deviant condition.”
“Moreover, the Church continues to label homosexual acts as sins and calls on homosexuals to practice abstinence. Most Polish opponents of gay rights cite ‘Catholic values’ and ‘natural law’ to support their views,” the cable continues.
Within the United States, the same position is taken by the Catholic church and most evangelical denominations. Only a small minority of “liberal” mainstream churches have stopped calling homosexual practice sinful, will perform homosexual marriages or ordain homosexual clergy.
The leaked cables noted that some Polish lawmakers are readying defenses against acceptance of homosexuality in schools by drafting legislation similar to a law in Lithuania that bans favorable depictions of homosexuality.
Despite cultural and political hurdles, the American embassy appeared optimistic that the gay rights movement would eventually take hold in Poland.