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Declaration of the Polish Atheist Coalition on the
Celebration of the Canonization of John-Paul II in Poland
Sunday 27th April 2014
The association “Atheist Coalition” feels obliged to protest against the awarding of official status in Poland to the celebration of the canonization of John Paul II.
Canonization is a strictly religious procedure practiced by the Roman Catholic Church. The process of elevation requires two documented cases of miracles attributed to the intercession before god of the candidate for sainthood. We do not question the right of believers to worship according to the principles of their religion. However, the affirmation of miracles or other manifestations of magical thinking, like the infamous prayer for rain by public authorities, including the highest state authorities, and including the Polish Parliament, President and Prime Minister, is the promotion by the State of irrational attitudes, contrary to scientific opinions and the aspirations of an educated society.
Similarly, modern Polish society in the process of secularization rejects the dogmatism and extreme conservatism imposed by the Catholic Church, because they violate human rights, especially the rights of women and homosexuals, as well as limit the freedoms and civil rights in the sphere of freedom of conscience, speech and expression, by discriminating against people of other faiths or atheists. This is due to the appropriation of the legal system by the Catholic religion or violation of the law, including the Constitution and other legal acts, such as the law on guarantees of freedom of conscience and religion. In this context, it is impossible not to mention the role that John Paul II played in the process of deformation of sectarian principles of political and social life in Poland.
Recognition and respect for the person of Karol Wojtyla is a private matter for each person. We will let historians answer the question whether John Paul II was an icon of freedom, a providential man, a national hero and a great patriot. Today, the servility of the Polish government towards a foreign state — the Vatican — to realize the spectacle of its propaganda raises the disapproval of many citizens. The Polish Constitution guarantees us the neutrality of the state and its autonomy from the Church. The behaviour of Polish official authorities, including the pressure on Parliament for adoption by acclamation of a resolution of gratitude for the canonization of John Paul II, is an affront to the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Protests also rises against the enormous expenses to the public, of undisclosed amount, to finance the celebration of the canonization of John Paul II in Poland, expenses which will be covered with money from Polish taxpayers.
We demand that the canonization of John Paul II be recognized as a purely religious act to which a neutral state cannot give a political dimension. We call on the authorities of the state to comply with the standards of a democratic state of law in which no citizen is either favoured or discriminated against because of one’s religion or lack thereof, and one’s national identity is not related to religion.