Atheists March in Poland

Today is the day that hundreds of atheists in Poland are staging a coming out march:

What is the significance of this march?

“We want to show that there are non-believers living in Poland,” Ewelina Podsiad, the chief organiser of the march, told the Krakow Post. According to the MAiA website, the non-theist minority needs to be recognised because “in a situation when a minority is not visible, it is easy to discriminate against it, to exclude its interests and rights, especially in the crucial area of legislation”.

The march’s organisers want to show Polish society that there are non-believers amongst them, and argue that the country’s legislation should reflect this. Ms. Podsiad also explained that it’s important for non-believers to realise that they are not alone. Around 300 participants are expected at the march tomorrow afternoon. While Ms. Podsiad does not expect trouble from religious or extremist groups, MAiA has nonetheless applied for police protection to ensure the safety of the marchers.

This is a big deal in one of the most Pope-friendly cities in the world. I wish them well and look forward to positive reports from the march.

(Thanks to Anna for the link!)

  • http://seantheblogonaut.com Sean the Blogonaut

    Bravo to the Poles

  • Rostrum Camera

    Is nothing sacred to atheists? Now they’re even messing around with the Polish calendar! They’ll be claiming next that the earth isn’t flat.

    Having visited Poland several times and as an atheist who enjoys the religious history of a country, I wish them well. I certainly never felt that their religion was as threatening as the American religious right or the extreme Muslim views and I suspect and hope that the police protection will be unnecessary. The Poles seem to have a very accommodating and welcoming character. I just wonder if they generally make a (false) connection between atheism and communism? It would be unfortunate if there are echoes of the past into the present.

  • http://www.krakowpost.com Anna

    @Rostrum – You nailed it! The legacy of communism means that atheists are not trusted at best and feared at worst in Poland as well as in other post-communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

    However, I’m happy to report that the march went off without any problems! The weather was poor, but despite that there were about 250 people there. Meanwhile, the only protest consisted of a handful of priests quietly praying at the point where the march ended. In fact, the police protection was comical, as the officers outnumbered the priests by three to one. There were some very original signs (including a flag of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!), as I’ve posted in my blog.


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