POLAND: Adventists Join Other Protestants in Denouncing Attacks on Martin Luther
Protestant leaders in one of Poland’s largest cities have condemned a poster campaign denouncing Martin Luther, the 16th-century German Protestant leader, as a blasphemer and heretic, a news release by Ecumenical News International reported.
SUPPORTING THE REFORMATION: Mariusz Maikowski, a pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lublin in eastern Poland, voiced the concerns of many Protestants in the country when he said a recent ad campaign linking Protestant reformer Martin Luther with a devil was “shocking” and “deeply offending.”“What would happen if someone hung placards outside a Catholic church attacking the ‘blasphemy and heresy of John Paul II,’ or the ‘blasphemy of Muhammad’ at a mosque?” asked Mariusz Maikowski, a pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lublin in eastern Poland. “These actions are clearly illegal [in Poland], yet the local council has said and done nothing,” Maikowski told ENI.
According to the release, the posters were captioned: “The blasphemy and heresy of Martin Luther,” and pictured a devil whispering in the Protestant reformer’s ear.
They were displayed throughout Lublin to advertise lectures by Ryszard Mozgol, an official with Poland’s National Remembrance Institute, the body charged with handling the records of the country’s communist-era secret police.
The lectures were held on October 15 and 31, the four hundred and ninetieth anniversary of Luther’s Protestant Reformation, and were planned by the Organization of Polish Monarchists. Founded in 1989, the group claims to have several thousand members and seeks to establish a “Catholic State” within Poland.
Of Poland’s 38 million people, 95 percent are Catholic.
“It’s shocking and unbelievable that depictions of Luther as anti-Christ could still be appearing in the 21st century,” Maikowski told ENI.
Maikowski said the campaign had “caused deep offense” to Lublin’s Protestant and Orthodox communities. He also said local prosecutors should mount an investigation.
The Rev. Dariusz Chwastek, a Lutheran pastor from Lublin, described the posters as “highly damaging.” Chwastek, who overseas Lublin’s Holy Trinity parish, said, “I think too much blood has flowed, and too many stakes been burned, to reignite these disputes again centuries later.”
The monarchist organization’s president, Lukasz Kluska, refused to apologize and was quoted by Poland’s Dziennik Wschodni newspaper as saying that minority church representatives could have presented their opinions during the lecture.
—by Jonathan Luxmoore, Ecumenical News International, with Adventist News Network Staff