Woman arrested for blasphemy after painting the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo

This depiction of the Virgin Mary of Częstochowa with a rainbow halo got the artist arrested in PolandPhoto: Joachim Brudziński

A 51-year-old Polish woman has been arrested for blasphemy after she painted the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo.

Polish interior minister Joachim Brudziński announced the arrest, saying she was detained for “carrying out a profanation of the Virgin Mary of Częstochowa.” The Black Madonna of Częstochowa is a Byzantine icon that is housed in the country’s holiest Catholic shrine.

“Offending religious feeling” is a crime in Poland punishable by up to two years in prison.

“Telling stories about freedom and ‘tolerance’ doesn’t give anyone the right to offend the feelings of believers,” Brudziński said, adding that the paintings are “cultural barbarism.”

Related: Is Poland about to issue a Russian-style ‘gay propaganda’ ban?

The LGBTQ community in Poland has been under increasing attack in recent years as the country’s rightwing government attempts to copy Russian methods of demonizing LGBTQ people to hide their own failings.

“We are dealing with a direct attack on the family and children – the sexualization of children, that entire LBGT movement, gender,” Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the ruling rightwing Law and Justice party, told supporters last month. “This is imported, but they today actually threaten our identity, our nation, its continuation and therefore the Polish state.”


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