UPDATE: Polish Pastor Awaits Verdict in Case Accusing Him of “Insulting the Polish Presidency and Religious Sensibilities of Catholics”
A third and final hearing took place in the criminal trial of Polish Pastor Pawel Chojecki today, May 28. Although no verdict was reached in the case, according to AgainstTheTideTV, the Polish state prosecutor’s office is requesting 10 months of prison and demanding Chojecki pay an undisclosed amount in fines and remove all “damaging content” from his TV channel.
The case has been adjourned until June 10, when the judge is expected to deliver a final verdict.
The Case Against the Pastor
Pastor Chojecki, who has devoted his life to both the Christian ministry and anti-communist political activism, has decried what he views as unpatriotic, left-wing policies enacted and enabled by President Andrzej Duda, who has led the Republic of Poland since 2015. A figure well known to longtime readers of The New American, Chojecki has also condemned the Marxist rebels overtaking the pulpits of America. Today, he faces prison time in his native Poland for “insulting” the Polish presidency, which he believes has “misappropriated the idea of freedom and civil rights deeply rooted in [Poland’s] history.”
In addition to founding the evangelical New Covenant Church in Lublin, Poland, Chojecki is the founder and editor-in-chief of the fast-growing online grassroots organization Against the Tide TV, the church’s magazine and publishing house. He also launched the Megachurch project, a mission-based organization built on the “four pillars of strong local churches, modern media, a Christian university, and Christians in politics,” aimed at preparing Christian pastors in Poland to become strong, God-fearing leaders.
Once a member of the free-market, conservative Real Politics Union — in 2008, Poland’s most libertarian community — Chojecki reportedly left that group after it adopted a pro-Russian rhetoric in the once-communist nation. At present, Chojecki exercises his freedom of speech by tackling controversial social issues via his sermons and online Christian conservative platform. Through this work, he has amassed hundreds of thousands of devoted followers and openly criticized “the remnants of communism” in President Duda’s current leadership.
For these “assaults” on the state, Chojecki is charged by the state’s prosecution’s office with “insulting the Polish president, calling for a war with communist North Korea, and offending the religious feelings of Catholics in his sermons at his Protestant church.”
Notably, it was November 2016, when in a stunning proclamation of faith and religious tradition, President Duda joined leaders from both church and state to proclaim Jesus Christ as the King of Poland in a Catholic ceremony in Krakow. This national and historic declaration, which also denounced the evil works of the devil, was repeatedly performed in churches across the country, prompting the Conference of Polish Bishops to suggest the official announcement was “not the culmination but the beginning of the work of enthronement of Jesus Christ in Poland and the Polish nation.”
Yet five years later, in 2021, the outcome remains murky as to what the “enthronement of Jesus Christ in Poland” has meant for the country’s national policies, as Chojecki claims that Duda has worked to re-establish ties with communist China, in violation of his presidential campaign promises of ending any strategic partnership with the regime.
Is the Pastor a Criminal?
Chojecki’s absurd criminal trial began this past March. The second hearing, held April 29, saw the state prosecution accuse the pastor, allegedly based on quotes taken out of context, of “offending the religious sensibilities of Catholics, insulting the president, and praising the initiation of aggressive war with North Korea.”
As a long-standing, outspoken supporter of freedom and liberty and harsh opponent of certain Catholic dogma and hypocrisies of the state, Chojecki’s greatest concern is that the current Polish state bears no resemblance to the once-great Western power of yore, before it lost its independence, when, in Chojecki’s own words, “religious disputes were separated from patriotism and a common concern for the state’s good.”
“It is the Poland of that period [the 16th century] that is known for its ingesting of religious freedom and tolerance,” said Chojecki in a recent e-mail interview with The New American. “Poland was the power of Western civilization in the 16th century, which we know as the Golden Age. It was then that the discoveries of the Reformation about the role of the Bible published in national languages and salvation as a personal decision of faith in Christ reached our freedom-loving nation.”
In his impassioned response, Chojecki also expressed that he was “ashamed of the current Polish state…. The mere indictment of a Christian pastor for the exercise of freedom of expression, the right to criticism, and the free proclamation of religious beliefs shows that the power of the Catholic-Socialist Law and Justice party cannot turn Poland into the republic that the founding fathers of the USA and the Polish patriots who fought ‘for your and our freedom’ dreamed of.”
Chojecki’s Legacy (So Far)
Raised an atheist, Chojecki accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior as an adult. It was shortly after he graduated from high school that he met his wife, Marzena, “the answer to his first prayer to God.”
In 1981, Chojecki participated in organizing both the anti-Communist Teachers’ Strike in Lublin, and took part in the independent strike at the Krakow University of Technology. Marzena and Paweł envisioned doing something extraordinary in Poland, and in 1986, Chojecki converted to Christianity, becoming involved in the American campus ministry organization Campus Crusade for Christ.
Chojecki told The New American that he had “a great hope that the Solidarity movement and the anti-communist changes of 1989 would lead to the return to such an understanding of freedom in modern Poland. Unfortunately, every day I am increasingly afraid that the current Polish state is becoming a Catholic religious state, which strongly continues in the alliance of the altar and the throne with the successors of communists and socialists from the Cold War.”
He continued, “In my sermons and TV programs, I criticized Catholic dogmas according to biblical and Protestant traditions. Yet, the state prosecutor’s office decided that such criticism was unacceptable and that I deserved to be punished in prison.”
Censorship in Poland
At issue here is freedom of speech. One may disagree with Chojecki’s opinions while still supporting his right to express them. But this has not prevented the Polish authorities from surveilling the pastor for years, and on December 31, 2020, an indictment by the District Court in Lublin was issued against Chojecki for “insulting the President of the Republic of Poland and inciting hatred on the basis of sectarianism.”
Reportedly accused of calling President Duda “a sleepy agent,” “a little firefly, rather a firefly with a toilet,” (Gasp!) “traitor,” “finished coward,” and insulting the Polish nation using terms such as “Catholic idiot Poland,” and “Poles are sh*tty,” Chojecki noted that “Interestingly,” before Duda took office, in 2012, “he [the president] argued that citizens should have the right to criticism of the president.”
At that time, now-President Duda was condemning then-President Bronisław Komorowski, whom Chojecki says was from “a post-communist camp.” Nine years later, the hypocrisy of the current leadership is overwhelmingly evident, as the state works to prosecute and imprison Pastor Chojecki.
Support This Pastor, Help Spread the Word
During a time of incredible uncertainty and increased global persecution of Christians, Chojecki is urgently asking his supporters for prayer and for wisdom for the judge to reach a just verdict.
The YouTube video (below), released on May 22, shows the Polish pastor pleading for prayer, as he contends with the increasing pressures of a criminal trial and faces egregious religious and political charges.
“I defend everyone’s freedom of speech, including those with whom I disagree,” said Chojecki. “As a church and [in] television, we speak up for, among others, the followers of Falun Gong and Uighurs persecuted by communist China.”
The pastor goes on to say, “Most of you don’t know me, and you don’t know how to react to this information. I understand that. I am asking for two things. First, pass on this information — #SupportPastorChojecki — to inform the public around the world — especially Christians — that one might go to prison in Poland for criticizing Catholics in sermons, and that the Polish Catholic authorities are trying to censor and limit a Polish pastor’s freedom to preach.”
Most certainly, Chojecki is not receiving a fair trial, and the drastic consequences of what could be as many as five years in prison — though as stated above state prosecutor’s office is requesting 10 months — the are severe. The pastor is crying out for support so Christians around the world will know about the injustices of the church and the state in Poland. Please consider praying for the pastor and showing support by e-mailing [email protected]
With the final hearing scheduled for Friday, May 28, the verdict is still out as to whether the state will make an example of Pastor Chojecki by giving him the full sentence. If so, this could serve to deter Christians from exercising the rights that were fought for in the 1980s, when communism finally fell in Poland, allowing citizens to express their opinions — positive or negative — about the government or the Catholic Church.
Consider learning more about Chojecki’s legacy in the video below and spreading the word about who he is and why he is fighting for principles of freedom, liberty, and justice for all.
It is imperative that we make our voices heard to the Polish government. To easily contact the relevant Polish officials in favor of the dismissal of charges against Pastor Chojecki, visit The John Birch Society’s action alert here.
Published at Sat, 29 May 2021 00:43:11 +0000
Attribution – For more Information here is the Article Post Source: https://thenewamerican.com/update-polish-pastor-awaits-verdict-in-case-accusing-him-of-insulting-the-polish-presidency-and-religious-sensibilities-of-catholics/