June 4, 2006


Poland takes a sharp right turn (Tom Hundley, 5/29/06, Chicago Tribune)

Poland could be Europe's first red state.

The 25 members of the European Union do not think of themselves in terms of blue states and red states, at least not yet. If they did, the map of Europe would have a decidedly blue hue. Even countries with conservative governments, such as France and Germany, are blue when it comes to the "values" debate.

But Poland cuts against the grain. Lech Kaczynski, winner of last October's presidential election, is opposed to abortion and gay marriage. He has instructed his education minister to come up with guidelines for the "proper upbringing of children." And lately, he has been spending a lot of time cozying up to conservative Christian groups.

While Christianity appears to be in a steep decline across most of Europe, in Poland the faith still burns brightly. The question is whether Poland is an anomaly, a quirky throwback to another era, or a harbinger of Europe's coming culture war.

Poland's churches are packed; its seminaries still are churning out healthy numbers of priests. According to census data, 96 percent of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholic; 57 percent say they attend Mass every Sunday. There now seem to be as many statues of Pope John Paul II as there once were of V.I. Lenin.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 4, 2006 7:34 AM
Comments for this post are closed.