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Religious symbols to disappear from Warsaw council offices

16.05.2024 23:30
Religious symbols (in practice, mainly crosses) have been banned from public places in council offices in Warsaw - the first Polish city to take this step. Warsaw's mayor Rafał Trzaskowski, himself a liberal Catholic, has explained why. 
Rafał Trzaskowski, mayor of Warsaw.
Rafał Trzaskowski, mayor of Warsaw. Photo: Marian Zubrzycki/PAP

Rafał Trzaskowski, the mayor of Warsaw, has stated that the ban is intended to be an expression of religious freedom, "no-one is taking up a fight against any religion"

He emphasized on X that removing religious symbols from the walls and desks of government offices is an expression of respect for citizens' religious convictions - or lack thereof:

Everyone has a right to their faith (or lack of faith). This is also true of state officials. Everyone who comes to a government office to deal with an issue has the right to feel they are in a neutral office. That's all there is to it. 

Let's not get hysterical. No-one is out to attack any religion in Warsaw... 

Każdy ma prawo do swojej wiary (lub jej braku). Także urzędnicy i urzędniczki. A każdy, kto przychodzi do urzędu załatwić swoją sprawę, ma prawo czuć się jak w neutralnym urzędzie. Po prostu.

Nie dajmy się zwariować. Nikt nie zamierza prowadzić w Warszawie walki z jakąkolwiek…

Trzaskowski's attitude to religion has been scrutinised before. During the 2020 Polish presidential elections (where Trzaskowski and Duda were rival candidates in the second round), Trzaskowski was criticised by a journalist from TVP who wanted to know "why Trzaskowski and his wife had withdrawn their children from Holy Communion preparation?"

Trzaskowski explained that though he himself is Catholic, the decision about completing the Catholic sacraments was ultimately his children's. His daughter took Holy Communion whereas his son did not

Sources: PAP, Wyborcza.pl, NaTemat, X