Saturday, July 22, 2006

Poland's Education Min Slams "Moral Deviation" In Schools

WARSAW (AP)--Poland's new education minister lashed out Wednesday at moral "deviation" and "cosmopolitanism" in the country's schools, and called for more patriotism in education.
Roman Giertych, the head of the small, right-wing League of Polish Families, asserted in parliament that Polish schools must end "a pathology that hinders normal students from normal learning."
He said he opposed anti-homophobia education under the previous, left-wing government - which, he said, included "German transsexuals" teaching Polish children about sex changes at summer workshops in 2005.
"Those golden days of various forms of deviation have ended and will not return," Giertych said.
Giertych took over Poland's Education Ministry in May after his strongly Roman Catholic party entered a government led by the conservative Law and Justice party. That coalition also includes the agrarian-based Self-Defense party.
Giertych slammed education under the previous government of ex-communists, who were swept from power in elections last fall. He also lambasted the biggest opposition party, the pro-business Civic Platform, for its "liberal" stance on education.
Giertych instead called for education based on "traditional models" stressing patriotism.
"(It's) about raising children to love the homeland, not the Soviet Union," he said in a jab at the ex-communists.
He added that children should not be raised "in liberalism and cosmopolitanism like Civic Platform proposes, raising children so that Europe is more important than Poland."
"Poles are Europeans, that's true. But first they need to learn to love their homeland, and learn their own literature and poetry, and later Europe and the world," he said.
Giertych's League of Polish Families has been accused by Jewish groups of being anti-Semitic and by gay rights activitists of being homophobic.
The party also has a youth wing whose members have at times used Nazi gestures and have attacked gay rights parades.
Robert Biedron, the head of Poland's Campaign Against Homophobia, called Giertych's speech an example of "hate speech" that demonstrated the League's manipulation of fears of homosexuals to build its political base.
He denied that transsexuals had ever gone into Polish schools to promote sex changes.