Croatian Catholics Protest Christianophobia

Religion Teacher Sued for Comments on Homosexuality

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ZAGREB, Croatia, MARCH 16, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Croatian Catholics are not accustomed to being able to hold public demonstrations, but this week they took to the streets to protest Christianophobia in their country.

In a note sent to ZENIT, Vincent Batarelo, a layman with the Internet community Vigilare, reported that this peaceful demonstration took place on Monday in front of a Zagreb courthouse where a Catholic religious education teacher was being sued by a lesbian organization. Vigilare helped to organize the demonstration.

The lesbian group, Kontra, filed a lawsuit against Jelena Mudrovcic for allegedly stating that "homosexuality is a sickness."

The teacher denied the allegations and stated that she only taught what is written in the religious education textbook.

The student who reported Mudrovcic was not enrolled in the class, but commented on it to her mother, Marina Vukusic, who in turn made the accusations against the teacher to the lesbian activist group.

In the allegations, Kontra invoked a law on anti-discrimination that was implemented a couple of years ago in Croatia; at the time, Church leaders protested that this law would be used to suppress religious freedom, Batarelo noted.

The public education system currently allows religious education classes as elective courses, but Kontra affirmed its intention to try to change this.

More than 200 Catholics stood in front of the courthouse with signs urging, "Stop Christianophobia."

Batarelo explained that this is a "historic moment, as it is the first time that Catholics in 20 years of Croatia's independence have taken to the streets."

"The aim was fulfilled and a template for future action was created," he added.

Batarelo explained that this news is "especially pertinent to Catholics and Christians in Eastern Europe (former communist countries)" to encourage them also to stand up for their beliefs.