A Nobel Peace Prize recipient has drawn fierce criticism for saying gay people should stop trying to impose their will on the rest of society and that they should be kept out of politics.
Lech Walesa, a former president hailed as a hero of Poland’s Left, has stunned many and called the honor of the Nobel prize into question after saying that he believes LGBT politicians should not be allowed to be on the front benches in parliament. Instead, he said they should be consigned to the doldrums or, better yet, be “behind a wall.”
The 69-year-old Walesa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, reportedly told private Polish broadcaster TVN, “They have to know that they are a minority and must adjust to smaller things. And not rise to the greatest heights … spoiling things for the others and taking from the majority.”
Voters in Poland recently gave seats to the country’s first openly gay serving politician, Robert Biedron, and first openly trans politician Anna Grodska.
“I don’t agree to this and I will never agree to it,” Walesa went on. “A minority should not impose itself on the majority.”
Despite criticism, Walesa has refused to apologize. He contends that he has been misunderstood. However, Walesa, who identifies as a Roman Catholic, is known to have staunch anti-gay views.
During a political campaign rally in 2000, Walesa reportedly said he believed gay people “need medical treatment,” advancing, “Imagine if all people were like that. We wouldn’t have any descendants.”
In 2012, Walesa said during an interview that if his son came out gay he would try to stop him from going down the “wrong road.”
Indeed one of Walesa’s sons, Jaroslaw Walesa, who is a politician at the European Parliament, has condemned his father, reportedly saying, “Gays, lesbians, the homosexuals, have the right to have a representation.”
Walesa, a father of eight, became Poland’s first elected democratic leader in 1990. Prior to this, in the 1970s, he had organized free non-Communist trade unions and took part in strikes and protests, for all of which he has earned a special place in the polish Left’s history. However, even among the faithful he has now elicited protests.
“From a human point of view his language was appalling. It was the statement of a troglodyte,” Jerzy Wenderlich, deputy speaker of Parliament with the Democratic Left Alliance, is quoted as saying to the press.
Of course this isn’t the first time that a Nobel Peace Prize winner has been found lacking.
Eyebrows were raised in 2009 when President Obama won the prize despite having only been president for a few months. President Obama even recently joked via a video message delivered to the annual dinner at the Alfalfa Club, “Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Price for negotiating an end to the Vietnam War; and I won mine for. . . [looking off camera] What did I win mine for?”
From a very different vain came the criticism for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia who won the prize alongside two other female leaders in 2011, after she refused to even contemplate overhauling Liberia’s anti-gay laws, reportedly saying, ”We like ourselves just the way we are.”
The past few days have also seen Canadian researchers publish a study in which they claim evidence suggests that 1979 prize recipient Mother Teresa, who the Catholic Church has long held as a symbol of piety, humility and charity, actually did relatively little to help the poor in her care given the huge sums of money thrown her way, and that her derisive and incredibly conservative views — for instance her absolute unconditional opposition to abortion and contraception — may have done a great deal of harm.
This, of course, would not have been news to the late Christopher Hitchens who famously wrote numerous polemics on Teresa’s questionable actions and the media’s salivating over her so-called saintly credentials. Hitchens also offered an indictment of the aforementioned Henry Kissinger who he said history showed to be a war criminal.
So, perhaps a more thorough vetting of Nobel prize candidates is in order?
Image credit: Thinkstock.
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