Tomasz K., Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture, Zbigniew Ziobro and unnamed Polish Catholic bishops #homophobia #fundie newsweek.com
Ikea is being sued by a former employee who claims he was fired for refusing to take down anti-gay comments from the company's intranet.
On May 16, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, the Swedish furniture maker posted an article on its internal website, underscoring support for the LGBT community. The post also encouraged employees to ask customers what pronoun they preferred and engage in conversations with LGBT customers about their partners and families.
That didn't sit right with at least one employee in Warsaw, identified only as Tomasz K. He told Polish state broadcaster TVP Info, "I've been hired to sell furniture but I'm a Catholic and these aren't my values."
Tomasz posted a comment to the article, reportedly writing that "acceptance and promotion of homosexuality and other deviations is a source of scandal."
He also included two Bible verses: One, Matthew 18:6, reads, "Woe to him through whom scandals come, it would be better for him to tie a millstone around his neck and plunge him in the depths of the sea."
The other, Leviticus 20:13, decrees, "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them."
Shortly after leaving his comments, Tomasz said he was called in by management and asked to take them down. "I said that I cannot withdraw my words because this is a quote from the Holy Bible," he told TVP Info." As a Catholic I can not censure God."
Not long after, Tomasz was brought back in and told his contract was being terminated. "I was supposed to pack, empty my locker and give them my ID," he said.
Tomasz filed a lawsuit against Ikea last week, alleging religious discrimination and wrongful termination. His case has been taken up by the Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture, an ultra-conservative Polish group opposing LGBT rights and access to abortion. In a statement on the Ordo Iuris website, Tomasz insisted he believed "every man deserves respect."
Tomasz denied his comments encouraged violence against homosexuals: "You do not need to be a theologian or a philosopher to realize that the Holy Bible is not read in a literal way, and its text is full of allegories and hyperbole."
On Saturday, a group of Polish bishops denounced Ikea for letting Tomasz go.
"From the point of view of the law and above all of propriety and common sense, it is unacceptable to attack the IKEA employee who refused LGBT indoctrination in the workplace," the bishops said in a statement. The bishops said Tomasz defended his faith in an "exemplary" way.
According to Bloomberg, IKEA is now being investigated by prosecutors in Poland and members of the ruling Law and Justice Party have suggested a boycott of the company.
Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro told TVP Info that, if true, the allegations show how foreign companies discriminate against anyone who doesn't share their values. "This is unacceptable," Ziobro said. "It's absolutely scandalous."