Pope Francis denounced a resurgence of homophobia on Friday by comparing the rhetoric of anti-gay politicians to that of Adolf Hitler.
“These are actions that are typical of Nazism, that with its persecution of Jews, gypsies, people with homosexual orientation, represent an excellent model of the throwaway culture and culture of hatred,” Francis said.
These threats, Francis said, often take the form of “symbols and actions that are typical of Nazism.” “When I hear a speech (by) someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936,” he said, as reported by CBS News. “These actions are typical (and) represent ‘par excellence’ culture of waste and hate,” he added. “That is what was done in those days and today it is happening again.”
As a result of Nazi rule, six million Jews were killed between 1933 and 1945. Homosexuals and gypsies were also sent to extermination camps.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis condemned anti-Semitism during his weekly Papal audience in Rome. He described the persecution of Jews as “neither human or Christian.” “The Jews are our brothers and sisters and should not be persecuted, understand?” he said.
Pope Francis didn’t name any politician as the target of his remarks, but multiple leaders have espoused homophobic rhetoric in recent months.
Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, said in May that the country’s Supreme Court was “extremely wrong” when they ruled to criminalize homophobia, making it a crime equivalent to racism. Later that year, he told reporters he’d rather have a dead son than a gay son.
Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah announced in March the country would impose draconian new punishments, including death by stoning, for those convicted of gay sex, adultery and rape. The decision was later reversed after international backlash.
A report by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry showed that anti-semitic attacks rose 13% from 2017 to 2018. The highest number of incidents were reported in major Western democracies such as the United States, France, Britain and Germany.