January 31, 2023 in Lublin, an appeal hearing was held in the trial of Pastor Pawel Chojecki, editor-in-chief of Against the Tide TV. The pastor of the New Covenant Church in Lublin is on trial for words – a few sentences from sermons and other programs aired on the web TV he runs, which were disliked by a group of hecklers and the Law and Justice party prosecution.
At the hearing, the Court of Appeals decided to adjourn the hearing to April 13 due to new evidence requests submitted by the defense and a request to interview other Protestant pastors who confirm that what Pastor Chojecki says and believes is part of the broad Protestant mainstream. As a reminder, if the Court of Appeals in Lublin convicts the pastor, there is no longer any possibility of appeal in Poland.
During the hearing, the audience was presented with recordings of Pastor Chojecki’s statements that allegedly offended the religious feelings of the accusers. The wide-ranging audience applauded the views presented by the pastor. T-shirts and banners reading “freedom of speech for everyone” and “Support Pastor Chojecki” dominated the audience.
Pastor Chojecki commented on the hearing as follows:
“Today I was really grateful to the High Court for making it possible that so many people today had the opportunity to learn about the truth of Protestant views and sound political views. The accusers want to limit our freedom of speech, criticism of Catholic dogma and criticism of the Pope, the bishops, as well as political criticism. We do not accept this. God willing, these clippings, which are being let loose in court today, will be seen by all of Poland. Anyway, the public reacted unequivocally to what they had the opportunity to hear in court, for which I have been on trial for several years now.”
Recall that the court of first instance sentenced Pastor Chojecki to eight months of restriction of liberty in the form of community service. In addition, the pastor must pay the costs of the proceedings in the amount of nearly PLN 21,000.
Pastor Pawel Chojecki has repeatedly argued to the court that he did not mean to insult President Duda, for whom, by the way, he once voted, but constructive criticism to make the head of state reflect and fulfill his election promises. In his pre-Christmas program “Will Pastor Chojecki Apologize to President Duda?” on Against the Tide TV, Pastor Chojecki apologized to the president for the harsh words he had used against him, and acknowledged that given how President Duda is acting now, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he would no longer call him a coward.
Regarding accusations of insulting the religious feelings of Catholics, Pastor Chojecki points out that as a Protestant he criticizes the dogmas of the Catholic Church, pointing out that they are incompatible with the Bible. As for the accusations of insulting Catholic objects of religious reverence, it must be stressed that these accusations are also about words – there was no real insulting of objects of Catholic reverence. The other accusations the pastor calls bizarre.
On November 22, 2022, the appellate court adjourned the case until January 31, as the subsidiary accuser submitted further recordings to show that Pastor Chojecki continues his activities (sic!). In the video below, you can see what the accusers believe Protestants are not allowed to say!
Four appeals have been filed to the verdict of the court of first instance. In Pastor Chojecki’s defense, the law firm of legal counsel Adam Wroblewski, the law firm of attorney Andrzej Sawicki and the law firm of attorney Andrzej Turczyn filed an appeal. The appeal was also filed by prosecutor Katarzyna Urban, demanding a prison sentence!
Who are the accusers of Pastor Pawel Chojecki?
Some of them are facing criminal proceedings for harassing the pastor, his family, and the New Covenant Church in Lublin. They didn’t even spare the pastor’s grandson, calling him the “Antichrist.” They poured fecal matter on the Church’s headquarters and incited physical violence against the pastor. They run insulting websites for the environment of Against the Tide Television, which often contain threats and criminal threats against members of the editorial staff.
One of the accusers was found guilty by the court of insulting Jews; anti-Semitic phrases were included in the titles of materials they submitted to the prosecutor’s office, and one of the accusers wrote anti-Semitic books (“It is surprising that during such a prestigious cultural event as the Historical Book Fair, publications of an anti-Semitic nature were promoted, including Ritual Murder in Rzeszow? A Historical Investigation or Wise Men of Zion – A New Opening by Radoslaw Patlewicz,” WP Books). There is also anti-Ukrainian content in the comments of this community.
Who is Pastor Pawel Chojecki?
He was raised as an atheist. However, in adulthood he decided to become a Christian.
Today he is the pastor and founder of the New Covenant Church in Lublin, as well as the creator and editor-in-chief of the Internet TV, magazine and publishing house “Against the Tide.”
In 1986, in the “Vistula” Hall in Cracow, at the age of 23, Pawel Chojecki makes the most groundbreaking decision of his life. He realizes that Jesus is not just a figure from history but is alive now and close to every person. “Then I realized that Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for my sins, to free me from eternal hell. God said in the Bible that I can’t earn salvation with good works, that the one who can save me is Jesus alone – and He wants to save me for free, regardless of my works! That’s when my wife and I asked Jesus to save us here and now.” – Pastor Chojecki recalls today.
In 1988, he and his friends founded the Lublin Christian Association “Reconciliation” and began publishing the monthly magazine “Reconciliation” and printing Christian books in small editions on a duplicator.
However, he quickly discovers that the Roman Catholic Church is not based on the Bible, but on human dogmas that contradict it. He realizes that it is not the Bible, but the Church’s Teaching Office that is the highest authority in the organization, and that for salvation according to Catholicism it is not enough what Jesus did on the Cross of Golgotha, but sacraments and so-called good works are needed.
In 1989, he decides to leave Catholicism.
He establishes the church Christian Community “Reconciliation” and heads the “Reconciliation” Publishing House.
In 1996, the pastor establishes the New Covenant Church in Lublin, which is entered in the Register of Churches and Other Religious Associations.
In 2003, Pawel Chojecki begins publishing a Christian socio-political monthly “Against the Tide” and becomes its editor-in-chief.
In 2008, Pastor Chojecki starts the Against the Tide online television station.
8 years later, on February 1, 2016, Paul Chojecki launches a daily program on IPP TV dedicated to commenting on current topics. Live viewership is frequently among the world’s top YouTube sites. The programs have ranges from several thousand to several hundred thousand viewers. The pastor’s trademark is becoming waving a New Testament in front of the cameras, of which IPP TV has since distributed many thousands of copies across Poland.
Pastor Chojecki initiated the Megachurch project, an initiative to evangelize Poland based on four pillars: strong local churches, modern media, a Christian university and Christians in politics.
The motto of his ministry is: “Zeal for your house will consume me” from John 2:17.
WHO IS PASTOR CHOJECKI? WATCH (video published May 12, 2021)