Polish pop star faces two years’ prison for blasphemy
Doda dared to express a negative opinion about the authors of the Bible. She may spend two years in prison.
Think the religious right goes overboard in the US? Under Poland’s blasphemy law, a Polish pop singer is facing two years in jail for interview comments about the Bible.
26-year-old Dorota Rabczewska, known as “Doda”, is a Polish pop star. Generally not much different from American pop stars — other than being a member of MENSA — Doda likes to speak her mind. That’s gotten her into some hot water this time around.
In a television interview last year, Doda explained that she found it far easier to believe in dinosaurs than the Bible; “it is hard to believe in something written by people who drank too much wine and smoked herbal cigarettes.”
Polish Catholics weren’t too pleased. Under Poland’s draconian blasphemy law, simply offending someone’s religious sensibilities can earn you hefty fines and even imprisonment.
Ryszard Nowak is chairman of the Committee for the Defence Against Sects. This group exists to “protect Christian values”. Says Nowak,
It is clear that Doda thinks that the Bible was written by drunkards and junkies. I believe that she committed a crime and offended the religious feelings of both Christians and Jews.
You can see some of Doda’s work — videos, images, etc. — HERE. Be forewarned, some of the images are not work-appropriate!
Nergal of Behemoth
In March of this year, Adam “Nergal” Darski — Doda’s fiancee, and lead for heavy metal band Behemoth — was charged for destroying a Bible
during a stage performance two years ago, after calling the Catholic Church “the most murderous cult on the planet”.
The couple aren’t the first to be brought to court over offending Christians. In 2003, artist Dorota Nieznalska was convicted of “insulting religious feeling” and sentenced to six months of “restricted freedom” — that is, travel restrictions — and 20 hours/month of community service. Why?
In 2002, Nieznalska created an art installation called “Passion”. Part of the installation offended Christians:
League of Polish Families members attacked Nieznalska verbally and physically at the Gdansk gallery where her Passion installation was being exhibited last year. The work, an exploration of masculinity and suffering, shows a cross on which a photograph of a fragment of a naked male body, including the genitalia, has been placed. The League sued the artist. In July 2003, a court found Nieznalska guilty of “offending religious feelings.” It sentenced her to half a year of “restriction of freedom” (she was specifically banned from leaving the country) and ordered her to do community work and pay all trial expenses. When the judge read the sentence, League members packing the courtroom applauded ecstatically. The artist has been pursuing legal appeal to get the sentence overturned on free speech grounds.
How can citizens of European nations which maintain blasphemy laws — and there are more than a few — cry foul when Muslims are offended by a cartoon, when they themselves press charges and demand imprisonment over something as simple as a pop star making negative statements about their religion? There may be a difference in the degree of punishment, but isn’t the intent the same, to silence those who don’t agree?
Blasphemy laws are an offense to anyone who values liberty and intellectual freedom. They are a tool used by religious fundamentalists to silence nonbelievers. Fundamentalists of different religions do not use the laws to silence one another (such as Christians vs. Islamists); no, they are used solely against the secularist. Maybe it’s time for the secularists to start suing the religionists!