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!

67 Responses to Polish pop star faces two years’ prison for blasphemy

  1. Shit. I'm currently living in Poland and had no idea this law exists. Crazy stuff… I guess that is what happens when 98% of the population is roman catholic…

  2. avatar christianhunter

    Christians are an abomination. They wont stop until they've imprisoned or killed everyone who doesnt pretend to believe in their invisible sky man. They should all be rounded up and shot.

  3. Christianhunter, YOU should (and will be) hunted, but not by Christians, but by Baphomet, FOOL.

  4. Pingback: poland is batshit crazy, a good example of what the religious want to do here - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum

  5. the difference to muslims? muslimes are animals who will murder our children!

    • Not all of them !!! You need to check yourself me think.

    • avatar OvFireandTheVoid

      Are you a fucking moron? Get rid off these stereotypes and start to think with your OWN brain (if you have one, seems like you dont) "animals who will murder our children" ahahahahah hold on Chicken Little, the sky isn't falling yet!

      • Funny how people say Muslims are better. Like basing your faith based upon teachings of a mass murderer, rapist, pedophile and warlord was the ultimate way of being a good person ;)

    • Christians are responsible for the deaths of millions of children – so, no difference then.

  6. I love the term 'batshit crazy' And as a flaming atheist, I am still going to have to say to christianhunter, do unto others…

  7. I'm just trying to get over the fact the the two last people to be charged with this crime were both named 'Dorota'

  8. That is fucked up. HELLO, "GOD" DOESN'T EXIST!!!

  9. "How can Europeans 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?" I hope you're not comparing a two year prison sentence to BEHEAD THOSE WHO INSULT ISLAM.

    • There is no difference to me. It's intolerance.

    • I hope you are not comparing government-sponsored actual imprisonment of people for expressing nothing more than their opinions to someone dude barking "Behead those who insult Islam" (and no one is actually beheaded). Dickhead.

    • The article also says, “There may be a difference in the degree of punishment, but isn’t the intent the same, to silence those who don’t agree?”. It acknowledges the difference in the severity of the punishments (now) but points out that the goal is the same.

  10. Hefty list of corrections concerning this lame article: http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/c1je9/…

    • Hi! I reviewed the list. I was hoping there would be useful information there which I could use to improve the article. Alas, my hopes were not well-founded. Dorota Nieznalska was convicted in 2003. She appealed in 2005, and eventually overturned her conviction. However, I have yet to find any English-language news source for her successful appeal. Do you have one? If so, please share it, so I may update the article with that good news. The nature of the organizations filing the complaints is not in dispute. I never suggested they were part of the government. Poland may not have what it calls "blasphemy laws", but the law is, in effect, banning blasphemy. Blasphemy is not restricted to a single religion.

  11. The Catholic Cult is organized crime and should be treated as such. If any other organization covered up for child rapists they would have already been locked up!

  12. Religion, whatever color penis it's god has, is a medieval form of social and political power. It was evil in it's own time, but is now a worldwide mental illness. Shame on us for allowing the fundamentalists so much influence.

  13. Most people are fucking crazy, especially conservative religious ones. I'm not surprised.

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  15. avatar AtheistsRFascsists

    Along with her boyfriend she is a traitor to her country. Typical mindless moronic selfish pop star. If she hates her country's religion so much she should leave. I guess they preferred the murderous communist regime under soviet rule when thousands of Poles were murdered and millions more lived under persecution from atheist fascists/communists. 3 million Polish Catholics were murdered by the Atheist & Pagan Nazis that she and her boyfriend support. Atheists can always enjoy living in Atheist countries like Communist China and North Korea.

    • "a traitor to her country." You decry someone as a traitor for holding an unpopular opinion? You sound exactly like a fascist to me. "her country's religion" Since when is Roman Catholcism the state religion of Poland? "Atheist & Pagan Nazis" Is that why Wehrmacht soldiers wore "Gott mit Uns" on their belts, because they were so "atheist"? Please get a clue.

      • avatar AtheistsRFascists

        Ah, the old "Gott mit Uns" con. That phrase dated back to medieval times and was used by the Germans in WW1. Note that it was on the belts of the Wehrmacht, not the hardcore anti-Christian SS who were dedicated Atheists and Pagans. 'National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable.' - Senior Nazi and committed Atheist Martin Bormann As it happens, there wasn't even any risk of her going to jail. The case was simply brought by people who were offended, not the government. It will almost certainly be thrown out by the court. http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/c1je9/… The law is really more like against incitement to religious or racial hatred against people. Not criminalizing opinions or free speech.

        • If atheism=communism, then following the same logic catholic=pedophile. Don't attach labels. The blasphemy law is an abomination to free society. Poland's constitution exercises separation of state and church and freedom of religion, I think this law should be challenged in the constitution court. I wonder why there isn't a law in place to protect non-religious feelings. It is simply not fair. I, as an atheist, am offended by somebody's statement that god exists and such. Should I sue? Well, good luck with that.

    • > mindless moronic selfish pop star So, normally I wouldn`t bring this up, but what is your IQ, are you a mensa member? From the quotes mentioned so far there is no reason to believe she quote "hates" religion. It appear she just thinks the bible is silly. I think the story of Jonah living inside the whale is a pretty weird story, clearly fiction… does this mean I feign my friendship for my christian friends? The idea one can be a "traitor" to ones country for expressing a suspicion about the authors of a book long dead before the founding of said country… well that smells fashist-y to me but whatever. Are you perhaps being a tad melodramatic? > If she hates her country's religion so much she should leave. Sad she had a travel ban, if she ever needs a place to crash ;-) Hey, did you know you could move to a theocracy, you wouldn`t need to do any fighting for laws messing with peoples freedom of speech, just a suitcase and a planeticket. BTW a intra EU travel ban sounds like the second bit of law that's against the European convention on human rights. IIRC that bit has a lot fewer loopholes than the free speech bit. > I guess they preferred the murderous communist regime under soviet rule when > thousands of Poles were murdered and millions more lived under persecution Well I guess you would prefer ah, uh… well I dont know since you didn`t say what you prefer. Do you happen to have a quote where she says she likes autocrats who murder people for what they say, sing or believe? I swear this would substantially change my opinion of her. Go ahead plant a seed, convince me and google a quote of her approving of murderers who suppress peoples freedom of conscience. Also, just to nitpick, atheist generally do you hold the beliefs of peganism. > Atheists can always enjoy living in Atheist countries As an Atheist I just love living in secular western Europe. Low crime, low alcohol and substance abuse rates, high standard of living, free speech. Just what is the teen pregnancy rate in Poland again, tell me oh great moral crusader?

    • avatar Mike of Epworth, UK

      I love religionists. Their mind blowing insanity has been a source of amusement to me for many years. Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Jain, Mormon, Hindu etc etc. They all leave me wetting myself with laughter. The irrational restrictions they place on their own lives are fascinating and amusing. I love it when one of their ilk try to convert me. The last woman who tried that on me went away with her faith severely shaken and my laughter ringing in her ears. The problem I have with religionists is the violence and conflict they inflict. That and their attempts to force their own insanity onto others.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler%27s_Pope http://www.cephas-library.com/catholic/catholic_vatican_in_world_politics_chpt_9.html enough said

  16. "How can Europeans 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?" Poland is not representative of Western Europe where the Danish Mohammed cartoon struggle unfolded. Besides based on your 'reasoning' about "Europeans", people in Europe could not criticise political or rights issues if every single of the 27 EU nations (or even the whole of the Council of Europe) were not perfect in conduct. An irony lost on you is that your response is similar sounding to a common politically correct retort when it comes to deflecting attention from Islamic demands for special treatment (i.e. 'respect'), but is precisely decades of stifling political correctness that have opened the door for protecting religion from criticism. The PC establishment in the EU has raised religion to a level of protection with in-born characteristics (sex, race, sexuality) and the consequences are now becoming evident. There have always been genuinely liberal/progressive Europeans upset at how PC attitudes abet the religious conservatives, but there was no incident to open the door for public debate until the insane nature of the Muslim response to those Danish cartoons. That is still just a few years ago and nothing changes that quickly in modern Europe. Cases like this one in Poland may force the court in Strasbourg and the EU general to confront the extension of 'hate speech' to religious ideologies.

  17. avatar AtheistsRFascsists

    This is a religious fundamentalist website. The only difference being that this website follows the religion of Atheism. If Atheism isn't a religion, why do so many Atheists act like it is one? As a liberal Catholic, I spend most of my time criticizing the corrupt priests and bishops we have. I just wish that Atheists could be as self-critical instead of claiming that all Atheists are perfect and blaming everything on religion (from which they exclude Atheist thought control, of course).

    • Once you follow a religion you measure everybody by the same criteria. Atheism is a voice of reason, a philosophy, the way to view the world, not a religion. So, once I speak my mind I am automatically religious? Give me a break. How am I suppose to defend myself while discussing religious matters with religious fundamentalists? The main condition for a religion is to have a deity, a prophet or a guru. Atheists do not have such. Stalinism was a religion, a cult of a man. Fascism was a cult of a man, an idea. Comparing communists to atheists as you did in one of your earlier posts is wrong for that simple reason.

      • Atheism is not a religion. You can't call someone "religious" for looking at facts and using rational thought, as opposed to, I don't know, believing in an invisible god!!

    • avatar degenerateatheist

      Yeah, religious types love to trot out this tired old talking point about atheism being just another religion. Problem is, as soon as you use it you totally discredit yourself as someone who has anything even remotely informed to add to the debate or discussion. i.e. it makes you look dumb. If you really think atheism is a religion, you don't know what atheism is. Read a book or something. While I don't relish attempting to educate ignorant internet-dwellers, I'll say this. makarcz nailed it in his comment. Stalinism and Fascism are atheistic in the sense that they reject the idea of a supernatural god. But they have more in common with religious cults than atheistic philosophies. They idealize and glorify a single figure or idea above all others, and regard that figure or idea as the ultimate, infallible authority. Blind devotion to that authority is a virtue, and any sort of question or challenge to that authority is severely punished. Like say, with prison time (sound familiar?) And as a bonus point, i'll mention that trying to claim Hitler or the Nazi movement was atheistic makes you look extra special ignorant. You'll have to figure out why on your own, though, assuming you are actually interested in real facts. Good luck.

    • If atheism is a religion, then baldness is a hairstyle.

  18. avatar AtheistsRCool

    @AtheistsRFascsists Do you believe in Zeus? No? Then you are an atheist. Atheism is non-belief. All most atheists are saying is that there is no Zeus, Odin, Thor, Marduk or Yahweh.

  19. avatar Nasikabatrachus

    @AtheistsRFascsists, Someone who thinks atheism is the same as fascism and communism needs to stop talking about the flaws of atheism and read a book. You might consider starting with a dictionary. Ironically AtheistsRFascsists displays sentiments that put him or her far closer to the fascist/communist end of the political spectrum than any atheist I have ever met, excepting christianhunter above. The notion that dissent is treason is intrinsic to most authoritarian regimes. Too bad the Poles have not learned that lesson. One loses hope in humanity, sometimes.

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  21. I live close to the Polish border, but haven't ever gotten around to visit the country. With this incident, and until the law is repealed, I will refrain from entering that country. I know a homosexual Polish Catholic who left the country, partially because of the bigotry. One of the nicest persons I've ever met. Poland believes he deserves to be tortured forever. Stupid people make a stupid country.

    • Given the corrections linked by the friendly commenter above, I must amend my comment thusly: Some citizens of Poland with a big mouth believe he deserves to be tortured forever. These fanatical elements take advantage of laws that were drafted with the known intention to suit specifically their needs. Therefore I will maintain my position not to enter Poland.

  22. Ireland now has a blasphemy law as well.

  23. Atheism is "A-theism". No deities, no gods/goddesses, no religion. Polytheism is "Poly-theism" belief in many deities, gods and goddesses. Monotheism is "Mono-theism" – belief in one god only, as in Christianity, Judaism, etc. Theology – the study of religions.

  24. Atheism was begun in India, as a way of hopefully overcoming and abolishing the horrible caste system there, it was started for the poor. No religions, no caste system. Read about it on Positive Atheism,http://www.positiveatheism.org/ "Since September 1995 – Serving People With No Reason To Believe"

    • I am sorry but athiesm has been around way longer than India and caste systems. People have felt just fine not feeling the need to believe in after life since the beginning of time.

  25. avatar Phillip Helbig

    Just to be clear: equating "Poland" with "Europe" is wrong. There are 42 countries in Europe; a few, like Poland and Ireland, have ridiculous blasphemy laws. There would be hypocrisy if Poland criticised the Islamic reaction to the Mohammed cartoons, but Poland didn't criticise it.

    • Phillip, that’s a fair criticism, and my words were not as well-chosen as I’d have liked. I revised that paragraph to be more equitable and more accurately reflect my intent. Thank you!

  26. Surely the government and religious crowd would have to prove their Gods existed to be offended by these very tame comments. Dinosaurs did exist, FACT, God exists, unknown, FACT !

  27. Pingback: Polish pop star faces 2 years in jail for blasphemy | The Good Atheist

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  30. What a backward country Poland is to jail someone for 2 years for criticising a superstition.

  31. avatar The Son of Man

    I am the Son of Man and all religions which don't respect life over religious dogma are an abomination!http://www.thesonofman.co.uk artist of the revolution.http://www.thesonofman.co.uk send message to marketing@rebelzpromoter.com for free album download details

  32. Honestly, have they learnt nothing from Madonna? These people say things like this deliberately to offend and get attention. People who press for prosecution just play into their hands. The last time Madonna did that 'cruxifiction' thing in her concerts in Italy the vatican put out a very patronising statement which belittled what she was doing and implied that she was not quite right in the head so they were happy to humour her. They just rolled their eyes and let her get on with it. It totally took the wind out of Madonna's sails, because if they didn't react it totally defeated the object of what she was trying to do. Simples.

  33. And here I thought, humanity had come a long way. How is it logical, that we are still conforming to 2000 year old idolatries. What a shame when such a beautiful girl is silenced merely for talking. F**king barbarians.

  34. Censorship is stupid to begin with; in essence, it's saying "I have no worthy arguments against your claim, therefore it must be suppressed lest others recognize how weak my position is."

  35. Even better than the “baldness/hairstyle” quip is this: Atheism is a religion in the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  36. Christians To The Lions!

  37. There are millions of examples of proof dinosaurs around the world and not one god. case closed.

  38. i think she should have a copy of this to read. and it should also be read in court. http://www.caesarsmessiah.com/Films/films.html Christianity was written to be joke. To fool the then Militaristic Jews to worship Caesar. It is time to learn why and how this joke got started and put an end to it.

  39. If gods get offended, then why don't they make an issue of it. I have yet seen a god make a case for him or her being offended. We are told the get offended, but gods are silent. The invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike. Wonder if she caused any earth quakes in Poland? Don't see any Clerics, priests, preachers, pope who can claim to be a member of MENSA. intelligence and belief in the supernatural just can't fit in the same brain. I'll take intelligence over myth all the time. To say there are gods is blaspheme to atheists. So whats the jail time for that. My atheist non belief in the supernatural is just as important as god belief. How can you not offend me and accuse me of offending you by not believing in your myth? non belief is just as much as a human right as myth belief. Show me your god…

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  42. avatar Warsztat samochodowy

    I seriously enjoy this write-up. I have been looking everywhere just for this! Thank goodness I uncovered it on Msn. You have made my day! Thanks a lot once again.

  43. avatar The Voice of POLAND

    Poland loves DODA <3 Do not think that all of us are psycho-Christians, more and more people in Poland do not go to church and are against it. Of course, the older generation freaks out when they hear Doda's comment on the Bible, but the younger one is more modern, more broad-minded and want to live a happy life, without crazy priest and 'blasphemy charges' which are simply INSANE. Who cares? Btw, the self- established Queen of Polish Pop Music, Doda, is going to conquer European stages so keep waiting. You can watch her XXX or Bad Girls videos on youtube (she released many number one hits and CDs but only a few songs have the English version as well). Love form Poland :)

  44. It is all about too much power in some hands and freedom of speech. As much as there are many out there that should keep their mouth shut, I for one will vote against silencing them. There is no freedom without freedom of speech.

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