I’m a big fan of freedom of speech – and that includes unpopular speech. I think it’s important for bigots to be given a public forum to amply demonstrate their stupidity and the worst excesses of their viewpoints so that there can be no doubt how dangerous they are. Hatred and intolerance often manages to wear an acceptable face and it’s important for us to be able to decode the unpleasant subtexts and core meanings which extremist groups try to disguise in order to achieve a greater public profile.
Hence the picture of Adam Darski, erstwhile frontman of Polish Black Metal band Behemoth – Nergal to friends and fans. He this week found out that the Polish supreme court had ruled that a 2007 performance where he criticised the Catholic church and tore up a bible constituted a criminal offence and that he could be tried for offending religious sensibilities and the more nebulous offence of blasphemy.
It’s good to know that rational debate is still alive, well and thriving in Poland, eh?
Indeed, it’s almost as if nobody in government in Poland has ever seen old-hat, slightly camp, playing to the converted rock theatrics beforehand – the reaction that many Poles have had to this presumed attack on their religious faith is exactly the kind of response that Nergal would have predicted (and perhaps wanted) – an over-the-top, sub-dark ages, hysterical over-reaction which serves only to make them look like enemies of rationalism and absurdly subject to religious dogma.
If you have religious convictions, that’s fine – my problem with the devout, as stated before in posts on this blog, is when your individual faith begins to cloud your judgement and you try to preach and impose your religion onto those who neither sought out nor will benefit from the pursuit of your personal delusions.
To the Polish supreme court, I would say this – produce your God to explain how Nergal’s actions have offended him/her/it and then you can put somebody in prison for two years? What’s that you say? God hasn’t shown up in person for the court date? How very curious.
First Pussy Riot’s absurd imprisonment in Russia, now this potential debacle – it’s getting dangerous for artists to express any kind of opinion, lest the pious scream and rage until they get their hooks into you, demanding their pound of free-thinking flesh from politicians too cowardly and vote-grabbing to stand up for rationalism and a world free of modern day zealotry.
- “The most murderous cult on the planet” (kadrip.wordpress.com)
- Polish singer faces two years in jail over Bible-tearing stunt (guardian.co.uk)
- EU to Poland: artists should be free to ‘shock’ (euobserver.com)
- European Commission Stands Up For BEHEMOTH Frontman In Poland’s ‘Blasphemy’ Court Ruling (blabbermouth.net)