Polish court rules against rocker who tore up Bible on stage

By Reuters Staff
October 30, 2012

(Biblia Gda?ska — the Bible in the Polish translation of 1632, picture taken 20 June 2007/Robert Drózd)

Poland’s Supreme Court has opened the way for a blasphemy verdict against a rock musician who tore up a Bible on stage, a case that has pitted deep Catholic traditions against a new desire for free expression.

Adam Darski, front man with a heavy metal group named Behemoth, ripped up a copy of the Christian holy book during a concert in 2007, called it deceitful and described the Roman Catholic church as “a criminal sect”.

His supporters say it was an act of artistic expression, but conservatives say he offended the sensibilities of Catholics in Poland, the homeland of the late Pope John Paul II and one of the religion’s most devout heartlands in Europe.

The Supreme Court was asked to rule on legal arguments thrown up by the musician’s trial in a lower court on charges of offending religious feelings.

It said on Monday  a crime was committed even if the accused, who uses the stage name Nergal, did not act with the “direct intention” of offending those feelings, a court spokeswoman said.

That interpretation closed off an argument used by lawyers for Darski, who said he had not committed a crime because he did not intend to offend anyone.

The lower court will now decide if he is guilty. The maximum sentence is two years in jail, under Poland’s criminal code. However, it is extremely rare for anyone convicted of this kind of crime in Poland to serve prison time.

Read the full story by Grzegorz Szymanowski and Christian Lowe here.
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One comment

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An act difficult to endorse, though our own continued silent disregard for the book’s contents will in the end doubtless leave each of us with a heavenly verdict against each who did not put his or her trust in the atoning blood of the One – the Lamb – who provides the primary subject matter of the book from page 1 to the end.

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