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Behemoth Bible-Tearing Case: Polish Supreme Court Rules Against Singer

Metal Hammer Magazine

Behemoth frontman Nergal, born Adam Darksi, is facing a maximum sentence of two years in prison for a much-ballyhooed stunt he pulled during a performance in Gdynia, Poland back in September 2007.

The singer tore up a copy of the Bible, referring to the holy text as a “book of lies.” He also dubbed the Catholic Church “the most murderous cult on the planet.” The Polish Supreme Court has now ruled that those actions can constitute a crime, so a lower court must decide if Darski is guilty.

The matter has developed into an issue of freedom of speech, expression and art, and has been dragging on in the courts for quite some time.

“[The decision] is negative and restricts the freedom of speech. The court decided that this is allowed in a democratic system,” Jacek Potulski, a lawyer for Darski, told Reuters. Potulski finished, “We are still arguing that we were dealing with art, which allows more critical and radical statements.”

On the other side of the argument, Ryszard Nowak, chairman of the Nationwide Defence Committee Against Sects, said in a TV interview that there are boundaries, even when it comes to art and expression. He said, “The Supreme Court said clearly that there are limits for artists which cannot be crossed.” Nowak has previously sued Behemoth for promoting Satanism.

In August of 2011, a judge ruled that Darksi’s behavior was a form of expression that fell in line with the band’s style of art, which is nihilistic, Christ-hating, anti-religious black metal. Said judge also felt he should not limit freedom of expression, and that penalizing someone who was criticizing religion via freedom of expression would be enacting limitation. Christians who were in the audience at the time even testified that they were not offended by Darksi’s actions.

So now a lower court will decide how to handle this sticky, slippery slope issue, which won’t go away.

This isn’t Darksi’s only battle. In 2010, he suffered from leukemia, which tabled the band’s tours. He received a bone marrow transplant and is reportedly doing better.

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