Polish Political Party Goes After BEHEMOTH Frontman Over 2007 Bible-Tearing Incident

January 13, 2010

Gazeta.pl reports that two and a half years after vocalist/guitarist Adam "Nergal" Darski of Polish extreme metallers BEHEMOTH destroyed a Bible during a concert Poland, the national conservative Polish political party Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (PiS) (English translation: Law and Justice) wants the band's frontman to be prosecuted for offending people's religious beliefs — a criminal offense under Polish law.

Darski made headlines in his native country in September 2007 when he reportedly called the Catholic Church "the most murderous cult on the planet" during a BEHEMOTH performance in Gdynia and tore up a copy of the Bible onstage (see video below). According to BEHEMOTH bassist Tomasz "Orion" Wróblewski, the incident was by no means a spontaneous outburst. "We'd been doing that for two years on tour before it happened in Poland," he told Decibel magazine in a 2009 interview. "So, we had discussed it many times before. A BEHEMOTH show is a BEHEMOTH show, and BEHEMOTH fans are coming to a BEHEMOTH show. BEHEMOTH fans know what BEHEMOTH is about, know what the lyrics are about, and know at least a little of the philosophy behind the band. So, it's kind of surprising that there are people coming to the shows and feeling offended with what we do onstage. If such a person comes to a show, he comes with the purpose of being offended, I guess, and it shouldn't be like that. We're not offending any particular person. We're just offending the religion that we've been raised in."

Ryszard Nowak, the head of the All-Polish Committee for Defense Against Sects (which was described by Decibel magazine as "little more than a one-man holy Inquisition in the style of Tipper Gore's famously sanctimonious Parents Music Resource Center of the 1980s") registered an official complaint with the authorities in Poland regarding the concert and a criminal investigation into the matter was launched in February 2008 by the Gdynia Public Prosecutor's Office, only to be terminated three months later.

"He attempted to bring me to court twice, but a council before the court — I'm not sure of the name — [dismissed] the case," Darski told Decibel. "Then the guy kept on calling me a criminal in public, so what I did was I went to the court and told them I felt offended by what he did because I'm not a criminal. I'm actually as far from being a criminal as I can be. I actually consider myself a pretty important part of society. I pay big taxes, and for many people around the world, they know about Poland because of BEHEMOTH." Darski countersued — and won: "I made the guy cover all the costs of the trial; I made him apologize to me in the biggest Polish press, and I made him pay a thousand dollars to a homeless dog shelter."

As of this morning (Wednesday, January 13) the case has been re-opened. Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc is arguing that BEHEMOTH's actions amount to nothing less than a "massive attack on Catholics" and wants the prosecutor to investigate whether Darski committed a crime by destroying the Bible, which professor Krzysztof Kowalik of University of Gdansk calls an object of religious worship that should be treated with respect.

Gazeta.pl was unable to get a comment from Nergal as he was on tour with BEHEMOTH in North America.

BEHEMOTH's Adam "Nergal" Darski tearing up the Bible:

(Thanks: Darius Kolarz)

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