According to Interia.pl and GazetaPrawna.pl, vocalist/guitarist Adam “Nergal Darski of Polish extreme metallers BEHEMOTH was formally charged on Monday ( March 8 ) for insulting Roman Catholics.
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 here).
After the incident, Ryszard Nowak, head of the All-Polish Committee for Defense Against Sects sued BEHEMOTH for promoting Satanism. Although a court expert witness on religious matters said that the act of destroying the Holy Bible could offend somebody’s religious feelings (a criminal offense under Polish law), the case was discontinued because no one except Nowak accused BEHEMOTH of insulting their religious beliefs. (Under Polish law, there must be at least two formal complaints before a charge is laid. The previous complaint was made in 2008, and recently an unspecified number of other complaints had been filed.)
Nergal is pleading not guilty to the charge.
According to Metal As Fuck, in the first hearing, under cross examination, Darski stated what he does on stage is part of artistic license and it wasn’t supposed to offend religious feelings. However, an expert on religious history and studies from Jagellonian University in Krakow stated that every copy of a bible could be considered a religious icon.
There was no judgment ruled against Darski in the first hearing, but now that a second complaint has been filed, the matter will be heard by the courts.
If found guilty, Darski faces up to 2 years in prison.
In a 2009 interview with Decibel magazine, BEHEMOTH bassist Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski explained that the Bible-tearing incident was by no means a spontaneous outburst. “We’d been doing that for two years on tour before it happened in Poland,” he said. “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.”