TAG | “offended”
BRUSSELS – The European Commission has said that Poland’s prosecution of a rock group for “blasphemy” is against European values.
It said on Wednesday (31 October) in a written statement for EUobserver that “national blasphemy laws are a matter for the domestic legal order of the member states.
But it added that EU countries must respect international pacts.
It cited the European Convention of Human Rights, a Poland-signatory treaty attached to the Strasbourg-based rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, on freedom of expression.
“This right protects not only information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also those that offend, shock or disturb,” the commission said.
The statement comes amid a row in Poland over a heavy metal band called Behemoth.
Its lead singer, Adam Darski, while on stage in 2007, ripped up a Bible and called the Roman Catholic church a “murderous cult.”
In a case with echoes of Pussy Riot in Russia or Mohammed cartoons in Denmark, the Polish supreme court on Monday said prosecutors can go after Darski on the basis of article 196 of Poland’s penal code on “the crime of offending religious sensibilities.”
In theory, he faces two years in prison. But nobody expects a jail sentence if he loses.
A few points:
1. The EU Commission is, as usual, being disingenuous. All EU countries are required to subscribe to the (non-EU) European Convention of Human Rights.
2. No self-respecting country should pay much attention to what the supranationalist “jurists” of the European Court of Human Rights has to say about its internal affairs.
3. No decent country should have blasphemy laws, particularly blasphemy laws so intrusive that singer cannot rip up his own copy of a book and say a few (admittedly) harsh words about a religious faith.
Poland should scrap this shameful law.
The Guardian has more here:
“We’d been doing that for two years on tour before it happened in Poland,” Behemoth bassist Tomasz Wróblewski told Decibel magazine (via Blabbermouth). “We [were] not offending any particular person. We [were] just offending the religion that we’ve been raised in.”
Despite this intention, Darski was pursued by Polish courts for having offended Catholic fans. After being cleared by judges in 2010 and 2011, the singer/guitarist is again on trial. Officials in Gdansk asked the supreme court how Darski could be “offending religious feelings” if most of Behemoth’s fans expected theatrical sacrilege?
“The crime of offending religious sensibilities is committed not only by he who intends to carry it out, but also by he who is aware that his actions may lead to offence being taken,” the court said.
Ah yes, “offense”. That again.
Lansing – House Republicans prohibited state Rep. Lisa Brown from speaking on the floor Thursday after she ended a speech Wednesday against a bill restricting abortions by referencing her female anatomy.
Brown, a West Bloomfield Democrat and mother of three, said a package of abortion regulation bills would violate her Jewish religious beliefs and that abortions be allowed in cases where it is required to save the life of the mother.
“Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no,’” Brown said Wednesday.
Brown’s comment prompted a rebuke Thursday by House Republicans, who wouldn’t allow her to voice her opinion on a school employee retirement bill.
“What she said was offensive,” said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”
It rarely fails does it? The moment that some public figure starts jabbering on about something that he or she finds “offensive”, an attack on free speech is never far behind.
Paris police have arrested around 20 Christian fundamentalists who burst into a theatre and threw stink bombs to protest against a play featuring the face of Christ drizzled with fake excrement. Police made the arrests at the Theatre de la Ville, on the banks of the Seine near Notre Dame cathedral, during a performance of “On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God”, directed by Italian Romeo Castellucci. The play, which runs until October 30, is the story of an incontinent man being looked after by his son.A copy of a huge portrait of Christ by Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina hangs at the back of the stage and appears to be covered in excrement towards the end of the performance.
After days of trying to get in, the protesters on Wednesday “entered the theatre and threw stink bombs into the auditorium, shouting: ‘Enough Christianophobia!’” a police source told AFP.
France’s ministry of culture blamed the demonstration on members of the Institut Civitas, which in April protested US artist Andres Serrano’s renowned “Immersion Piss Christ” photograph in the southern papal city of Avignon. Civitas head Alain Escada said: “Our mission is to spread the word about this performance and to organise a response.”
A spectator described the protesters as “very young people who are very angry but very well dressed.” Faced with a police cordon, they throw eggs and oil at the theatre and those going in, chanting in Latin or praying on their knees.
The association of French Roman Catholic bishops on Tuesday condemned “the violence perpetrated during recent performances… France’s Roman Catholic Church is neither fundamentalist nor obscurantist (opposed to enlightenment).”
I noted before that the Civitas crowd appeared to have taken a lesson or two from the more extreme followers of another religion I could mention, and so they have in quite a few respects. The use of the ridiculous term “Christianophobia” only underlines that point.
The play itself sounds like a nightmare, but there is no, repeat, no right not to be offended.
Via the Daily Telegraph:
South Africa’s advertising watchdog has banned a television commercial depicting angels falling from heaven because they are attracted to a man’s deodorant after a complaint from a Christian.The advertisement for Axe deodorant (known as Lynx in Britain) features winged, attractive women crashing to earth in an Italian town.
The scantily-clad women are then drawn towards a seemingly unremarkable man preparing to get on a moped. They regard their quarry lasciviously while sniffing the air before one by one smashing their halos and advancing towards him.
A voice-over says: “Excite, the new fragrance from Axe. Even angels will fall”.
A viewer who complained to South Africa’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the suggestion that God’s messengers would literally fall for a mortal being because of a deodorant was incompatible with his belief as a Christian.
ASA agreed, and ordered Unilver SA, which sells Axe deodorants, to withdraw the advertisement.
“As such, the problem is not so much that angels are used in the commercial, but rather that the angels are seen to forfeit, or perhaps forego their heavenly status for mortal desires,” it said in a statement. “This is something that would likely offend Christians in the same manner as it offended the complainant.”
Ah yes, the “right” not to be offended.