Friday, August 27, 2010

Free Speech and Religion

A controversial pop music artist is facing trial for heresy and possible prison time for saying that the beliefs of the state religion in that country are not true. Is this Iran or Saudi Arabia? Nope - POLAND. Read all about it here.


  1. As a Catholic living in Poland, a strongly and deeply Catholic country, I applaud the decision to prosecute.

    I don't think the trial is about heresy, which is legal here, of course. It seems to be about insulting people's religion.

    There have been Jews and Muslim Tatars living in Poland for over 600 years. A Catholic who insulted their religion would, I am sure, face prosecution.

  2. Thank you for this blog, and the lead to the Scotsman article. Sadly I am so computer illiterate as to be unable to insert links, but I have just blogged on this at Left-Footer, and thanked you for the lead.

    Please do drop in and comment.

  3. It was only in 2008 when the ancient blasphemy laws were lifted in the UK.

  4. Left-Footer,
    As an American Attorney, I am deeply disturbed anytime anyone is prosecuted for exercising Free Speech.

    I understand that most of the world, and even some in my own country, do not share my opinion that Freedom of Speech and Expression is a fundamental human right whether or not someone is offended.

    I am absolutely 100% opposed to "Hate Speech" legislation.

    I didn't know anything about this "Dodo" chick until I googled her. She appears to be the Polish version of Madonna. (She also appears to look pretty good when wearing less!).

    The best thing to do is just ignore what she says.

    To quote the great Lenin (that's John not V.I.) "Women should be obscene and not heard." Dodo would do well to stick to bad music and naked pictures and shut up about politics and religion.

    However, I would be willing to fight for her right to insult Catholcism, Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, Communism, Nazism, Obamaism, Bushism, Socialism, Nationalism or any other ism.

  5. "It was only in 2008 when the ancient blasphemy laws were lifted in the UK."

    It was in 1776 that the United States of America revolted against the Tyranny of the British Crown and State Church.

    Remember, I am a BAD CATHOLIC. I would not have done well back when the Index of Forbidden Books was still in place.

    I'm afraid that my Protestant Southern Baptist upbringing, which is strongly in favor of Freedom of Conscience, still beats deep in my soul.

    If this means that I am really still Protestant, to quote Martin Luther "Here I stand, I can do no other!"

  6. Bad Catholic

    Freedom of speech is already curtailed in the UK and USA by laws relating to defamation which, admittedly, apply in the UK only to libel or slander of the living.

    A Catholic magazine was fined here in Poland about 2 years ago for describing a woman who had had an abortion as a "murderer". Nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with respect for other people's sensibilities.

    Poland, which about 93% Catholic, is very different from the USA. Every shop, office, school, hospital, etc etc displays a crucifix, schools, even state schools, in every room. Catholicism is everyday and everywhere.

    Poles believe, as I do, that Mary has protected Poland during the Swedish Deluge, at the Battle of Vienna whih saved Europe from Islam, at the Battle of Warsaw (Miracle on the Vistula, 1920), which saved Europe from Soviet domination.

    Catholicism and the Black Madonna sustained Poles during the Partition, when there was no Poland for over 120 years, and gave Solidarity its strength, and its Martyrs.

    Insulting religion here is like insulting someone's mother, but worse.

    For me, charity and the Faith, whatever that Faith may be, trump free speech especially when free speech amounts, not to reasoned argument, but to insulting provocation.

  7. As a Hispanic-American living in the southeastern U.S., I must say that the Bad Catholic has hit the nail on its header top - I think that is what say the Americans.
    My point is that he is always right.

    - José Ramirez (using a friend's computer)

  8. The question is who gets to decide what constitutes "insulting provocation."

    Fortunately, I am writing this comment from the safety of the State of Georgia, U.S.A. am free to say pretty much anything I want to and am protected from the reach of Polish law. If I were writing in Warsaw and someone was offended should I be subject to Criminal Prosecution?

    If the stupid comments by this dumb singer are enough to get her 2 years in prison, what do you get for really blaspheming? Burned at the stake? Boiled in Oil? Stoned?

    Doda, (I think when I called her DODO earlier it was probably more accurate) should flee Poland, come to the good old USA where she can blaspheme as much she wants to, go on tour with Madonna and Brittany Spears, and the only judgment she will have to worry about is the Last Judgment.

    If we sent everybody to jail in this country who engaged in "insulting provocation" rather than "reasoned argument" the first people to be prosecuted would have to be Congress! Insulting provocation is practically a birthright of Americans - especially here in the South.

    My Baptist forebears fled to the New World in order to worship as they pleased and say what they wanted to.

    I don't like what Doda said, but there should not be CRIMINAL PUNISHMENT for doing so. The 93% Catholic Majority should punish Doda by not buying her records or going to her concerts.

    I am sorry my friend, I will never be able to agree with you on this. Come on over to South Georgia, USA and we'll talk about it over a beer.

  9. I think you'd be safe, if you were not obviously trying to offend, or so says a lawyer friend here. I'm no expert, as I'm sure you've guessed.

    I don't think she'll get a prison sentence - I rather hope not, but I hope I've suggested coherent reasons why the religious atmosphere is quite different here, and why I think the prosecution is justified.

    I've been a very happy pseudo-Pole for 5 years - happy as a Muslim in Mecca

    Thanks for the invitation. I've never been to the USA, but must some day, and rant over some good Polish beer. The Georgian accent is very beautiful to my ears.