The Bible Was Written by Drunkards and Junkies

May 5, 2010

Well, maybe — but that’s not the point. Rather, the point is Polish pop star has been charged in her home country for stating just that, under a law that protects the feelings of religious believers in the heavily Roman Catholic country. Dorota Rabczewska, 26, otherwise known as Doda, faces two years in jail or a hefty fine for stating that The Bible is full of "unbelievable tales" that are hard to accept because:

"… it’s hard to believe in something written down by someone drunk on wine and smoking some kind of herbs."

Polish law dictates that such charges are brought only if at least two complaints are filed. Doda’s statements apparently riled the religious sentiments of a sufficient number of Catholics, who successfully pressured the Polish government to press charges against the singer. Said Ryszard Nowak, chairman of the Committee for the Defence Against Sects, an organization dedicated to protecting Christian values:

"It is clear that Doda thinks that the Bible was written by drunkards and junkies. I believe that she committed a crime and offended the religious feelings of both Christians and Jews." 

But it doesn’t matter whether Doda hurt peoples’ feelings by stating The Bible was written by men who drank too much wine and did drugs . Free speech includes the right to offend, for peoples’ subjective feelings form an incoherent and abitrary basis for lawmaking. Governments surely have an interest in punishing certain public speech that might provoke hatred of or violence against people , but they should not protect beliefs and ideas from critique. Blasphemy laws like the one in Poland needlessly restrict liberty, preventing members of society from freely speaking their minds and examining reigning beliefs and values. As CFI President and CEO Ron Lindsay has said:

“Preserving the right to uncensored expression is important not only because it is indispensable for an objective examination of truth claims—it is no accident that dictatorships uniformly suppress speech—but also because it has intrinsic value. Human dignity requires the freedom to express oneself as an individual.”

Oddly enough, Doda is engaged to the lead singer of the Polish death metal band Behemoth, Adam Darski, who is currently on trial for tearing up a Bible onstage at a concert in Poland in Sept. 2007. To be sure, Poland has never imprisoned someone for blasphemy, but those charged have faced lengthy trials, monetary fines, and/or other punishments like travel bans — just for criticizing religious beliefs, ideas, values, and symbols (that’s offensive to me ). Free speech advocates should fully support both Doda and Darski, and hope that ensuing public attention brings about enough of a groundswell to pressure Westernized governments to overturn these archaic speech-limiting laws and show support for free speech in the international arena.