In Part 1 and Part 2 of this post, we focused on the recent exploits of ex-Gorgoroth vocalist Gaahl. Gaahl has publicly supported the burning of churches in his native Norway. Norwegian churches don’t much care for Gaahl’s rhetoric (shocking, isn’t it?). They are now pressuring Norway’s National Stage to drop Gaahl from the cast of a black metal musical scheduled to be performed there in May. They might succeed.
You may remember that this isn’t the first time or the first place where Gaahl has run into trouble for being offensive to institutional religion. In 2005, he and Gorgoroth narrowly escaped criminal prosecution in Poland for staging a concert that featured impaled sheep’s heads, satanic symbols, and a mock crucifixion by naked models doused in blood. Poland has laws that prohibit behavior offensive to people’s religious beliefs.
Gorgoroth are not the only corpse-painted dudes who’ve had run-ins with those Polish laws. Which brings us to Behemoth (more after the jump).
In September 2007, Behemoth played at a show in the Polish city of Gdynia. During that show, vocalist/guitarist Adam “Nergal” Darski (pictured at the top of this post) apparently called the Catholic Church “the most murderous cult on the planet” before tearing up the Bible, stating, “they call it the Holy Book, I call this the book of lies. Fuck the shit, fuck the hypocrisy.”
In February 2008, an investigation into the matter was launched by the Gdynia Public Prosecutor’s Office, only to be terminated three months later. Now, it’s being reported that Poland’s national conservative political party Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (PiS) (translation: Law and Justice) wants Nergal prosecuted based on the same September 2007 event.
PiS is arguing that Behemoth’s actions amount to nothing less than a “massive attack on Catholics” and wants the prosecutor to investigate whether Nergal committed a crime by destroying the Bible.
I have as much trouble understanding the dipshits who are trying to have Nergal prosecuted as I do Gaahl’s advocacy of church burning, or the people who are trying to get Gaahl dismissed from the cast of that Norwegian black metal musical for advocating church-burning.
Like many black metal true-believers, Gaahl views Christianity (and probably all other religions) as tools of oppression and enemies of self-realization. But buildings aren’t what gives churches power over people, and burning them down won’t convince anyone to make their own decisions instead of letting religious leaders make decisions for them.
By the same token, trying to fine or jail people who speak ill of churches, no matter how “offensively,” or who tear up “holy books,” won’t silence criticism of churches or religion. And if people aren’t secure enough in their own faith to ignore what people like Nergal and Gaahl do in performances for their own fans, enforcing laws against religious offense won’t save them.
As someone once said, “it’s only rock-n-roll.” All this nonsense wouldn’t even be worth writing about — except that it’s an example on a small stage of a pervasive insanity that has played itself out on much bigger stages around the world for centuries — where people react to ideas they detest with violence and destruction of life. When will it ever end?