Ryszard Nowak and the Committee for the Defence Against Sects

The Telegraph reports on Polish pop singer named Dorota Rabczewska, who has been charged with blasphemy after opining in an interview that

she believed more in dinosaurs than the Bible because “it is hard to believe in something written by people who drank too much wine and smoked herbal cigarettes.”

Rabczewska, known as “Doda Elektroda”, could be jailed for two years:

“It is clear that Doda thinks that the Bible was written by drunkards and junkies,” said Ryszard Nowak, chairman of the Committee for the Defence Against Sects, an organisation dedicated to protecting Christian values. “I believe that she committed a crime and offended the religious feelings of both Christians and Jews.”

The idea that drugs have played a role in the development of western religion has been raised before – most famously by John Allegro – but the speculation not received much scholarly support. According to a quote posted here, Nowak apparently hopes the singer will be made to work in a hospice or as a street-sweeper rather than jailed. Her manager, Maja Sablewska, tried to argue that non-alcoholic wine was meant.

A 2001 article posted online by CESNUR has some background on Nowak and his organisation:

The Committee for the Defence against Sects in Poland is the only entirely non-church related association that works to stop the introduction of sects into Poland. It was established by Ryszard Nowak, a former member of parliament from the political left who was pushed out of political life for creating this organization. This past year, he organized a press release, claiming to have an alarming report on children in ‘sects,’ which proved to be very controversial. It also proved very difficult to get a copy of.

In Polish, the organisation is known as the “Komitet Obrony przed Sektami“; it does not appear to have a website. Nowak – now with the populist Self-Defence Party and a councillor in Jelenia Gora – is known in particular for his opposition to certain forms of music which he considers to be Satanic. He warns the promotion of Satanism goes beyond just “Black Metal” material; in particular, he accuses Jerzy Owsiak, who runs a regular “Woodstock” pop festival event, of being a “thinly disguised” Satanist (Owsiak, in turn, calls Nowak a “complete idiot”). Nowak also claims that there have been at least 400 Satanic concerts in the country since 1986.

In 2007 he produced a report on the subject, which was apparently embraced by government departments. According to an article here,  Joanna D?bek from the Ministry of Justice said that the report would be helpful for amending the penal code to prevent the spread of sects and Satanism. The Ministry of Interior passed the report on the police. However, the report itself remains private, to stop “young people” copying practices described in it.

Nowak is also currently gunning for a performer named Adam Darski, who uses the stage name “Nergal” and whose band is called Behemoth [UPDATE: And who is also Rabczewska’s fiancée]:

The case concerns a concert in September 2007 in the club “The Ear” in Gdynia, during which Darski tore up the Bible and scattered its fragments among the audience. Then the [fragments] were to be burned by fans of the band. The singer of Behemoth also [said] that the Catholic Church is “a criminal sect.””…

The first proceedings in this case were officially initiated in February 2008 based on reports about the Behemoth concert to the media by Ryszard Nowak, President of the National Committee of Defense Against Sects.

…Investigators from Gdynia again took up events at a Behemoth concert in January of this year, after the prosecution filed an application in this case [from] four Pomeranian PiS (Law and Justice Party) representatives.

..In the ongoing case the prosecutor is also investigating another [matter] connected with the Behemoth leader … on the report of Ryszard Nowak, related to a work of Adam Darski’s named “Praise to the killers of St. Adalbert” [in Polish St. Wojciech]. Nowak accuses the musician of “publicly praising the killing of St. Adalbert”…

Adalbert was speared and beheaded by Prussian pagans in 997; Wojciech (or Voytech) had been his birth name, and he took the name “Adalbert” from his teacher; the pagans may have been annoyed by missionaries damaging sacred groves.

Last year, Darski sued Nowak for calling him a “criminal”, and won. Nowak – who had to make a donation to an animal charity as compensation – complained that this was giving a “green light” to Satanists.

(correction: in a fit of confusion I originally wrote “Morton Smith” when I meant “John Allegro”)

3 Responses

  1. I was hoping you’d cover this. I didn’t know about Darski’s victory over Nowak – I thought Novak’s prosecution of Darksi was still going on (I suppose the two things aren’t mutually exclusive).

    Is it worth mentioning that Darski and “Doda” are engaged to be married? Perhaps Novak is trying to get back at Darski by prosecuting his wife-to-be.

  2. Ryszard, I do hope you are not serious persecuting ‘ Doda Elektra ‘ for saying what she thinks.. is Poland that primitive still ?

    Maybe you got the hots for her ?.. Please go see a psychiatrist ..
    Or is this some holocausal guilt trip you’re on ?

    I think whomsoever wrote the bible were touched by the sun..
    after forty years in the desert.. happens you know.. imagine it..

    Doda might have got it wrong, but putting her in gaol for it ?
    Shame on you and your inquisition legal system.. shame on you

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