In 2010, Polish singer Doda was charged with “offending religious feelings” after she said she believed more in dinosaurs than the creation story in the Bible. Annabelle Chapman considers the case.
In 2009, Dorota Rabczewska, a Polish pop singer popularly known as “Doda”, gave an interview to an online newspaper. In the interview, she stated that she believed more in dinosaurs than in the creation as presented in the Bible. She explained, “It is hard to believe in something written by people who drank too much wine and smoked herbal cigarettes.” Doda’s comments caused an outcry among Poland’s predominantly Catholic population, but the judicial authorities did not think they warranted legal action.
However, following pressure from conservative groups, an investigation was launched in April 2010. Doda was charged with, “Offending religious feelings through public calumny of an object or place of worship” (in this case, the Bible), under Article 196 of Poland’s penal code. Two Bible scholars and a linguistic expert were consulted during the trial to ascertain whether Doda really had offended religious sentiment. Doda could have faced a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment but was instead fined 5,000 zlotys (£970).