Slaying the Prophets

In a strange bit of serendipity, I happened to finally get around to watching Behemoth’s excellent Evangelia Heretika DVD on the same day the New York Times ran a story headlined, “Poland, Bastion of Religion, Sees Rise in Secularism.”

Thus, after being flabbergasted by a tour documentary wherein Catholic politicians collude with the police in an (unsuccessful) attempt to shut down a Behemoth concert in Poland via intimidation, paperwork, and the ever-vague coercive powers of the bureaucratic state—the sight of the unbowed band continuing to mock authorities, celestial and corporeal, is, incidentally, truly inspirational—I was treated to the following delicious slab of karmic comeuppance:

SWIEBODZIN, Poland — A statue of Jesus, one of the tallest in the world, stands on the flat frozen fields of this small western Poland town, its arms outstretched and gaze fixed straight ahead at a community trying to push back a rising tide of secularism.

The stark, white, 108-foot-high figure was erected last month in part to serve as sentry against a force already churning through Poland. “I hope this statue will become a remedy for this secularization,” said the Rev. Sylwester Zawadzki, the priest who inspired the construction of the figure, which rivals the height of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. “I hope it will have a religious mission and not just bring tourists.”

Poland is still an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic nation, still conservative and still religious, especially when compared with its European neighbors. But supporters and critics of the Roman Catholic Church all acknowledge that the society is changing. They agree that church representatives in Poland have lost authority and credibility, and that much of the population is moving toward a more secular view of life, one with a greater separation between church and state, and a rejection of church mandates on individual morality.

A few quick thoughts:

* Is there any way to read this as other than a full page get well card to Nergal?

* Credit where credit is due: Polish Behemoth fans were ahead of the curve on this trend. As one of them tells the camera crew in Evangelia Heretika, “If a musician writes such awesome music as Nergal does he can copulate with a goat for all I care.” And, as everyone knows, if you can fuck a goat, you damn well can symbolically slaughter the lamb of god.

* Seriously? This is religious Poland’s answer to the epic, individualism-exalting anthems of Evangelion and The Apostasy? A real big statue? Guys, listen: The Buddy Christ thing was a joke!

* Is it a coincidence that just in time to celebrate Behemoth’s victory over the angry Sky Poppa the band’s Youth Against Christ shirts back in stock? Yeah, if you’re fucking old (like me) you’ll probably have to go with the Christian to the Lions design, but it’s nice to have options, isn’t it?

* Is King Diamond feeling a nagging sense of inadequacy right now?

* Presuming Negral recovers from his cancer—the prognosis looks good—let's think about what kind of blood/treasure/sacrifice we Americans could offer him in exchange for destroying our various and sundry gods? (To be fair, Evangelia Heretika does contain an awesome scene wherein Negral wades into a crowd of evangelical protstors outside one of their U.S. tour dates and proceeds to politely school them on Nietzschean philosophy.)

* Gods aren’t the only overlords Behemoth slays. Another fan quote from the DVD: “Do you realize that your music helps me in my job? I work in the city council and when I play your songs I instantly have less applicants to worry about.” (Albert, we have to make this dude Reader of the Month...)

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