The Volokh Conspiracy

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Volokh Conspiracy

Religious Leader Demands Suppression of "Blasphemous" Plays

So report Czech media.


From the ?TK (Prague Daily Monitor):

Cardinal Dominik Duka, [head] of the Czech Catholic Church, has filed a lawsuit over the controversial theatre performances of Our Violence and Your Violence, in which Jesus rapes a Muslim woman, and The Curse, staining Pope John Paul II, Lidove noviny (LN) wrote on Thursday…. The Curse starts with a statue of the late Pope of Polish origin John Paul II with an erect penis and at its end, an actress is cutting a cross with a power saw….

In his lawsuit, Duka mentions an attack on inalienability of rights, freedom of religious conviction and the right to dignity and honour [as guaranteed by the Charter of the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms]…. [He is suing in his personal capacity, not on behalf of the Church. -EV] …

Several legal complaints have been filed over the performance of Our Violence and Your Violence, which highlights the relation of the West to the Middle East in a provocative way, on suspicion of the defamation of a nation, race, ethnic or other groups of people, breach of the peace, pornography, slander, threatening the education of children and support for movements suppressing human rights and freedoms.

A May 26 production of Our Violence and Your Violence was also apparently disrupted for about an hour by 30 members of the right-wing Decent People movement, who are said to have "stormed the … theatre," and remained until ejected by the police; a Czech Senator has filed a complaint against the protesters.

Radio Praha in English also has a brief version of the story. As I read it, Cardinal Duka is arguing that the plays violate his legal rights and therefore should be forbidden going forward, or at least should lead to monetary damages both for the past performances and if they continue to be performed; that is why I view this as a demand that the plays be suppressed. Thanks to Prof. Howard Friedman (Religion Clause) for the pointer.