One of Poland's leading pop stars faces trial for suggesting that the Bible was written by people "who liked herbal cigarettes and were drunks".
• Dorota Rabczewska, aka Doda, could face two years in jail over her 'youthful' remarks Picture: AFP
A Warsaw court has cleared the way for criminal proceedings after it rejected an appeal by Doda against attempts to prosecute her for insulting religious feeling. Famed for her penchant for shedding clothes and colourful language, the singer faces two years in jail, if convicted.
Doda's troubles relates to comments she made during a television interview in 2009 when she said that she had little faith in the Bible because "it is hard to believe in something written by people who liked herbal cigarettes and were drunks".
Asked if she had anybody in mind the 26-year-old singer, whose real name is Dorota Rabczewska, replied "all those who wrote those amazing stories".
Miss Rabczewska has argued that her remarks were "youthful" and off-the-cuff, and that she had never intended to insult religious feelings. She also attempted to argue that she meant medicinal cigarettes.
But the comments riled conservative Catholics in Poland already angered by the singer's willingness to bare all in Playboy, and her raunchy videos. In one, Miss Rabczewska, who once fronted an IrnBru advertising campaign in Poland, empties a bottle of the soft drink over her bikini-clad chest, while in another video she appears naked apart from skimpy underwear.
One of her critics, Stanislaw Kogut, a senator in the Poland's upper house of parliament, called Doda's comments an "insult to Christians and Jews", while Ryszard Nowak, the chairman of the Committee for the Defence Against Sects, an ultra-conservative organisation dedicated to upholding Catholic values, appealed against an initial decision by prosecutors to drop the case. His argument that Doda had broken Polish law protecting religious sensibilities and, therefore, her actions merited official investigation triggered legal proceedings against her.
Reacting to the news that the case against the singer stands, Mr Nowak welcomed the court's decision. "This case has been around for over a year, and Miss Rabczewska has had plenty of time to apologise, but instead she has just mocked us even more," he said.
"She has tried to say that she was talking about non-alcoholic wine and medicinal cigarettes. This is a matter of historical significance because if it had been dropped, it would have shown artists that there are no boundaries."
In the wake of the Bible comments, Mr Nowak also launched a campaign this summer to get towns to cancel Doda concerts arguing "that similar blasphemy may occur". In response Miss Rabczewska called Mr Nowak "embarrassing and intellectually shallow".
But this is not the first time that the singer has found herself in hot water because of her comments.
She was once banned from Polish public television after an ethics committee labelled references she made to certain sex acts while as a jury member on a television show as "vulgar and obscene".
Despite the controversies that have dogged her career, Doda remains one of Poland's most popular music stars. With a string of hits to her name, she has won fans with a brash style that contrasts with often more demur approach of other Polish female singers.