The Question of Religious Feelings in the Context of Article 196 of the Polish Criminal Code Cover Image

Zagadnienie uczuć religijnych w kontekście art. 196 Kodeksu karnego
The Question of Religious Feelings in the Context of Article 196 of the Polish Criminal Code

Author(s): Barbara Tryka
Subject(s): Philosophy, Criminal Law, Philosophy of Law, Sociology of Law
Published by: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Szczecińskiego
Keywords: religious feelings; religious beliefs; insult; blasphemy against God; freedom of religion

Summary/Abstract: The article analyzes religious feelings in the context of criminal offence againstreligious feelings in the face of philosophical, psychological and juridical interpretations.According to Article 196 of the Polish Criminal Code from 1997 religiousfeelings are regarded as protected goods. However, the mentioned term has not beenclearly defined, which provokes controversies in legal circles. The paper indicatesthe exact nature of religious feelings and their relation to religious beliefs. The authorargues that Article 196 unnecessarily focuses on the offence of feelings ratherthan the defence of religion in the public sphere. The application of the expressionreligious feelings to the Criminal Code grants vast possibilities of its understandingand causes numerous over interpretations of Article 196. To avoid that confusion thelaw ought to circumscribe the extent to which religion can be protected. The inquiryinto specific cases of offence against religious feelings must not be based on thesubjective experience of the offended victim because one will never find the ultimatecriterion to assess whether someone has actually been hurt. After the prohibitedactivities/possible offences against religion are defined, the behavior of the offendershould be the main point of reference. A propounded amendment might generateother problems such as, for example, the transgression/violation of the neutrality ofthe state; therefore, Article 196 in its current meaning is unacceptable. Consequently,the religious feelings term should be clarified or removed.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 40
  • Page Range: 67-93
  • Page Count: 27
  • Language: Polish