Catholic Church to the Netherlands: it’s your country’s job to spread our religion.

The Netherlands just passed legislation that will stop government funding of televised programs for various religions.

The announcement by Dutch Culture Minister Sander Dekker that the government’s plans to overhaul the way public broadcasting in the Netherlands is funded, includes withdrawing subsidies for religious broadcasting, has infuriated the Catholic Church. At present religious groups are given £13 million a year to produce propaganda programmes, but this will end in 2016.

Of course, the Catholic church was floored at the injustice of being made to pony up some of its own obscene wealth to spread their propaganda.  And they’re not the only ones.

The Catholic bishop of Roermond, Frans Wiertz, was fizzing with fury at the prospect of losing this lucrative perk. “Religion is private – that’s a view we’ve heard more and more in recent years. The current cabinet is now trying to put this view into action.”

He said the broadcasters are “part of a society that in part no longer understands them … this is a pathetic and risky path”.

In an editorial, the Protestant daily Trouw said the decision showed that the free-market VVD party, that is in a coalition with the Social Democrats, wanted to stress “the principle of Church-State separation that has become popular in the VVD, but with more totalitarian than liberal overtones”.

Jewish broadcasters were also outraged that the hundreds of thousands of euros of public money given to them to run a broadcasting station would be withdrawn, possibly resulting in the closure of its services.

In the eyes of the Catholic church, tax dollars should be given to them to, as George W. Bush put it, catapult the propaganda.

Listen guys, if the Netherlands government told you that you couldn’t spread your ideas, that would be persecution and I’d be right at your side in fighting it.  However, when a country says that they’re not going to hand you £13 million every year, that’s not persecution.  The government has been “persecuting” me in that fashion for 31 years and change.  It’s also not risky, especially if that money goes towards things like, I don’t know, feeding the poor or building the country’s infrastructure.

The country doesn’t owe you that money.  If you need it, try asking god.  Or, since god has never handed you a cent even though you’re the agents of his chosen religion, try asking your followers.  They seem more than happy to pursue dividends they have no chance of receiving in this life.  But don’t shriek about injustice because a government is treating you exactly like everybody else.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    If only there was some all powerful sky wizard that could help them……oh, there’s the problem.

  • Baal

    I’m assuming the Netherlands gov doesn’t fund free media outlets for other internal NGOs so this is a lack of a perk – which I’m sure feels awful to the RCC. They could show that they are better people than most (let the light of the holy spirit shine?) by having some perspective and realizing that they were enjoying a perk and not just getting it as a matter of a god given right.

    • Artor

      They could, but who in their right mind would expect the RCC to behave like decent, civilized people? They live in their own medieval theocratic world, and their focus is entirely on power & money, not any measure of human decency.

  • ah58

    Why do they even need to use television? Shouldn’t their god be able to broadcast directly into our brains?
    It sucks that this doesn’t take effect until 2016 though.

  • gratch

    “This is outrageous! How will our leader be able to afford his fabulous dresses and his golden throne if you don’t spread our message? What do you expect us to do, spread the message ourselves?”

    • gratch

      Oh and his giant hat. And bulletproof car. And enormous palace.

  • Enopoletus Harding

    “In the eyes of the Catholic church, tax dollars should be given to them to, as George W. Bush put it, catapult the propaganda.”
    -JT, this is actually an improvement for the RCC. The RCC has held it needs to be subsidized by government since the fifth century. It is only since the twentieth century that it has begun to support religious freedom!