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outraged that the hundreds of thousands of euros of public money given to them to run a broadcasting station would be withdrawn, possibly resulting in the closure of its services.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