THE Netherlands is one of the most progressive and gay-friendly countries in the world, a fact that upsets Christian fundaloons, who aim to change all that.
How? By getting like-minded bigots to sign up to a viciously homophobic manifesto called the Nashville Statement.
The Nashville Statement is not new; it crawled out of an evangelical slimepit in the US in 2017, courtesy of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
In a nutshell – “nut” being the operative word – it wants homosexuality to go away in Jesus’s name. It’s been signed by around 22,000 Christian leaders in the US.
However, it is new to Holland. The Statement was only recently translated into Dutch, and began circulating last week, sparking fury among LGBT organisations as well concern by the Public Prosecution Service, which is reportedly examining it to see whether it’s in breach of equality laws.
One of the first of some 250 people to sign the document, which says it is “sinful to approve of homosexual impurity or transgenderism”, was Kees van der Staaij, above, leader of the fundamentalist Christian party SGP
The Dutch signatories are all men and come from either the Restored Reformed Church, the Reformed Congregations or the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.
Among those who believe this hateful Christian crap has no place in Holland is pro-LGBT opera singer Francis van Broekhuizen, who filed a formal police complaint against van der Staaij, claiming that the Nashville Statement is calls for discrimination against gay and transgender people
The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalis same-sex marriage in 2001. But its also has a large community of fundamentalist Christians who oppose same-sex marriage.
The pro-LGBT group COC Netherlands called the statement a “damaging document.” The organisation claimed that those who signed the statement engaged in a “merciless and insensitive action” and called on both the SGP and Netherland’s Christian Union party to distance themselves from it.
While the head of the Christian Union has distanced himself from the statement, van der Staaij has reaffirmed his support for it.
The Nashville statement reflects the classic Christian notions on relationships and sexuality on an up-to-date and much-discussed theme. These notions are shared across borders of churches and countries.
The SGP has never made it a secret of the biblical notions about marriage, family and sexuality. In line with this, I have indicated that I can agree with the scope of the Nashville declaration.
Van der Staaij continued by stating that he believes that the afterword found in the Dutch version of the Nashville Statement is:
Particularly valuable. It rightly emphasizes the great responsibility for careful handling with people who have probing questions about their sexual orientation and gender. These notions are an essential addition to the statement for me.
But Gert-Jan Segers, party leader of the Christian Union, explained in a Facebook post why he couldn’t sign the declaration.
I did not sign the Nashville statement because I am afraid that the conversation about faith and homosexuality has not been served with this statement … I also do not see how gays – inside and outside the church — are helped with this statement.
At least one Dutch leader, Rev Wilco Veltkamp, reportedly voiced his regret for signing the statement and had his name withdrawn from the document.
I have taken back the signing and regret that things have been run like this.
The Nashville Statement was conceived by hard-line bigots who feared that US evangelicals were going soft.
Evangelical pastor Denny Burk, above, said:
Long before anyone was debating gay marriage, there was a softening of marriage norms among evangelical Christians. Many evangelical congregations and ministries have acquiesced to divorce culture, pornography use, sexual immorality, and lack of church discipline. Because of this erosion of evangelical integrity on issue of sexual morality, it was past time for evangelicals to get their own house in order.
Evangelicals needed to recover and reassert what Christ’s Church has always believed. And that is why we drafted the Nashville Statement when we did..