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Christians in Netherlands face possible prosecution for opposing homosexual acts

Okay, so which part of this is "no big deal"? (Answer: No part of it.) Read on.

Background: The Nashville statement on biblical sexuality was written in the summer of 2017 and is promoted by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The text can be found here. I had not read it until today, and I'm such a cynic that I was afraid it would be wimpy, even though written by the CBMW. But as far as I can see on a quick read, it's good, without even the all-too-common breast-beating about how badly (how?) Christians have treated "LGBTQ persons," or that sort of nonsense. I may have just missed something, but on a first read through the statement looks like a simple, non-insulting, but firm statement of basic Christian sexual morality.

Someone translated the Nashville statement into Dutch.

Some Dutch Christians, despite the extreme leftism even of most "Christians" in their country, bravely signed it.

Now the Dutch public prosecutor is considering whether or not to bring charges against them for signing it.

Yep, you read that right. See stories here and here.

I had to smile wryly at the confident statement in the article in Christianity Today that it is unlikely that anyone will actually be prosecuted. CT is moving increasingly to the left, and it probably galled the editors to have to run the story at all, but since it is a pretty big story, they didn't feel they could just ignore it. And it isn't "fake news" created by the right-wing scare-mongers, and it originally appeared in a Dutch news source. So, they had to tell about it. But they assure us that in the end they're sure nothing will come of it. Move along, folks.

I also note the shouting irony that (per this story) the article of the Dutch Constitution under which the prosecutor is considering bringing charges says, “Discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race or sex or on any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted.”

So the Dutch prosecutor is considering prosecuting Christians for signing a statement of their Christian beliefs, under the aegis of an article in the Dutch Constitution that prohibits, inter alia, discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.

Makes sense to me!

What I haven't been able to find out yet is what the penalties could be if the signers were prosecuted. If someone knows, post it in the comments with a link. Some news stories say that fellow "Christians" have criticized them and called the Nashville Statement "unhelpful." Nothing brings out the true colors of lukewarm Christians quite like seeing other Christians act with more courage. "I'm not with him! Don't prosecute me!" The Babylon Bee (a satire site) is often prescient, but I have to admit that it was a bit of a jolt that this Bee article came up in my newsfeed on Facebook around the same time as the news from the Netherlands.

In case you're wondering, no this doesn't mean that I've given up what would be called my own "political purism." It just means that the Bee headline is almost too true for satire.

Let's face it, folks: There are plenty of lefties who will be entirely pleased if these Dutch Christians are indeed prosecuted and who would love to bring such prosecutions to the U.S.

I doubt they will be able to bring direct prosecution, a la the Netherlands, to the U.S. yet awhile. But I won't be surprised if someone in Canada tries it. After all, Canada does have direct "anti-hate speech" laws, and why not try saying that signing the Nashville statement counts as hate speech? Meanwhile it is not merely a prediction but a reality in the U.S. that your livelihood can be destroyed if you don't toe the leftist line on matters of sexual morality.

Y'know, come to think of it, maybe I should mosey over to CBMW and sign the Nashville Statement...

Maybe you should, too.

Comments (11)

I found nothing insulting about the Nashville Statement, and was pleased that it didn't needlessly cloud the issue with, as you say, "breast-beating about how badly (how?) Christians have treated "LGBTQ persons," or that sort of nonsense". I only wish that they had included more on why what Scripture says is true. However, what it says seems pretty sound, so I signed it.

In line with what you were commenting about, have you seen this: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-john-finnis-line-in-the-sand/ ?

If you happen to have some time, I've been working on an essay for university (not for a class, but to address the muddle-headedness of many fellow students and professors) on homosexuality, and would be interested in feedback from someone as intelligent and sound in doctrine as you, Lydia. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ANde9WptbmY1v1Zp0A2CqQNuuFifxcAQ/view?usp=sharing

I live in the Netherlands, and I have followed this issue the past few days.
Currently, the Public Prosecution Service is investigating whether the signing of the Nashville Statement is punishable or not. I can't find out what penalty can be given. In the past, individuals were sentenced to serve a few months in jail. However, I don't think that will be the case for the three hundred people who signed the Nashville Statement. A few years ago, a Dutch politician was convicted of discrimination, but he didn't get any punishment - it was just a symbolic statement by the court. I think that is likely the scenario if the signers are convicted at all, which I think is unlikely.

Thanks for the info, Willem. That's a very disturbing symbol, particularly if jail time is a possibility. A shot across the bow, as we say in English.

"Discrimination... on any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted.”

I'm speechless. How does one explain to people, in the Netherlands or Canada or the US, that this criteria for determining what is and is not unjust discrimination, empties the idea of criteria of meaning? How can you be law-abiding if you don't know what the laws are?

More simply put, justice is the advantage of the stronger, and will not be defined or expressed in advance of the strong judge's decision?

Yeah, it's ridiculous. "Err, I discriminated against this guy in hiring for a job as an editor because he was illiterate. Guess I committed a crime."

It's a meaningless law because it is too broad to make any sense. Maybe that's the point. They can fill it with whatever meaning they want, even blatantly hunting down people on the basis of their religious beliefs, which are enumerated in the article.

It's not even 2019 and already a western country is considering prosecuting Christians for simply speaking basic Christian beliefs. Go figure.

What would have to happen for such a thing to happen here in the US? I'm thinking, at least in the near future, it would begin with court packing or some means of by the left to ensure unfavorable court rulings can be safely ignored.

I have mentioned before there is already a case in Canada being pursued by an activist with the intent to set the precedent that saying "transwomen" are men (or not women) is criminal hate speech. Obviously, the Nashville statement would violate that. Don't be surprised if the activist gets his wish.

It is 2019. But just barely, and I take your point.

set the precedent that saying "transwomen" are men

Suppose (taking a hypothetical here) that I am a person who is very sympathetic to the trans movement, and I refer to a "transwoman" and say "he is a man", meaning by that phrase that "here is a person who used to be thought of as a woman, but she "trans-ed" away from that to become a man..." Because there is no ACTUAL LOGIC to the grammar involved, there is no INTRINSIC reason "transwoman" must use the "woman" element to refer to the terminus ad quem rather than the terminus a quo. So maybe I am just confused about the usage, or maybe I have heard so many different uses that nobody can figure out whether one is "standard" or not (in which case both "transwoman" and "transman" would simply refer to "a person who transitions" without specificity). Given how fast this movement has shifted, it is hardly realistic to suggest that everyone ought to have the lingo down pat.

I am a little puzzled about how signing a statement is a public act that falls under the penalty of a law to begin with. Surely not even the Netherlands is trying to criminalize saying "I don't believe in KGB-NKVD-QTXYZ" under your breath, in a locked room in your basement, with nobody present, as punishable by law.

More simply put, justice is the advantage of the stronger, and will not be defined or expressed in advance of the strong judge's decision?

Or, pig are more equal than others.

I don't know what the precise connection is, but my understanding is that some Euro countries have laws against (in essence) saying things that hurt people's feelings, according to specially protected class status. Hate speech, etc. Presumably signing a public statement could hurt someone's feelings in a way that saying it under your breath in the basement wouldn't. So they may call that "discrimination" under the Dutch Constitution.

The Netherlands has several Christian Political Parties, and they are not speaking with one voice on this issue.

1. The Christian Democrat Appeal is a successor to Abraham Kuyper's Anti Revolutionary Party, the Catholic Peoples Party, and the Christian Historical Union. The CDA vaguely gives lip service to Christian Values, and sphere sovereignty, but they are really just a center-right party. Their members of parliament in general are not willing to stand in solidarity with Christians who are persecuted for taking a stand against immorality.

2. The Christen Unie [Christian Union] was founded by men who had broken with the Anti Revolutionary Party, over its departure from the ideology and values that Abraham Kuyper had originally articulated. They are a center-right Euro-skeptic party that is center-left on ecology and economic issues. Belief in the application of sphere sovereignty to the sphere of the civil state is a core value for the CU. The CU is pro-life and opposes same sex marriage. The CU is vocal in its defense of freedom of conscious.

3. The Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij [Reformed Political Party] is a conservative political party that is confessionally Calvinist/Reformed. They are supported by pietist and fundamentalist Reformed Christians in the Netherlands and usually receive 2-3% of the vote. They believe the Bible in general and particularly the ten commandments should form the basis of the Christians thought on the structure of the civil state. Thus they are anti-feminist, pro-life, and pro-death sentence. The SGP oppose same sex marriage. The SGP opposes freedom of religion, but favor freedom of conscience. It is unlikely that any of their members would have signed the Nashville Statement since that would entail making common cause with heretics. The have condemned prosecution of those who speak out against sodomites.

Thanks for the info., Thom. It will be interesting to see what happens.

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