July 12, 2015

Anti-gay loophole closed in Dutch anti-discrimination law

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 7:10 pm

A bizarre loophole that allowed religious schools to ban gay teachers was closed in the Netherlands on 1 July.

The law on equal treatment already forbade firing or refusing to hire teachers strictly because they are gay. An exception however existed for added circumstances, leading to the strange situation that a teacher could not be fired just for being gay, but could be fired for being gay and kissing somebody of their own gender.

In Dutch this exception was called the ‘enkelefeitconstructie’ (the ‘single fact construct’). The strange exception had remained in the 1994 law in order to keep Christian party CDA happy, but in 2014 almost all CDA MPs voted to remove it. According to the government, the exception has always been a dead letter, as no judge has ever allowed it to stand in a court of law.

Churches’ freedom to found religious, state-funded schools is considered part of the freedom of religion in the Netherlands and is enshrined in Article 23 of the constitution. Teachers can still be fired from religious schools for belonging to the wrong church, as three teachers from the Reformed Wartburg College found out last June after they were rebaptised by a different Protestant sect, AD writes.

See also: Church unlawfully fires woman for being transgender

Tags: , , , , , ,

July 5, 2013

Measles epidemic in Dutch Bible Belt

Filed under: Health by Branko Collin @ 6:33 pm

In the past weeks 230 people in the Netherlands have been infected with measles, Telegraaf reports.

The epidemic is concentrated in the Bible Belt where many Orthodox Protestants live who often refuse to get vaccinated. The RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) expects the actual number of cases to be higher because not every sufferer goes and sees a doctor. So far seven people have been admitted to hospital, six of which were children. The RIVM expects the worst is yet to come. A recent measles epidemic in the UK lasted eight months and resulted in 1,219 reported cases and one death.

Municipal health services have started inoculating children ‘on the sly’, NRC reports. The health services have sent letters to Orthodox Protestant parents offering to inoculate their children at home, after school hours. So far a few dozen children have been inoculated this way, only a small percentage of the children of the community.

The Dutch Bible Belt runs from Zeeland in the South West all the way to the topmost tip of Overijssel in the North East, a bit like a spear stuck into the side of country. The Reformed Congregations are the biggest Orthodox Protestant church of the country with 106,002 members. It is the only major church in the Netherlands that is growing, presumably because of a large procreation rate. The largest religion in the Netherlands is ietsism, which accounted for 36% of the population in 2006.

(Public domain illustration via Wikimedia Commons)

Tags: , ,

October 24, 2010

Christians harass Muslim asylum seekers

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 3:36 pm

The Stichting Gave (Gift Foundation) has been trying to win souls for their Christian faith at Dutch refugee camps, and they do not even realise what they are doing wrong. A volunteer told Nederlands Dagblad:

We are being accused of preying on the uncertainty that asylum seekers experience. I can partly understand the accusation, but it’s wrong. We want to show asylum seekers […] that there is a God who transcends the position they are in.

After reports came in that some of the foundation’s volunteers had been pressuring Muslim refugees into converting to Christianity by claiming that their asylum requests would be denied if they did not convert, the foundation had its access to the refugee camps restricted by COA, the organization that runs the camps.

When did this happen? Half a year ago, and the news was mostly reported on in the religious press. I would have certainly missed it if Stichting Gave hadn’t come out with a ‘study’ last week that claims that Muslim asylum seekers are physically attacking Christian asylum seekers. That last story got a lot of attention in the press, in the parliament and elsewhere, perhaps because it much better fits the tired narrative we’re used to.

According to Geen Commentaar, the Stichting Gave study consists entirely of an inventory of rumours. A good starting point for more research perhaps, but certainly not the collection of facts that the press suggest it is.

See also: Convert to Christianity and get citizenship for free.

(Photo: COA)

Tags: , , , ,