Christian parties feel bullied in Dutch politics

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No image availableNL Times

Christian parties feel bullied in the lower house of Dutch parliament. Both the CDA and ChristenUnie decided they've had enough of the liberal crusade against Christian traditions. This crusade, according to them, is led by the D66.

The Christian parties are annoyed by the D66' recent proposals to take the words "by the Grace of God" out of legal texts, to deny churches access to municipal administration and to get rid of the Sunday law. These proposals were made from the principle of keeping church and state separate. The ChristenUnie also points to other proposals from other parties, such as VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra's plan to change the law so that religious groups are no longer protected from criminal prosecution as well as previous proposals to ban ritual slaughter.

ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers wants to send the D66 and VVD a clear message: If you want to keep our support, keep your hands off of Christian traditions and privileges, he said in an interview with Dutch newspaper Trouw. "Freedom is not in safe hands with the liberals", he said to the newspaper. "It sometimes look like resentment from the D66. Like: we suffered under a Christian majority in the past and now it's our time. As if it's payback time. In addition to it being a barren emotion, it is also a signal to religious minorities. It gives some believers the feeling that they are slowly being pushed towards the edge of society."

"I find it very stupid of the D66. You can relativize away everything we do, but then you have nothing left", CDA leader Sybrand Buma said to Dutch newspaper AD. "You can also scrap the Christian holidays. The sun will simply come up again, but we throw away our identity. That is what's happening here. Many people feel threatened by globalization and the refugee crisis, then you need symbols that bind you together."

The SGP is also irritated by the D66 proposals. "The D66 is strictly dogmatic in their liberal coercion", according to the party. SGP parliamentarian called it "Christian bullying".

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold thinks this fuss is total nonsense, he said to AD. "Calimero-behavior. Contrary to what Christians did in the past - impose on others how to live - we create freedom. You can use it or not. I don't force anyone to watch a bike race on Sunday, just like I hope nobody forces me to go to church."

According to the D66 leader, some laws are outdated and no longer fit with this time. "Why would we put 'by the grace of God' above a new law on, for example, flexible working hours? Deleting that sentence is not symbolic for us, but a principle. A law is for all of us. If I have to keep to It, I want to be addressed without any discrimination of persons."