Hundreds of Dutch Protestant pastors sign anti-LGBTQ manifesto

Hundreds of Dutch Protestant pastors, prominent people in the church, as well as the party leader and a senator of Christian party SGP, signed a manifesto against LGBTQ people. The manifesto argues that marriage is meant to only be a covenant between one man and one woman, and that good Christians should always reject homosexuality. It also suggests that your sexual identity is something you can be healed of.

The manifesto is a Dutch translation of the so-called Nashville declaration, which was drawn up in the United States in 2017. The first paragraph, according to RTL Nieuws, reads: "WE CONFIRM that God intended marriage as a lifelong covenant relationship between one man ad one woman, within which sexuality has a place and from which children are brought. The purpose of marriage is to make the covenant love between Christ and His bride, the Church, visible. WE DENY that God meant marriage as a homosexual, polygamous or ployamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract instead of a covenant made for God."

About "transgenderism" the declaration says: "WE CONFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual uncleanness or transgederism. Whoever approves of it deviates fundamentally from the steadfastness that can be expected of Christians and from the testimony to which they are called. WE DENY that the acceptance of homosexual uncleanness or transgenderism is a morally neutral matter about which faithful Christians may disagree among themselves."

Incidentally, the 14 paragraph-long statement is only signed by men, NU.nl reports.

One of the signatories is SGP leader in the lower house of Dutch parliament Kees van der Staaij. As is Senator Diederik van Dijk of the same Christian party. Their signatures, and the declaration in general, led to a storm of criticism from other politicians on social media.

"The Dutch version of the Nashville Declaration unfortunately makes one thing very clear. These are steps back in time", Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven of Education tweeted. "We still have a long way to go. Emancipation is far from done."

"I know you as a capable colleague", D66 parliamentarian Rutger Schonis wrote to Van der Staaij on Twitter. "That is why I find your support for the Nashville declaration so disgusting. With this you deny the existence of a basic fundamental right for may thousands of Dutch people."

"Where there is love and care for each other, there is God", CDA party chairman and former pastor Ruth Peetoom said on Twitter. "The Nashville declaration is at odds with that. For me and many others."

"How can you believe that God excludes people because of their love (love!) for another", Femke Merel, parliamentarian for animal party PvdD, tweeted. "How disgusting and intensely sad."

Dilan Yeşilgöz of the VVD criticized the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, where several lecturers signed the declaration, according to RTL. "I would like to be proud of my university. But with lecturers who signed this ridiculous statement, that becomes particularly difficult."

50Plus leader Henk Krol hopes that, if God exists, "he is not happy with this kind of followers", he said on Twitter. 

LGBTQ interest organization COC Nederland called the statement harmful and merciless, NOS reports. "With this declaration, LGBT people are sent back into the closet", the organization said. "The statement gives the impression that homosexual feelings can be changed. Numerous studies have shown that homosexuality can not be changed with therapies or treatments and that such treatments are extremely harmful."

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