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Piet De Vries & The Un-Free University

City of Amsterdam flew rainbow flag this week to protest pastors signing Nashville Declaration (from City of Amsterdam Twitter account)

Earlier this week, Wesley J. Smith wrote of the expansion in Europe of animal slaughtering laws that effectively prevent meat from being kosher or halal — this, as an example of religious liberty narrowing in Europe.

Today comes news from a reader in the Netherlands that the Free University (VU) is taking measures against Piet De Vries, a theologian there, for having signed a Dutch version of the Nashville Declaration — as did over 200 Dutch pastors and other Reformed Christians — and compared the silence being forced on believers to Nazi oppression. From a Dutch newspaper account (translated by Google):

De Vries, one of the initiators of the Nashville Declaration, said earlier to the AD that he believes sexuality is “for a man and woman who remain loyal to each other for life”. He stated that this view is under pressure due to “aspects such as cheating, divorces, sex before marriage and homosexual relationships”.

The Nashville Declaration says that marriage is only meant as a covenant between one man and one woman.

De Vries then made the comparison with the situation in the Second World War. “When the Nazi ideology was forced on, the churches were silent, now that gender ideology has begun, churches are silent too often, and we have to make ourselves heard,” De Vries told the newspaper.

These statements prompted the board of the VU to hold a strong talk with De Vries. In addition, the Amsterdam University will take “appropriate measures” against the former preacher of the Restored Reformed Church in Boven-Hardinxveld.

Although according to the VU, De Vries has regretted his comments, according to the VU board it is clear “that a limit has been exceeded”.

In addition, the board of the VU also clarifies the distance from the lecturer’s statements. “At the VU you can be who you are, say what you think and love who you love.” Because there seemed to be some doubt about this, we hoisted the rainbow flag yesterday and today (Monday and Tuesday, ed.) To say : ‘Be welcome at the VU.’ “

You can’t make this up! At the VU, you can say what you think … unless you criticize homosexuality, in which case your job may be on the line. The Netherlands reader who sent me this story says he personally opposes the Nashville Declaration, but strongly believes in freedom of speech, and is therefore worried about this.

Nope, nothing oppressive or totalitarian about that! Where on earth did Piet De Vries get that idea?

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Netherlands. I have, many times. I love that country and its people. But the idea that any LGBT person would feel even slightly unwelcome at a Dutch university is complete nonsense. Holland is extremely liberal on such matters, and long has been. The kind of Dutch students and professors who would need reassurances would be orthodox Christians and others who don’t fly the rainbow flag at every opportunity.

Now the city of Amsterdam is organizing the Mayor of Amsterdam will speak at a public protest against the Christians. And, the Dutch public prosecutor is investigating whether or not the Nashville Declaration constitutes criminal hate speech.

I wonder if The Benedict Option could even be sold in the Netherlands, given that it advocates the orthodox Christian position on sex and sexuality.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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