Tuesday, September 11, 2012

ECPM urges Dutch Christians to vote for freedom of faith and conscience

The ECPM urges Dutch Christian voters to vote tomorrow (12 September) for a Christian party in order to preserve the freedom of faith & conscience in a more and more aggressive-secular environment. Please read the statement here. 
 
Remarkably, the party leader of one of the Christian parties, the ChristianUnion got also support of the British Prime Minister Cameron yesterday. Cameron explained: ,,My Party works hand in hand with the ChristianUnion in the European Parliament to achieve a more efficient, less interfering Europe that is committed to peace, security and trade. Arie Slob has shown a real determination to play a key part in leading the Netherlands through the current crisis. Like him, I want a strong society in which families, associations and faith-based communities can show what people can achieve when they work together to build a better country. He has a great contribution to make." 
 
Tomorrow, 12 September, the elections for the Dutch House of Representatives will take place. For the moment, the two member parties of the ECPM: the ChristianUnion and the Dutch Reformed Party (SGP) occupy 5 and 2 seats in the House of Representatives on a total of 150 seats. We hope and pray that their number of seats will increase. In the period 2007-2010, the ChristianUnion took (together with the Dutch Labor Party and the Christian Democratic Appeal) part in the Governmental Coalition. Recent polls show that it's a neck-on-neck race between the Liberal Party (VVD) and the Social-Democratic Labor Party (PvdA) as to who will become the largest party in the Netherlands.

Statement of the ECPM:
Recent news coverage of the court cases of four British Christians before the European Court of Human Rights are examples of a worrying European trend. These British Christians made this step since they stood for their conscience or were fired while they expressed their faith in a modest way on the work floor by wearing a cross-necklace. Unfortunately these cases are not unique in Europe. In a growing number of countries we see a antireligious trend fed by an aggressive form of secularism.

The ECPM stands for the separation of church and state and advocates an open and democratic public space in which all views can be expressed in public individually and collectively in a peaceful way. Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights expresses and anchors this freedom in the public sphere.
 
The classic interpretation of human rights pursues freedom in line with the ‘four freedoms’ as defined by president Roosevelt. Freedom of speech and expression and freedom of faith are prior foundations of all other freedoms. Together with many experts the ECPM concludes that this pursuit of freedom is undermined by a new interpretation of human rights. In name of promoting equality and fighting discrimination a new secular ideology is imposed leaving no space for the public expression of fundamental differences and visions. In Europe we see that the space for Christian reasoning and motivation is clearly under pressure.
 
The ECPM emphasizes that in many countries this pressure is coming with the support of policies and legislation. Room in the public space for religious motivation is therefore also dependent of political decisions. Political visibility of Christians is therefore of great importance to maintain real freedom and diversity.

In this light the ECPM calls all Dutch Christian voters to counter marginalization of the Christian Voice in politics and to vote at one of the Christian parties. Each of these parties contribute in a major degree to the political visibility of Christians. Without Christian support this voice will disappear from your political landscape as a recognizable and visible voice.
 
We understand that Christians differ in their social-economical ideas but we emphasize that freedom is of fundamental importance for all. We hope that all Christians in The Netherlands will make a choice against public and political marginalization of their convictions and make a positive choice for a recognizable contribution to society.

Peeter Vosu, President of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM)

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