Religion to lose broadcasting perk in Netherlands


The announcement by Dutch Culture Minister Sander Dekker that the government’s plans to overhaul the way public broadcasting in the Netherlands is funded, includes withdrawing subsidies for religious broadcasting, has infuriated the Catholic Church. At present religious groups are given £13 million a year to produce propaganda programmes, but this will end in 2016.

At present, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and humanists all have airtime on Dutch television, proportionate to their size. The Catholic broadcasting includes Sunday Masses, news features and a popular dating programme, “Farmer Seeks a Wife”. The minister’s letter said “small faith and philosophy broadcasters” would no longer be eligible for subsidies, a decision that would affect the Jewish broadcaster, the Roman-Catholic network and possibly a few others. 

The Catholic bishop of Roermond, Frans Wiertz, was fizzing with fury at the prospect of losing this lucrative perk. “Religion is private – that’s a view we’ve heard more and more in recent years. The current cabinet is now trying to put this view into action.”

Written By: National Secular Society
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  1. I have heard at least one religious broadcaster moaning on the television about how a large group of people is to be disadvantaged by these measures.

    Meanwhile, back in the world of reality, one only needs to take a look at the number of people going to church to see that a very, very small percentage of people (around 1% in the Netherlands) actually worships (and there are programs on a Sunday broadcasting religious gatherings – the actual number of people who watch them must be minuscule). So the politicians are on safe ground.

    Contrast that percentage with the numbers quoted by the churches themselves – according to the Catholic church here in the Netherlands, about 25% of the population is catholic! Of course, 25% of the population may have been registered shortly after birth as such and the church is desperately holding on to their “membership”, particularly by making it extremely difficult for people to de-baptise themselves and have themselves officially removed from the registers of practising members.

    So the church is in a difficult position. It can’t moan too much about the measures being taken unless they wish to risk some official pointing out that no-one gives a damn about their tin-pot philosophy which might lead, in this current state of economic malaise, to more and more financial pressure.

    On the other hand, there is a broadcasting company, the evangelical broadcasting company (EO – famed for having bought the BBC’s The Life of Mammals with David Attenborough, only to censor any mention of evolution) which has many subscribed members so there surely is a medium for the religious to use.

  2. If only I could find a British politician with the balls to follow suit … {sigh}

  3. “..may be able register with the government as corporations, which would allow them to charge membership fees and apply for separate arts and culture subsidies…”

    This might be a good move, but wouldn’t they then have to pay taxes? I am salivating at the thought…

  4. Well bish, I am fizzing with fury that you ever got public cash in the first place. In austerity Britain we need to do the same. Tax them, tax them, tax them, and cut the BBC religious broadcasting unit right out.

  5. The Bishop:

    The Catholic bishop of Roermond, Frans Wiertz, was fizzing with fury at the prospect of losing this lucrative perk.

    Poor old Bishop ! Doesn’t he realise that it’s all part of God’s mysterious plan ?

  6. In reply to #8 by Net:

    why wait to 2016?

    ??? Contractual agreements? Time to make agreement with others to fill the time slot? This make me wonder about how much money US millionaire ministers are charged for their time slot.

  7. He said the broadcasters are “part of a society that in part no longer understands them … this is a pathetic and risky path”.

    They have their own state sponsored spot on TV. I think it is fair to say that either their message is indecipherable, or has been rejected on it’s merits. (or lack thereof)

    Either way, time to go.

  8. Perhaps a petition needs to be started in Uk to try and stop state sponsorship of religion …it really is an insult to have ones tax money handed over for mumbo jumbo! People who want religion should pay for it themselves.

  9. The RCC can infuriate away until it vapourizes, but it can no longer kill people for disagreeing with it.

    So, ha ha. Ha, ha,ha! The turned around colar gravy train riding days are numbered.

    At least, let everything be done to ensure that they are, with the first order of business being to protect children.

  10. In reply to #3 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

    If only I could find a British politician with the balls to follow suit … {sigh}

    I second that.

    S G

  11. Wonderful news! Oh I’m fizzing with excitement that the RCC and the other abrahamic horsemen are going to lose money. Why can’t it happen now in 2013? Why can’t the useless bastards elected to power in the UK cure their cryptorchidism and do the same?

  12. This is often the way old religions survive in any country, they simply get by on perks and deals and peoples fear of change, well done Netherlands lets see Britain follow suit.

  13. I not sure with the present power base in the UK this will happen anytime soon. You have the Prime minister, the Mayor of London and the new AB of C, all Old Etonians. They are too busy tying each other’s double Windsor’s to allow that to happen.

  14. It’s about time they changed the funding system for public tv. I hate the thought of my taxes going to such a waist of time.
    Religion is a private matter and should be kept as such.

  15. In reply to #1 by Wokkie:

    Yes. A good thing. State television is bad on so many levels and this is one.

    Hold on a sec, this is an example of a public broadcaster doing the right thing.

    Private broadcasters are even more prone to conflicts of interests, it seems to me. At least a public institution is ostensibly designed to do the right thing, and can be modified by public objection. A private institution’s only objective, in most cases, is to make money and to do that in whatever way the leadership see fit, typically by favouring material that is popular over that which is useful. Public consultation is replaced with Public Relations, staff are fired based on the interests of the management and owners, and there is no accountability except to the board and shareholders.

  16. If all of these religious groups want their propaganda to be aired on television so badly, then they should pay for it themselves. The fact that people like bishop Franz Wiertz thinks his church is entitled to this money, tax payers money to be exact really angers me; after all his church has plenty of ill-gotten money to peddle their BS.

  17. Child rapists and those that shield them justice demanding taxpayer subsidy so they can broadcast their lame justifications? That seeming inability to feel shame is totally indicative of the nature of the Catholic Church today.

  18. “…has infuriated the Catholic Church”

    every bit of news that i see that’s a move towards secularism/human rights seems to come with this tag line

    long may it continue

  19. In reply to #21 by SaganTheCat:

    “…has infuriated the Catholic Church”

    every bit of news that i see that’s a move towards secularism/human rights seems to come with this tag line

    long may it continue

    Ah! The fury of the RCC!

    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. And then (hopefully) is heard no more:
    It is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. ( Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, )

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