WWW, August 2009 - The salary of a top presenter was kind of high, while he publicly signed a statement wherein he announced how he believed in the theories of Darwin. Another presenter poses in a magazine for homo's and a third one wanted to join the annual "Gay Pride" parade in Amsterdam.
How the Dutch Evangelical Broadcasting Foundation (EO) alienates it's members, while screaming for acceptance by just about everyone else.
In the Netherlands, there is a unique public broadcasting system. Everyone can start their own broadcast foundation, and when there are enough members, you get time and money on the TV and on the radio. And so, there are programs for just about everybody, including the different religious and political groups.
Before the second world war, there were basically two broadcast foundations based on what is generally known as "Christianity": the Protestants had their NCRV and the Catholics would join the KRO.
After the 1960's, many Christians would not feel at home anymore with the NCRV or the KRO. A new foundation was on the way: the Evangelical Broadcast Foundation, or "Evangelische Omroep" (EO) in Dutch.
Until a few years ago, the EO would be the voice of what is generally called "orthodox" Christianity. Not the Orthodox Church necessarily, but let's say, the Christianity of the "Bible Believing Christians". They would become members of the EO and over the decades made it the biggest broadcasting foundation within the Dutch public broadcasting system.
The fact that the EO became the biggest, also meant that they would have to make a lot of compromise. They would no longer be able to focus on why they were founded in the first place. Instead, they would simply take their place in the church-and-state system of which the broadcasting system is only a part.
In the meantime, two political "Christian" parties had fused into the "Christen-Unie" (Christian Union). People who would be members of these parties, or vote for them, would most likely to be a member of the EO too. A few years ago, the Christian Union joined a coalition with the Labour Party and the Christian Democrats (MORE).
While many would think that all of this was a sign that "God" is worshipped a lot within the Netherlands, others would see it as a sign of the fact that "Christianity" itself was corrupted.
This corruption can be seen in the many scandals that surrounded the EO the last years, resulting -for now- in a show that has been cancelled even before the first episode was aired. It was a show wherein a non-Christian comedian was asked to make jokes about Jesus. (MORE and MORE)
Recently, the EO suspended him for several weeks because he had appeared in a glossy magazine called l'Homo. A photo session in a magazine especially for homosexuals, it was a bridge too far...
Arie Boomsma recently declared himself a Darwinist. The presenter, known from programs like "40 Days Without Sex" wherein young people are challenged to not fornicate for 40 days. It's a program that's no bridge too far for the leadership of the EO, who has been aware of the fact that the last four years they had already lost 10's of thousands of their members due to programs like Arie Boomsma's 40 Days.
He has been with the EO for decades and had evolved from being a pedantic defender of "creationism" into a pedantic talk show host whose "Christianity" was more a stream within the system of Church-And-State than a personal believe in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.
Recently, he publicly signed a declaration in which he announced how he did no longer believe in "Creationism" (the idea that God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days, about 6000 years ago (MORE) and was now a Darwinist. Later, he had to publicly apologize for sharing his personal disbeliefs .
After all, there were already a lot of protests against the enormous salary Andries Knevel took. He was forced to announce how he would have his own salary cut significantly. It's part of a bigger debate where the enormous salaries of presenters and figureheads of the public broadcasting system are being questioned on a massive scale.
In his urge to gain acceptance in the homosexual community in the Netherlands, he had said in interviews how he thought that Jesus Christ would party along in the annual "Gay Pride Parade" that takes place in Amsterdam.
This parade is being condemned as a public exposition of pornography, not only by religious people. Many homosexuals speak out against such a display because there is no need for a public exposure of sexuality in a way that is considered pornographic by the vast majority of people in the Netherlands.
The tradition is that there is a long line of boats, sailing through the city. The Dutch minister of culture and the mayor of Amsterdam are on the boat for politicians, and there's a "holy boat" with people who present themselves as homosexual Christians.
Manuel Venderbos was invited join the "holy boat" in the "Gay Pride Parade". Again, a bridge too far for the leadership within the EO. They banned him from joining the parade, claiming that the EO had "different ways to generate debate about homosexuality within the Christian community" (MORE).
And now, there is the show "Man Walks On Water...".
Or, to be more accurate: there was the show "Man Walks On Water..."
You can also say: there won't be a show "Man Walks On Water..."
Just two weeks prior to the press conference in which the EO announced they were -after all- not going to broadcast the show and for which EO director Arjan Lock had to return from his holiday, Lock had written in EO's magazine how he expected the try-out's for the show to bring in money. (DUTCH SOURCE ARTICLE)
The idea was to have a non-Christian comedian make jokes about Jesus Christ, in an effort to "engage in a dialogue with non-Christians", or something to that effect. One trial episode would have been shown and when the response would be good, Arie Boomsma could make a whole series.
An idea which caused yet another exodus of members (some papers speak about 2000) and EO director Arjen Lock returning from holiday to pull the plug publicly.
Did it dawn to the people at the EO that with a title like that, it is obvious how one will make jokes about Jesus Christ rather than the hypocritical system called "Christianity", which is nothing but one of the main religions in a world-wide Church-and-State system we know as Babylon?
If that would dawn, the plug would have been pulled completely, which is not very likely to happen anytime soon.
After all, the Netherlands is ruled by crypto-theocrats. Call them the political wing of the EO. You can find them in the Christian Union party as well as within the party of the Christian Democrats, who together form the majority in the current administration (MORE).
But that's another story.