Reformed Party: The Radicals of Modern Holland

Today's Holland deservedly enjoys the fame of one of the most liberal countries in Europe, the most subject to the trends of our time - both in terms of morality and in terms of politics. But at the same time, besides the fact that, as already mentioned in previous article on the example of the “Anti-Revolutionary Party”, this was not always the case, and today there is “another Holland” - Holland of ancient traditions and strict morals, Holland Sunday morning sermons and strong farming families, Holland, which has not lost its connection with its great past. It is this kind of Holland, which is concentrated within the biblical belt, that the Reformed Party (Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij) represents.

For all those who have not read my previous article about the Anti-revolutionary party, I recommend reading it - so many things will be more clear about which the story goes in this story. The Reformed party was founded by 24 on April 1918 by several radical people from the ARP, who, above all, were not satisfied with the recognition of women's electoral rights by anti-revolutionaries, as well as the tactics of an alliance with Catholics. As a matter of fact, the name itself already speaks about the hard confessionalism of the party - it is the “reformatism” that the Dutch direction of Calvinism is called, and it was the defense of the principles of orthodox Calvinism that was raised from the very beginning to the banner of the newly-made party. Pastor Gerrit Hendrik Kersten from Yerseke, Zeeland, in the very south of the country, led it.

Gerrit Hendrick Kersten

The new party took part in the parliamentary elections of the year 1918, but could not win a single seat. Success was with SGP four years later when she was able to conduct Kersten to the House of Representatives. During this period, she only remembered with the refusal to vote for the budget in order to cancel the representation of the Netherlands in the Vatican - all serious protection of the Protestant religious community of the country was essentially ARP, and, in truth, it was not really relevant - the level of religiousness of the population remained quite high, new churches were actively built, and in this way a kind of stable calm began, which would be interrupted only in the 60s after the Second World War.

Campaigning for Kersten.

Interestingly, much more secular socialists took advantage of such obstinate anti-Catholicism, and their support for Kersten's demands led to the resignation of the confessional government, which became known as the “Nights van Kersten night” (). However, in the 1925 year, against this background, they were able to increase their representation in parliament by one seat, and in 1929 - by one more. The party has retained its previous result in 1933, but lost its place in 1937, all this time, in essence, representing the most radical part of the Dutch Calvinist community. During the Second World War and the occupation of the Netherlands, part of the party members actively participated in the Resistance, but the founder of the party, Kersten, collaborated with the Nazis, for which he was forced to leave the party in 1945, exactly like Dutch politics in general. He was succeeded as head of the SGP by Peter Zandt, who graduated from the University of Utrecht, and also a priest.

During the subsequent post-war years, SGP consistently received about 2% of Dutch voters, passing to the House of Representatives, and in 1956 even managing to hold its member to the Senate. In 1984, in the first elections to the European Parliament, the Reformed Party participated in a unified list with the Reformed Political Federation and the Reformed League. The united radical Calvinist coalition was able to take one seat that the SGP representative took. The party is now represented by 3 in places in the House of Representatives (from 150), 2 in the Senate (from 75), 1 in the European Parliament (from 26) and 14 in various regional parliaments (from 570). But what is this party, what is its ideology and view on the structure of Dutch society?

As the party representing the most radical part of the Dutch Calvinists, SGP draws its party doctrine directly from the Reformed tradition, in particular, from the so-called. “Three forms of unity” - the Belgian Creed, the Dordrecht canons and the Heidelberg Catechism, which play an important role in Calvinism. In fact, the Belgian religion is mentioned in the first party principle, which is that the SGP strives for a government that in its actions would be completely guided by the Bible. The party is a supporter of the principle of separation of the church from the state, denying "as well as the nationalized church, and the church state." Both the Church and the secular authorities have different purposes and fields of activity in society, even if they work, at the same time, for the same purpose. It is from this that the Reformed Party disagrees with secularism as such, with the support of the principle of freedom of conscience - “obedience to the law of God cannot be forcibly”.

As one of its leaders, the head of the parliamentary faction in 1986-2010, said Bas van der Vleis:

“In the Protestant tradition it is not allowed to kill atheists or people of other convictions. This was never the intention of the author of the Dutch religion, Guido de Bres. The Bible says that this will not happen by force or violence, but by the Spirit of God. ”

The Reformed party opposes feminism, allowing the following rather interesting maneuver: recognizing the equal importance (“gelijkwaardig”), but not equality in essence (“gelijk”) of men and women. Based on the different missions of men and women, right up to 2006, party membership was prohibited for the latter. The party traditionally opposes universal suffrage, preferring “organic suffrage,” an option where only fathers of families have the right to vote. An important feature of the party’s ideology, defended in parliamentary discussions, is the rule of law, established parliamentary procedures and rules of order, regardless of party affiliation. SGP favors the return of the death penalty to the Netherlands, and more recently it has openly advocated “Theocracy”, implying it to follow the Divine Law both at the level of society and at the state level.

Photo of several party members

The charter of the party still contains a phrase from 21 words, traditionally directed primarily against Catholics, and which was adopted in the Dutch Reformed Church and ARP before 1905. This is an extremely intolerant phrase, from the point of view of freedom of religion: “to follow and eradicate idolatry and false religions, to fight the empire of the Antichrist” (“om te weren en uit te roeien af ​​afdederij en valsen godsdienst, om het rijk van den antichrist te gronde te werpen ").

At the same time, at 2008, at a solemn congress on the 90 anniversary of the party, it was decided to abandon support for “theocracy”, as not quite the correct term for party positions, which can be misunderstood, while retaining the actual content of it was invested in it earlier - that is, following both society and the state to the Divine Law.

The Reformed party considers homosexual behavior unacceptable, and opposes same-sex marriage and adoption by such pairs of children. Similarly, the party opposes abortion, euthanasia, prostitution and drugs, as well as strict adherence to the principle of the weekend on Sundays.

Party banner

SGP considers the relationship between men and women as part of the unchanging order of the universe. The Reformed party, based on biblical texts, believes that God gave men and women their own “vocation and place”, which means that “man is the head of the woman” and takes its place in political bodies. However, SGP recognized the rule of Queens Wilhelmina (1890-1948), Juliana (1948-1980) and Beatrix (1980-2013) in the Netherlands “by the grace of God”.

Initially, in the 1918 elections of the year, the party opposed the election rights for women, and in 1922, it called on women who already have such a right to not participate in the voting anyway.

Thanks to some changes in the statute, women were able to become party members from 1984 onwards. In the 1993 year, SGP, however, reiterated that women cannot become members. This caused a storm of criticism, and the loss of the order of a third vote in the elections to the lower house of parliament in the 1994 year, which was explained by the women's position. In the 1996 year, it was found that women can become extraordinary members. Under the pressure of depriving the subsidy and own left wing in 2006, the membership of women was rediscovered, which, formally, did not even contradict the party principles: membership in the party does not mean access to power. Actually, women still can not take leadership positions in the SGP.

SGP's electorate is extremely stable, and is represented by ultra-conservative Protestants from the Dutch “Biblical Belt”, which runs a hyperbole across the entire country, from Zeeland to Flevoland with Frizland. Most of her electorate belongs to various conservative Calvinist churches, such as, for example, the Christian Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (“Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland”), the Restored Reformed Church (“Hersteld Hervormde Kerk”), the Old Reformed Church (“Oud Gereformeerde Gemeenener” ) and some others, as well as the conservative wing of the Protestant Church of the Netherlands. Although not all the parishioners of these churches vote for SGP - the less radical Christian Union enjoys popularity in the Biblical belt, as well as the right-centrist Christian Democratic Appeal.

Percentage of SGP votes for the districts of the Netherlands in the 2003 elections of the year. The Dutch Bible Belt is clearly visible.

SGP can be called “rural” party in some way: the majority of votes, and the largest representation, the party receives in settlements with a relatively small number of inhabitants, having, at the same time, representation in some cities - such as Ede, Kampen, Veenendaal or Katwijk. At the same time, its youth organization with 12 000 man is the largest in the Netherlands.

As already mentioned, the Reformed Party has representation in several provinces of the country: 4 in Seeland, 2 in South Holland, 2 in Overajasel, 2 in Gelderland, 1 in Utrecht and 1 in Flevoland.

And although this party possesses a radical fool, and more than once, as in the case of 1925, the year or position on women's electoral law and party membership, which directly affected the country's Protestant community with views, in the modern world, SGP remains one of the few islands, inspiring at least some hope in a rapidly growing world.

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Nikita Novsky

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