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Declaration of the Council of Churches in the Netherlands on the 23rd of January 2017. In this statement the Council pleads for a civilised debate and a constructive attitute among politicians towards one another and towards longterm ideas.
It is of great value that 13 million Dutch people may cast their votes and determine the composition of our parliament. We consider the elections an important aspect of the freedom in which we live. It is our intention to cherish that and treat it with care. That is why we hope for an election campaign that will be informative and enlightening, so that well considered choices can be made. The debate may be firm, but we do hope sportsmanlike as well.
It would be a pity if form should prevail over content. Which could happen when lack of respect for the opponent and a growing rudeness in language draw so much of the attention that the content is lost. That is why we call upon all parties and politicians to try and find the tone of voice that comes with a well argued debate. Strong arguments are convincing. Oneliners and sensationalism divert attention from the content.
We are well aware of the distress of a growing group of compatriots who feel like they have no access to authorities and politicians who make decisions that affect their possibilities and impossibilities in life. We can imagine their frustration and irritation. As church we want to keep looking for solidarity and connection with people, amplify their voices and stand up for this undercurrent.
We also call upon the voters. That thay may listen to politicians in a critical way. Knowing that some promises just cannot be realised, and have no credibility. We hope for a new parliament that is not filled with those who represent private interests of certain groups in society, but with true representatives of the people. We respect courageous politicians, who are willing to be constructive, whether they will be called to form and support a new cabinet, or will have a role in the opposition.
It is not, after all, around the short-term interests of groups that everything revolves. It is about the values on which our society as a whole is built. These values will be central when long-term problems are to be taken care of in a sustainable manner. These are values like freedom in general, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, respect for privacy and security, but also solidarity, hospitality and securing good care. That is true for the Netherlands. This is also true for Europe and for the whole world that the Netherlands are part of.
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