June 1999

    New Support Group Forms for Christian Pedophiles
    By Heather Elizabeth Peterson
    Translations from the Dutch by Desire

    A support group for Christian pedophiles will soon be started in the Netherlands, the Dutch newspaper Trouw reported on June 30.

    According to Trouw, the support group will be for Christian pedophiles who wish to stay celibate and are in need of support because of their loneliness. The group's organizers, who say that they wish to take a pastoral approach in this matter, expressed concern that recent negative publicity in the Netherlands concerning pedophiles who hurt children is causing Christian pedophiles who wish to abide by church teachings to become socially isolated.

    "Nobody in the community of Christ should remain lonely or without consolation," the organizers are quoted as saying. "These people are the fighters who deserve our support, our understanding and our prayer."

    The pastoral care of pedophiles became a major issue last year in the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (GKN) after a member of the GKN's synod, the Rev. Leen van Drimmelen, wrote a letter to Trouw urging tolerance for pedophiles and stating that he himself was a pedophile. Two days later, he confessed that he was not in fact a pedophile and said that he had made this claim only in order to show solidarity with "those who have no possibility to express themselves." The ensuing controversy nearly derailed attempts by the GKN to merge with two other Dutch denominations, and in the end Mr. van Drimmelen and two other synod members, including the president of the synod, were forced to resign.

    The organizers of the new support group are a Christian pedophile, a concerned member of the community, a pastor, and an advisor from the professional care-giving institutes. The spokesman of the group is J. Baas, principal of a primary school. The organizers say that the first meeting of the support group will be advertised in the press next fall.

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    © 1999 Heather Elizabeth Peterson
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