The Sionkerk in Urk held an enormous in-person worship Coronavirus breaking Sunday service, before a churchgoer tried to run over a journalist after being kicked by two other worshippers
Translated by Thomas Ansell
The (unlawful) suspension of Coronavirus regulations at a church in Urk, Flevoland, has snowballed into a larger argument after several journalists reporting on the church were attacked.
As reported by the NOS, the church decided not to keep to the 30-person religious worship guidelines, and allowed churchgoers to come not wearing face masks or indeed upholding social distancing. Hymns were even sung at the service, although the church elders did hold a modicum of responsibility by asking people with Coronavirus symptoms to keep away from the service.
So far, so irresponsible. With Dutch media massing at the churhc on Sunday, worshippers quickly turned violent. One journalist, from PowNed, tried to interview churchgoers after the service armed only with a microphone on a comically long pole.
As the journalist approached a 35-year old churchgoer in his pricey BMW X5, the man tried to ram the journalist with his two-tonne car. The churchgoer has now been held by the police, and two other attendees that kicked at the journalists handed themselves in to police on Monday.
In any case, as reported by De Stentor, the church’s leadership decided to completely do away with historical accuracy, calling the journalists “terrorists”, and saying that “even the SS handled us in a more friendly manner”. The comments were made by press secretary (seriously!) and elder Hessel Snoek.
Another church spokesperson in Urk, Zwier Hakvoort of the Gerefordmeerde Kerk Rehboth Urk was disappointed in the whole affair: “Urk is under a magnifying glass, and it is really unfortunate that the incident cause god’s name to be damaged.”
Despite its reputation as a bastion of liberal secularism, various parts of the Netherlands can be described as being a ‘Bible Belt’. Parts of Gelderland, Zeeland, and the Noordoostpolder have large percentages of the local population that not only attend various (usually Calvinist) churches regularly, but also regularly vote for parties like the SGP that oppose gay marriage, equal rights for women, and support the re-introduction of the death penalty.
One of these places is Urk (just south of Friesland in Flevoland), which used to be an island until the poldering of the area in the 1940’s.
Image: the harbour at Urk. By Wikimedia user Markus Bernet. License here.
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