I am as amazed as the next person to discover that what amounts to a mass book burning in fact didn’t take place here in the US, but in the goddamned Netherlands of all places. Well, technically in a Christian school in the Netherlands, showing that there can be little enclaves of superstition and idiocy no matter where you go.
The Dutch daily newspaper Trouw reported this week that for years, the Pieter Zandt Protestant reformatory school has allowed students a say in creating a “diary” that includes a calendar, tips, jokes and Bible scripture. But the strict school does not allow any items that are considered to be debauchery — like pop music, movie stars, fashion and cartoons.
Recently some parents started complaining that the student on the cover of the diary was wearing a Satanic symbol. Or, as the rest of the world calls it, the Peace Sign. While it may be true that symbols like this may have been used throughout history, the modern and universal interpretation can trace its origins to 1958, when its creator Gerald Holtom wanted to use it as a symbol for nuclear war protests. It was designed to be a combination of the semaphore symbols “N” and “D” … for nuclear disarmament. Simple, right?
Not quite. Parents got so upset and vocal over this that the school board chairman Johan Van Puten went to look it up himself. His decision?
In a letter to the parents of all 3,000 students, Van Puten asked for all of the diaries to be returned so that they could be destroyed.
“This is the Nero cross that stood in Roman times for the prosecution, torture and killing of Christians,” the school board chairman wrote. “Even this symbol in our time been associated with occultism.”
So the fact that this symbol stood for persecution during Roman times negates the fact that by every modern standard it’s acknowledged as a representation of peace? By that rationale, you might want to consider getting rid of the crosses you guys have plastered everywhere since it, too, was originally a symbol of the torture and execution carried out by the Romans … who, for most of their history, were pagans. You wouldn’t want to be seen showing a symbol displaying the ultimate in Roman justice for those engaged in political insurrection against the State, would you?
Here, in my opinion, is the worst part of this train wreck:
According to a translation provided by Dutch News, Van Puten told Trouw that “[t]he conviction of the parents that the symbol was unacceptable was so strong that I knew a rigorous approach was the only solution.”
In other words, van Puten saw that our modern day symbol of peace could potentially be interpreted by some as an occult or anti-Christian symbol, so instead of explaining its modern secular meaning and letting the issue drop, he decided that the anger and sheer vocal volume of the parents was so daunting that his only course of action was to destroy the diaries that contained the “offending” images.
Total cost? About $22,000. But in the end, he decided, it was worth it.
“But you have to understand, it was the lesser of two evils,” Van Puten explained in his letter to the parents.
BULLSHIT. Unless someone’s pointing a gun to your head and demanding you convert, caving in to hysteria and superstition like this is never the lesser of two evils.
Okay, I’m done. If you want to see more about the diaries, you can go here. It’s in Dutch, though, so the translation is going to be a little weird.