Monday, July 17, 2006

Dutch Court Okays Pedophile Party

(Following article can be found here.)
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- A Dutch court refused Monday to ban a political party whose main goal is to lower the age of sexual consent from 16 to 12. The judge said it was the voters' right to judge the appeal of political parties.

The party has only three known members, one of whom was convicted of molesting an 11-year-old boy in 1987. Widely dubbed the "pedophile" party, it is unlikely ever to win a seat in parliament. The group would need around 60,000 votes, and pollsters estimate it would get fewer than 1,000.

Opponents had asked The Hague District Court to bar the party from registering for national elections in November, arguing that children have the right not to be confronted with the party's platform.

"Freedom of expression, freedom ... of association, including the freedom to set up a political party, can be seen as the basis for a democratic society," Judge H. Hofhuis said in his ruling.

"These freedoms give citizens the opportunity to, for example, use a political party to appeal for change to the constitution, law, or policy."

He noted that the PNVD party, the Dutch abbreviation of Brotherly Love, Freedom and Diversity, had not committed a crime, but was calling for a change in the law.

"It is the right of the voter to judge the appeal of political parties," he said.

The party sparked outrage when it proclaimed its existence in late May, but prosecutors declined to prosecute its members as a threat to public order.

"We expected this result," said party treasurer Ad van den Berg, 62. "We are not doing anything illegal so there is no reason to ban us."

Van den Berg was fined and given a suspended prison sentence for molesting an 11-year-old boy in 1987. After his background became known last month, he was chased from the trailer park where he lived in the city of Oostvoorne.

Anke de Wijn, an attorney representing the party's opponents, said the group was abusing Dutch tolerance.

"Victims feel hurt by the wish of pedophiles to make their desires known in public," De Wijn said. "There are few limitations on free speech, and that's good, but this group is making misuse of the privilege, to provoke."

The PNVD's known members were a president, a secretary and a treasurer, as required under Dutch law. In order to stand in elections scheduled for Nov. 22, it will have to submit a list of candidates and the signatures of at least 30 supporters to get on the ballot in any one of the country's 19 voting districts.

Ireen van Engelen of the Solace Foundation, which researches pedophilia, said the party likely would fail to register for the elections because pedophiles seek anonymity.

"They will never want to connect their name to the party and without the signatures they can't go in the elections," she said.

That last sentence sounds like famous last words to me. What I find disturbing is that the Dutch apparently believe that democratic government grants the right to legislate basic matters of human rights. I’m not sure a large percentage of Americans wouldn’t feel the same. But the Declaration of Independence says that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” In other words, rights are not granted by the government but by God. Governments are obligated to respect those God-given rights; those which fail to do so are illegitimate and it is the duty of the people to overthrow them.

Promulgating of sex with 12-year-olds is the same as promulgating rape, consensual or not, and is a fundamental violation of human rights. It has no more legitimate place on the ballot than legalizing the killing of Jews or medical experimentation on prisoners.

On the other hand, perhaps Holland could make use on another of its “tolerant” policies and simply euthanize the members of the party.