‘Ex-gay’ church loses funding from Dutch government

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An Orthodox Christian group in the Netherlands has lost government financial backing over claims its members try to “cure” homosexuality.

The government makes grants totalling 450,000 euros (£405,000) a year to Christian groups that promote the interests of homosexual people.

Orthodox group Onze Weg (Our Way) claimed to do this and received a subsidy of 50,000 euros in September.

Members of Parliament Boris van der Ham and Anouchka van Miltenburg started asking questions after an article in Revu Weekly made claims that groups such as Our Way deliberately set out to encourage gay people to “become” heterosexual.

Dutch Education Minister Ronald Plasterk had previously defended the funding of these groups, but was forced to ask Our Way for an explanation following the allegations.

Our Way responded in a letter: “Our subsidy is intended to promote an open discussion of homosexuality among orthodox Christians.

“It is out of the question that we support clubs that advocate helping people to get rid of their homosexual feelings.”

In Parliament last Thursday Mr Plasterk announced the group will not receive funding from the government.

The article in Revu Weekly also made similar allegations against another group, the RefoAnders Foundation.

They have since been asked to make a detailed account of what their aims are.