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Church and Politics, Humanity and Resistance: The Case of the Bethel Church Asylum in The Hague

  • Dr. Theo Hettema
Thursday 15 February 2024
Culture and Politics Event Series
Leiden University

Leveraging a clause in Dutch law that forbids the police from entering a place of worship when a service is ongoing, a local church in The Hague held a non-stop, 24/7 worship service that lasted for three months. It did so to shelter an Armenian family seeking asylum and facing deportation by the Dutch government. This action became the decisive factor in a change in Dutch migration politics that benefitted some five hundred refugee children and their families. The action also hit the international press, with articles featured in The New York Times and The Guardian, among many other media outlets.

On the five-year anniversary of the Bethel church asylum in The Hague, Dr. Theo Hettema will reflect upon the themes of the relation of church and politics, humanity, equity, civil disobedience, and non-violent resistance. Dr. Hettema is a theologian, and as chairperson of the Protestant Church in The Hague he was centrally involved in the Bethel church asylum.

Students are encouraged to come with questions for the Q&A session to follow the talk.

Culture and Politics Event Series

The Culture and Politics Event Series serves to expose students to further themes related to their specialisation as well as to possible future career opportunities for which their specialisation provides required knowledge and skills.

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