Reformatory Political Federation
|Merged into||Christian Union|
The RPF was founded in 1975 by three groups of orthodox Christians. The first group were members of the Protestant-Christian Anti-Revolutionary Party, secondly the National Evangelical Union, a small party which had earlier left the ARP, and several independent electoral committees. The founders opposed the formation of the Christian Democratic Appeal, because the Protestant ARP and Christian Historical Union would join the Catholic People's Party. During the period of pillarisation, the Catholics and Protestants had lived in a form of cold war.
In the subsequent 1977 elections the RPF was unable to win any seats. In 1981 it won two seats in House of Representatives (Meindert Leerling and Aad Wagenaar). In the period 1981 to 2002 it had one to three members. It also won seats in the Dutch Senate. The remained in opposition throughout its existence.
In 1985 one of its two members of parliament seceded form the party to form the Anti-Revolutionaries 1985, the party never got any seat.
In 1996 RPF party leader Leen van Dijke came under public criticism when magazine Nieuwe Revu had suggested that in an interview he had declared: "Why would stealing, for example committing social welfare fraud, be less of a sin than going against the seventh commandment? Yes, why should someone in a homosexual relationship be better than a thief?" When turmoil broke out, Van Dijke explained that he had meant to convey a universally accepted vision within Christianity that trespassing one of God's commandments makes a man guilty before God, and that all breaches herein are equal. But the general public, and especially the Dutch gay movement, criticised the statement as printed in Nieuwe Revu heavily, considering it discrimination. As such, a gay magazine (Gaykrant) reported it to the Attorney General. In 1999 the Dutch high court ruled that Van Dijke's views were not discriminatory according to Dutch law.
From 1998 the RPF and GPV began to work closely together in parliament. In 2000 the Christian Union, in which both would unite was officially founded. In 2002 it first contested in elections and won 5 seats.
The Party magazine was called RPF signal and the scientific foundation Marnix van St. Aldegonde Stichting. The Evangelical Broadcasting Association had strong personal and ideological links with the RPF, but it was never officially linked to the party.
The RPF believed that society should be based on Biblical norms and values. The political differences between the GPV and SGP, the two other orthodox Protestant parties, were marginal and based on theological differences.
The RPF was a staunch defender of the Dutch monarchy and a strong government. It opposed abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage. In economic and environmental issues, the RPF was in favour of strong government influence.
Internationally the party was comparable to the American Christian Right and the small Protestant parties of Scandinavia, such as the Christian Democratic Party of Norway, the Swedish and Danish Christian Democrats. The RPF never took part in a government coalition, instead it chose to voice its concerns over government policies, while acknowledging that the party itself (a testimonial party) was not big enough to force its opinion upon others.
The RPF was supported by orthodox Reformed of many denominations, such as the Reformed Churches and the Dutch Reformed Church. But also members of newer churches such as the Evangelical Church and the Pentecostal community supported this party. The electorate was concentrated in Zeeland, the Veluwe, parts of Overijssel, forming what is known as the Dutch Bible Belt.
- Orthodox Protestantism is a term which is used in the Netherlands to refer to conservative forms of Protestantism in contrast to liberal or free-thinking forms of Protestantism. This includes conservative branches of the Dutch Reformed Church and the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands (now united in the Protestant Church of the Netherlands), but also to independent forms of Reformed Protestantism, such as the Reformed Churches (Liberated) or other more conservative forms of Protestantism such as the certain branches of Baptism