Friday 04 December 2020

Crucifixion? Television Sinterklaas joke angers orthodox Christians


Some Christians have reacted angrily to Saturday’s televised arrival of Sinterklaas which they claim mocks the crucifixion of Jesus.

Among the fictitious towns mooted to be the secret location for this year’s arrival, was Kruisigem in Limburg. A sign with the name was shown with a roadside crucifix in the background.

While ‘gem’ is a common suffix for towns in the south of the Netherlands, Kruisigem could also be read as ‘Kruisig hem’ of ‘crucify him’, the mostly orthodox Prostestant complainers claimed.

‘If you say it out loud and look at the image, you know what is meant,’ local councillor Willem-Jan Verdoes said on Twitter. ‘I have a big problem with this!’

Gert-Jan Segers, leader of the orthodox Christian party ChristenUnie said on Twitter that the joke was extremely painful to a lot of people. ‘The broadcaster says it is there for everyone, but apparently not for Christian families,’ he said.


Some people said they would be boycotting the Sinterklaas Journaal, the daily ‘news’ programme which shows the adventures of Sinterklaas up to December the 5th which is the main present-giving event.

‘Explicitly mocking the crucifixion of our lord is going much too far,’ said Dolf te Velde, senior theology lecturer at Kampen’s theology college.

NTR, the public broadcaster responsible for the programme did not want to comment on what exactly was meant but said it did not set out to deliberately hurt people, Trouw reported.

‘Those who know the programme knows that we have been making jokes about anything and everything, including ourselves, for the last 20 years,’ a spokesman told the paper.

A spokesman for education and media minister Arie Slob (CU) said ‘it is regrettable if viewers feel aggrieved’ but that they can complain to the NTR.

Some 2.2 million viewers watched Saturday’s broadcast.

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