As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
About 1,400 children and teenagers (with parents and youth leaders) asked the Swiss government to readmit nine Christian youth organisations that have been expelled from the national “Youth + Sport” programme.
The central “Bundesplatz” square in Bern (Switzerland) was the scenario of a colourful party organised by Christians to express their suport for nine youth organisations which were banned by the government in March.
About 1,400 young people with their parents and youth leaders gathered in front of the Swiss national parliament to protest against the exclusion of nine Christian youth organisations from the national sports programme.
These Christian movements serve 10,000 young people in the country. They were expelled from “Youth + Sport” because of their faith orientation. They suddenly lost training for mentors, materials and financial support that is given to other youth organisations.
“It was a happy and colourful party”, Andi Bachmann-Roth of the Youth Alliance of the Swiss Evangelical Alliance told Evangelical Focus. “The Kids had fun playing, singing and dancing.”
MPs of the national parliament addressed the crowd with speeches. Among them were chief of the “Youth + Sport” programme, Pierre-Andre Weber, who was given “500 Postcards portraying young people participating in activities organised by the Christian youth movements”.
Weber said he was optimistic that a way could be found to build a new partnership between the authorities and these Christian organisations.
MOBILISATION AND 26,000 SIGNATURES
Evangelical Christians have been mobilised across the country to express their disapproval for a decision that “degraded” Christian youth.
In the last weeks, letters were sent to political leaders, as well as to church leaders, and 26,000 signatures against the exclusion have been presented to Guy Parmelin, Head of the Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports.
Another meeting was organised with the directors of the two state departments involved in the case to discuss alternatives to the situation.
After weeks of conversations and the creation of a special round table with social and governmental actors, the leaders of the Christian youth movements accepted a new proposition which could “avoid a long judicial fight.”
NINE MOVEMENTS MERGE IN NEW PLATFORM
“We have asked a work group of five people to create a final solution together with the government”, Bachman-Roth explains. “The nine youth movements have had to found one new movement.”
The national Charter of Ethics and Sport, the Charter of Christian Kids and Youth Work (by the SEA) and the aims of “Youth + Sport” will be the basic documents of this new Christian movement.
This steps should lead to a new scenario in which the Christian youth organisations are welcomed back to the national “Youth + Sport” programme.