Somewhat unexpectedly, two days ago the municipality of Giessenlanden gave in and allowed Mr. Joop van Ooijen to continue displaying the text ‘Jezus redt’ (Jesus saves) on the roof of his farm. In typical politicianese the letters must be smaller than they are now and can’t be made from roof tiles, but those are minor details and not that important.
The legal battle cost Mr. van Ooijen (or, as the media styled him, the ‘roof evangelist’) a lot, if not in money than certainly in stress, I don’t doubt. But here’s to a man who stuck to his beliefs in the face of silliness.
For two years now, farmer Joop van Ooijen has been fighting the man. At the heart of the argument? The roof of his farm, and more specifically the letters spelling out ‘Jezus redt’ (Jesus saves). The man, in the form of the municipality of Giessenlanden, doesn’t like that text, saying it contrasts too much with the surrounding countryside. A court order was issued, saying that Mr. van Ooijen had to remove the bright white letters. Well, he did remove the white. By painting it red and orange.
And now the court has said that he is within his rights. Giessenlanden only ordered him to remove the white letters and didn’t say anything about red and orange ones. The monthly penalty payments have had to stop, and the municipality can start all over again.
Here’s to Mr. van Ooijen and his harmless expression of faith on his own roof. He probably will have to succumb eventually, but for now I applaud his tenacity.