Mission Statement TCC/CCI:
Founded in 2013 as the Transatlantic Christian Council (TCC) and developing towards a worldwide scope, Christian Council International (CCI) seeks to develop a transatlantic and international public policy network of Christians and conservatives in order to promote the civic good, as understood within the Judeo-Christian tradition on which our societies are largely based. Our goal is to influence public policy on both sides of the Atlantic and broader at international organizations from a Christian and politically conservative perspective, with the broad objective of fostering and protecting the greatest achievements of our political systems: limited government, the free market and individual liberty, especially religious freedom and freedom of education, with the family as the foundational building block of society.
TCC/CCI stands up for Christian standards at international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), African Union (AU), as well as at representatives of member states such as the US and African countries. Extra focus is on themes such as the protection of life, the natural family and freedom such as religion and education. TCC is able to do this because it has acquired the powers and access to speak and lobby with these organizations and representatives. Concretely, we try to influence international resolutions and decisions at the source by speaking to decision makers in person and getting them to make the right choices.
Manifesto: A Transatlantic and International Focus on Human Dignity, Liberty and Virtue
Since the middle of the last century the partnership between the United States and Canada and the free nations of Europe and the world has formed the geopolitical basis for greater security and the worldwide spread of democracy, the rule of law and free markets. The principal foundation of the transatlantic and broader international partnership and the political, economic and social system that underpins it is our common commitment to upholding human dignity and the individual liberty that a belief in human dignity entails. This commitment, derived to a great extent from the Christian faith upon which Western civilization was largely built, is now under threat as the public square comes to be characterized by indifference and even hostility toward Christian faith. Christians and those of like mind must reclaim a place for themselves in the public debate and in policy formulation, not in the interest of dominating or forcing their faith upon others, but in the interest of safeguarding for everyone our most precious public goods -- again, limited government, free markets, and individual liberty -- and the transatlantic and broader international community of sovereign democracies without which, in this globalized 21st century, those public goods will be in danger worldwide.
We also believe that it is vital to recognize that true liberty is impossible without a citizenry that is freely committed to seek the good of both individuals and society, including foundational social institutions such as the family. Good citizenship begins at home and in local communities. Against today’s strong tendency toward homogenization and centralization of power, we maintain that local, historic and home-grown identities must be respected and fostered. With this in mind, we will not only uphold the classical freedoms of religion, speech, association, press, education and the like but also seek to foster societies that encourage individual and civic virtue -- societies in which people are free to live out the fruit of the Spirit in the public square: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Statement of faith: We hold to the traditional, historic, orthodox Christian faith as expressed in the Apostles' Creed as it has been commonly understood throughout the centuries. We are open to members of all of the branches of the traditional Christian faith -- Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox.
Human Dignity: To quote the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, "human dignity is inviolable."
The sole source of human dignity is our status as image bearers of God -- the fact that God created us in his image. The inherent dignity of every human being as an image bearer of God entails a political, economic and social framework that respects the right of each individual to live, as far as feasible, in liberty. In addition, human dignity entails the obligation of each individual to respect all others as fellow image bearers of God and treat them accordingly.
We also acknowledge that all human beings are captive to their sinful nature and in need of redemption. This makes the state necessary to restrain evil and safeguard the rule of law. However, as all human institutions, including the state, are also subject to the effects of sin and imperfection, the powers of the state must be limited and subject to checks and balances.
Limited Government: The primary purpose of government is to provide for and enforce the rule of law domestically and security internationally. In order to preserve human freedom, both for individuals and for social institutions such as the family, the powers of the state must be carefully limited and subject to checks and balances. In this globalizing world, not only national governments but also all other structures of governance must be accountable to the appropriate electorates. Because of this, we take a cautious approach to international organizations and supranational institutions that claim the right to exercise power without direct accountability to an electorate. We believe that subsidiarity is an important principle in the exercise of governmental power.
The Nature of Liberty: As indicated above, liberty and human dignity are intrinsically connected. They both give rise to the same combination of rights and obligations. A fundamental characteristic of liberty is the freedom to do good, without authoritarian or totalitarian coercion by the state or government. In the public square this implies not only government protection of the classical freedoms of religion, speech, association and press, but also the calling of each individual to live out the fruit of the Spirit in interaction with others.
The Nature of the Family: We believe that it is necessary for the long-term strength of society to protect and honor the family as traditionally understood. The ideal manifestation of the family consists of a father and mother, united in marriage and living together with their children. We recognize that this ideal is not always possible. We also maintain that children belong to their families, not to the state or schools.
Conception in 2005 - The TCC is the realization of an idea developed by Henk Jan van Schothorst. The first start was a meeting in 2005, where the ‘Working group on strengthening transatlantic relations’ was established. Formation stemmed from Henk Jan's membership as a staff member on behalf of the European Parliament of the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue (TLD) with the U.S. Congress. Goal included the establishment of a transatlantic network of likeminded people at political and societal level. Participants were Dutch members and staffers of the European and National Parliament and local government in Bodegraven, Henk Jan’s home village. This idea was not further developed because of not being able to give it a 100% focus and attention.
Birth in 2013 - Henk Jan approached a former US diplomat, who has also been a staff member from US side of the TLD, to discuss this idea again in 2012. Both of them agreed on the need to bring Christians in public life together across the Atlantic in order to counteract the pervasive secularization in the public square in both Europe and America and the resulting weakening of the transatlantic commitment to the foundational Western values and institutions that are rooted in the Christian world view -- limited government, free markets and individual liberty, among others. As their conversations began in the first half of 2012, Henk Jan’s perspective was that of a former staffer for a Christian member of the European Parliament and a long-time political advisor to Christian political networks and movements in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Africa, with extra focus on Egypt, Kenya and Tanzania. The U.S. diplomat’s perspective was that of a twenty year foreign service with a concentration on European affairs as political counselor at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, his final Foreign Service assignment. The TCC is since January 2013 a non-profit corporation in the Netherlands. Among other things TCC has organized two major events in its first two years of existence: the inaugural conference, which took place in Royal Cercle Gaulois, Brussels on December 4, 2013 and events which took place in the Library of Congress and the Capitol in Washington D.C., September 10-12, 2014.
Teenager - In 2015, after a struggle with the tax authorities up to the Supreme Court of exactly 2.5 years, TCC got its tax exempt status in the Netherlands with retroactive effect to the application date of February 2013. This was an extremely challenging period of time, in which TCC with very limited resources fought t's way forward in the implementation of its objectives. Important in the verdict was the proof by the three judges that TCC had done everything perfectly in line with its stated objectives, also financially. The most important point was that the Court fully dismissed the position of the tax authority on the main contentious issue. That was the question whether TCC, as an organization coming from a Christian perspective, could serve the common good or only the good of a particular group in society, namely Christians.
Adulthood - As time moved on TCC broadened its scope next to its transatlantic activities in Washington DC and received special consultative status and accreditation to international organizations as the United Nations (UN) in New York and its subsidiary bodies as the Human Rights Council in Geneva (OHCHR), the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels and the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (EU-FRA) in Vienna and Organization of Security and Cooperation (OSCE) with focus on the Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (ODIHR-HDIM) in Warsaw, while also working with the African Union (AU) and member states. Now working on a worldwide scale asks for adjustment of the name from Transatlantic Christian Council toward Christian Council International. Areas to work on with extra focus became the protection of Life, Family and Freedom (of religion and education)
A separate incorporation has been established since June 2020 in Virginia as Christian Council International (CCI). Both the Virginia and Netherlands corporations have tax-exempt status. We have spoken to many key Christians in public life and established ties with many key Christian and conservative organizations worldwide who support our idea. Implementation of the objectives took place on all fronts, including a Board formation, a comprehensive website and developing an effective fundraising strategy. A broader picture of increasing activities of TCC/CCI is summarized in the quarterly and annual reports.