The Hungarian Guard and the churches

I know I’ve written about nothing else but the Hungarian Guard over the past few days, and I promise my readers that I’m not a one-trick pony. But, first, the topic is important in and of itself. And, second, it serves as (with apologies to scientists, for whom I know this is a technical term) a polarizing prism. In my singularly non-scientific use of the term, the issue of the Magyar Gárda clarifies political polarizations in Hungary with more precision than has any other recent controversy.

And so to the topic of the day: the relationship between church and state in Hungary as seen through the prism of the Magyar Gárda. Perhaps one ought to devote a whole article to the issue of church and state, but here it is enough to mention that the separation of church and state exists only on paper. The state heavily subsidizes the churches, especially the Catholic church, including their teaching activities. This arrangement was solidified when, to go back a bit in time, the Catholic church managed to get a deal that Warren Buffett might have envied when Gyula Horn went to Rome and signed an agreement with the Vatican. Horn surely thought that with this deal he would get, if not the support, at least not the active opposition of the Catholic church at the forthcoming elections. He had to be disappointed. The church was decidedly ungrateful; it actively supported the Fidesz. Individual priests in their sermons called upon the faithful to vote the "right" way. Interestingly enough, once in power, the Fidesz was not at all generous with the Catholic church, but church leaders didn’t complain. However, as soon as the Fidesz lost the elections, the church launched new demands re money received for each child in parochial schools. It was fairly difficult to decide at the time who told the truth, but the minister of education claimed that the Catholic schools already got more money per child than the public schools, while church leaders claimed the opposite.

This is not the post to decide the issue of educational funding. Instead, let’s move on to the largest minority religion, the Hungarian Reformed (Calvinist) Church. They didn’t have as strong a bargaining position, so they were by default less demanding. But that didn’t mean they were politically neutral. Some of their leading ministers/bishops were active members of the MIÉP. If possible, the Hungarian Reformed ministers were more radical in their thinking than the Catholics. The Lutheran Church is small and usually less active in politics than the other two. (Will the Lutheran reputation ever outlive Garrison Keillor? And what, to switch briefly to a frivolous note, would a Hungarian Lutheran casserole consist of?)

Well, everybody knows that church leaders in general are not flaming liberals, but it seems to me that in Eastern Europe they are far more conservative than are their counterparts in the West. Therefore, I personally wasn’t surprised when at the swearing-in ceremony of the Magyar Gárda a Catholic priest, a Calvinist minister, and a Lutheran pastor showed up and blessed the guard’s flag. Fiery speeches were not missing either. Immediately, on the swearing-in day (August 25th), the MSZP wanted to know what the "representatives" of these churches were doing at the initiation of an anti-democratic, neo-Nazi, paramilitary guard. László Német, the new secretary of the Conference of Hungarian Bishops, was called on the carpet. I heard a radio interview with him. First, he made it clear that the reporter was using the wrong word: the priest did not "consecrate" the flag, he only "blessed" it. A priest can bless anything from a dog to a car. Moreover, one doesn’t even have to be a priest to be able to bless something. And a priest is not always a representative of the church: a priest can go into a pub in a cossack but nonetheless go there as a private person. The same thing happened here: Ferenc Dévényi appeared at the ceremony as a private person. He didn’t ask for permission, he didn’t inform any of his superiors. He acted on his own. (György Gábor, an expert on the philosophy of religion, considered "the point of view of the church in this matter absurd and nonsensical." He argued that an ordained priest, when he appears at such a function, cannot be simply a private person.) When the reporter asked whether at least his superior will talk to Father Ferenc, Német muttered something about Dévény not belonging to their diocese. Since then I heard that Dévény is a "Hungarian citizen," which in most instances is code for a person who resides outside of Hungary. My hunch is that he is serving in Slovakia.

The Hungarian Reformed Church also claimed that they knew absolutely nothing about Tamás Csuka’s intentions to attend the ceremony. Same story: he was simply there as a private person. Mind you, his attire looked the same to me as I saw in the Pécs Hungarian Reformed Church as a child. He was especially popular with the crowd because he made no secret of what would happen to anyone who "dares to lift a finger against the Hungarians." As it turned out, the Reverend Csuka was no ordinary Calvinist minister. During the the Antall government, when Lajos Für, another man present at the ceremony, was the minister of defense, Csuka was the Calvinist bishop of the Hungarian army. He is retired by now, but he still holds the title of brigadier general and, I assume, also gets the pension that goes with it. I understand that according to military regulations a person can lose his rank if he becomes unworthy of it. In fact, the Mazsihisz (the Jewish umbrella organization) already asked Imre Szerekes, minister of defense, whether Csuka could lose his privileges. I wouldn’t be surprised if such proceedings would begin sometime in the near future. That might also bring into consideration the information that appeared in Stop.hu, an internet newspaper. If true, in 2002 the Hungarian Supreme Court found him guilty of "forgery of a contract" (magánokirat-hamísitás), and he received a one-year suspended sentence.

The Lutheran minister was a woman: Mrs. Bálint, Vilma Varsányi. First, the members of the media couldn’t get hold of her, but they managed to talk to her superior, János Ittzés, who told the Független Hírügynökség (Independent News Agency) that he is not planning any disciplinary action in this case. Since then, he must have changed his mind because, according to the late news on MT, the Lutherans are investigating the case and there might be consequences. As far as I can ascertain, the Lutherans are the only ones. The two other churches are adamant that they knew nothing, their clergymen acted on their own. The also expressed their total bafflement when István Hiller, minister of education and culture, during a conversation about school financing (what else?), asked for "emphatic condemnation of the Hungarian Guard." The church leaders don’t understand. They distanced themselves from the priest and the minister. What else can they do?

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boiled beef and carrots
Guest
boiled beef and carrots

I was there when the priests blessed the banners. There was no doubt that the crowd interpreted all 3 priests/pastors as an endorsement both from their respective churches and from god for the magyar garda. The main feeling I came away from the assembly was the capacity for self-delusion of many Hungarians that they actually believe these 55 people will “defend” them. The other feeling was one of sheer horror, a flashback to Munich 1930s, when the National Guards marched in with their even-closer-to-the-original Arrow Cross type flag.
These people may be small in number, many of them are not vile anti-semites, and much of the performance was doubtless aimed at bolstering Jobbik before the anniversary of the lies speech, but that said, the message was there for anyone who wanted it. Like Fidesz, these people have a buffet-style political agenda, pick and choose what words and feelings appeal to you.

Kevin
Guest
Does any one know Gabor Devenyi? He is a scam artist. If you have done business with be very careful and if you are thinking about doing business do not do with this scam artist. He is in real estate and everything he says is a lie. He never keep s his promises and never delivers. He is a money hungry person and if he smells you have money he will do anything to get it from you with a lot of empty promises and after that you can never get him accept what he promised. He is like a teflon nothing ever sticks to him. He loves to show off what he has always and he knows best of everything, every situation. No matter what you say he always knows better than everyone. It is like no one in this world has a brain and smart but him. I have proof of everything I said. If you know him and read this you already know what I am talking about anyway. He lives in Lisle, IL in a million dollar house, plays golf all summer, have fun and spend like crazy with the money he takes from hard working… Read more »
Ellen
Guest

Kevin – I can’t believe I just saw this. I am so glad. My husband has been contemplating doing business with this same man. Can you please give me an example of exactly what you know about him? How did he scam you? I’m worried now.

Jim
Guest

Kevin, I came across this comment you had left and I was completely outraged. I for one have done multiple transactions with Gabor and referred five of my closest acquaintances to him. In my last five years of doing business with him, all transactions have had a successful outcome. Unfortunately, I am unaware of your personal conflict with Gabor, but before you make such harsh accusations perhaps you should get your story straight, or maybe come to the realization that you are not the type of businessman that should be doing investment transactions in the first place. Keep in mind that any investment is a RISK, maybe you are unaware of that.

unknown
Guest

Jim – Here’s what I find funny. You were obviously “googling” Gabor or how else would you have found “Kevin’s” comment? (Unless you are Hungarian and frequent the Hungarian Spectrum. With a name like Jim, I’m doubting that.) If you were in fact, a satisfied business aquaintance of Gabor’s, why were you googling him in the first place? I’m thinking that you are really a family member of his (AKA “Jim”) and you are just covering for him.

Jim
Guest

Jakob, which is indeed a Hungarian name translates to James in english. Thank you for the concern.

Zoltan
Guest

Jakob, you must be in on Gabor’s action, or you may be Gabor. Either way, he has been scamming people for the last 20 years. It’s public record and public knowledge. You probably know that he faked his own death years ago and miraculously reappeared. Again – in public record and undeniable. Makes for good reading if you care.

Brad
Guest
This post is directed at Kevin, I am not usually a blogger especially not on this blog, but I friend of mine who owns a Hungarian restaurant alerted me to this discussion and things relating to Mr. Devenyi which were alarming to me I am trying to do some homework. I don’t want to get into details about my business on this blog, but I have entered into a small business relationship with Mr. Devenyi in a auto related business and though I haven’t had any problems as of yet he has postponed a payment due to me and also has been extremely hard to get in touch with. I am due to get into this business relationship with Mr. Devenyi a lot deeper starting the first part of the 4th quarter and I am eager to do so. I do not think I can get hurt, but now I’m thinking about the relationship a bit harder. As I mentioned I do not want to get into details on this blog so if you can shed any light on Mr. Devenyi that I should be concerned with other than what you have mention previously please let me know. info@autodealerbizopp.com 1-312-… Read more »
Zoltan
Guest

Brad – I hope that Kevin contacts you. Mr. Devenyi had a high-end auto dealership many years ago and defrauded customers, auctions and ultimately the government, which landed him in jail. It is public record. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT HANDING OVER ANOTHER DIME. DO YOUR HOMEWORK ON THIS MAN, HE IS A CRIMINAL.

Natasha
Guest

That guy “Jim” is Gabor. His egotistical, self righteousness is smacking me in the face. Gabor Devenyi is the biggest scam artist I know. He has taken away my once tranquil life and converted it into a nightmare of unpaid bills. I have a daughter that now I worry won’t have the future I planned for her becuase Gabor lied and ruined my credit. He promised a great real estate transaction and instead what I got was deceit, lies and corruptness but yet he is out there golfing at Contingy which is very expensive and vacationing and living in Lisle in a mansion. I wonder what his neghbors would think? I have hired an attorney who is charging me a lot of money but will hopefully help me put this poor excuse for a man behind bars. Anybody else game? I heard rumors from one of his closest business associate about a huge insurance fraud scheme that Gabor conjured many years ago. People, beware of this pice of crap poor excuse for a human being. He is a narcissistic jerk who has no compassion not even for his own family.

none
Guest

You sound like you know him a little more personally than the others. I too, know him both through personal and business deals. Maybe we should swap stories.
My email is barbies2die4@yahoo.com

none
Guest

I don’t think “Jim” is Gabor. Gabor is not intellegent enough to write like that. The only thing he is good at is manipulating people and playing the number game. Jim is obviously a dumb ass who has fallen into Gabor’s bullshit. By now, I’m sure he’s been screwed by him too. Gabor gets investors to invest in whatever his “latest” career is…auto dealer, carwash owner, restaurant owner, medical center, real-estate guru…to name a few. If he was so good at business, why has he had so many of them? Wake up people! He’s screwed his own daughters for Pete’s sake. The man is a crook. It’s a shame that our country let a piece of shit like him in it! Did you ever see the movie “Catch me if you Can?”…well, that’s Gabor.

Greg
Guest

I am surprised that so many people are taken in by Gabor. We’ll see how long he can hide from the Aurora Police. The group of condo owners I belong to have filed charges alleging trespass and theft by deception. There is absolutely irrefutable evidence and he has involved his daughter Gia. It is a shame that Gabor has scammed a single mother out of two months rent. It isn’t likely he will do time unless Mr. Gabor has a previous felony conviction or two.
Greg

buddy
Guest

Greg,
You must know about this crook too. He is a scammer with daughter Gia Devenyi, with wife Kathy Devenyi etc. They are all in this. You go check Dupage county clerk office, you will see that all of them have multiple judgments agains them along with foreclosures.

Leticia
Guest

Great post, i visit your site daily for posts like this. I found http://www.rapidhawk.com which is intersting too.

buddy
Guest

Leticia, stop putting fake stuff here and stop trying to change the subject.
Gabor Devenyi is a scam artist and everyone has done business with him knows that. He is now also a real estate agent in state of illinois. He is going to scam even more people with that license now.
Go to dupage county clerk office and look at public records of him, his daughter Gia Dvenyi and his wife Kathy Devenyi. They are all in this together. They live a high life style, drive brand new model expensive cars but they do not want to pay their debts, money they have borrowed or scammed from people.

Robert
Guest

Unfortunately, I know Gabor. Kathy his soon to be ex-wife and Gia have nothing to do with Gabor or his dealings. Simply put, Gabor is a dishonest, racist, pig that would do anything to get your money. Stay away from Gabor. If you ever meet Gabor, make sure you’ve got your wallet when he leaves. He’s a sweet talking swindler!

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