Political lethargy in Hungary, perhaps prayer will help

I will cover two topics today. First, the Pew Research Institute’s recent work on political and civic participation, where Hungarians are shown to be apathetic. And second, for fun, a prayer chain for Viktor Orbán, who is responsible in large part for the lethargy Hungarians exhibit nowadays.

Pew Research on political participation

A few days ago I read about a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center that showed an abysmal lack of political participation among Hungarians. The news intrigued me, so I decided to go to the actual study. In reality, it turned out there were two studies.

The first covered only four European countries: Greece, Italy, Poland, and Hungary. The result? Of the four nations surveyed, the Greeks and Italians are the most politically engaged; the Hungarians, the least. Even the gap between Hungary and Poland is dishearteningly large. For example, only 9% of the Hungarian population has ever attended a campaign event. In Poland that figure is 21%. The situation is nearly the same when it comes to participation in a volunteer organization. And it’s no wonder that recent demonstrations organized by opposition forces are so poorly attended. Only 7% of Hungarians have ever bothered to go to a demonstration. In Poland the situation is better (12%), but both pale in comparison to the enthusiasm of the Greeks (29%) and Italians (25%).

Hungarians demonstrated their apathy when confronted with the proposition: “Likely to take political action, such as contact an elected official or participate in a demonstration on ….” followed by the following issues: poor health care, poverty, poor-quality schools, government corruption, police misconduct, and discrimination against disadvantaged groups. In none of the above categories would the majority of Hungarians be prompted to act. Healthcare is the one issue that seems to interest Hungarians: 44% would be willing to demonstrate or complain. But on other issues–like poverty, education, government corruption–only about 30% would be willing to do anything. When it comes to police misconduct or discrimination, their enthusiasm is a very low 20-22%.

The study also found that 67% of Hungarians think that “the government is run for the benefit of only a few groups of people.” The Greeks (80%) and Italians (73%) are a lot more skeptical. Moreover, 61% of Hungarians believe that “ordinary citizens cannot do much to influence the government.” These findings are especially interesting in light of Polish responses to the same questions. In Poland 54% of the population think their government serves only the privileged and 48% think it is worth making an effort to change the status quo. The Hungarian case is typical of a society where people grumble but only a small minority ever bothers to do anything about the state of affairs.

The low participation of Hungarians between the ages of 18 and 34 in the political process is perhaps even more depressing. Here I am relying on a nine-country Pew study that compared political activism in Greece, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Kenya, South Africa, India, and the United States. The study calculated the gap between the political activities of those aged 18 to 34 and those over 50. For instance, in Greece, Poland, and Italy, the young-old gap, as measured by having voted in an election, was -13%, -9%, and -5%. In Hungary the gap was -18%. (Soon Hungary may catch up to the United States, where the gap is a staggering -26%.)

The situation is no better when it comes to 18- to 34-year-old Hungarians sharing their political views online. Here the United States leads the way with almost 50% participation in this age group. And in the U.S. almost 30% of people over 50 are busy expressing political opinions on social media. Hungary, sandwiched between Poland and India at the bottom of the list, has a gap of only 4% between young and old, but that’s because participation overall is so low. Only 11% of the 18-34 group and 7% of the 50+ group have posted their own thoughts or comments about political or social issues online.

All in all, there is nothing to be cheerful about.

But now, something to put a smile on your face.

Prayer-Chain for Viktor Orbán

On October 31 Új Szó, a Slovak-Hungarian newspaper, reported that a Hungarian Benedictine monk who lives in Rome had written a prayer for Viktor Orbán. Those who receive it should spend at least five minutes a day repeating the short prayer. The chain letter was started in Slovakia by a parish priest from Ipolybalog/Balog nad Ipl’om. He apparently received the letter from a sender in Austria.

Someone who had already re-sent the prayer-chain to 150 of his friends and acquaintances said he believes that “Viktor Orbán is an exceptional politician who has so many enemies because he is defending Christian Europe against the liberals, freemasons, and the Union. He needs our prayers in order for the Lord to give him strength in his struggle for our real values.”

The Slovak Catholic Church considers the issue a private affair.

prayer-chain

For the sake of accuracy, I should report that the alleged author of the prayer, although a Benedictine monk, was a teacher in the Benedictine gymnasium in Pannonhalma and has never lived in Rome.

And now for the text:

The Lord be before thee to show thee the way!
The Lord be beside thee to embrace thee and save thee from peril!
The Lord be behind thee to defend thee from evil deceits!
The Lord be beneath thee to hold thee if thou fall!
The Lord be with thee to comfort thee when thou art sad!
The Lord be around thee to protect thee when others assail thee!
The Lord be over thee to bless thee!
God the merciful bless thee today, tomorrow, and at all times!
Many of us pray for you, Mr. Prime Minister. God help you!

It seems that this prayer-chain is a variation of the so-called Saint Anthony chain letter, which the Catholic Church disapproves of. So much so, in fact, that a Hungarian Catholic priest, writing on Keresztény Élet, a Catholic internet site, called these chain letters “the work of the devil.” What’s a devout Orbán supporter to do?

November 6, 2016
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e-2016
Guest

Funny. the Balogh blog is missing the only true diagnosis.

The Iran Twist – Disguise your Russian affiliations, and claim fervent Islamist nationalist identity.

In the Hungarian Twist – the past communists/socialists deny their affiliations with Moscow, and claim a nationalist – pro-Horthy/Wass/Prohaszka stance.

The duped conservatives embrace the welcome disinformation with great joy and follow the wagon packed with the good old communists/socialists.

Member

The common denominator is not the communist ideology. The common denominator is the money. These people change their world view like others change underwear. Whatever pays best.

Lethargy or rather apathy isn’t the only problem. The prayer chain thing is very real. Even educated Hungarians, who are deeply religious, think that even though “Orban has flaws” he is an awesome statesman, because he’s promoting Christianity. They are dead serious about it. These people totally drank the cool aid and think this what the nation needs and everything bad (corruption, poverty, international isolation) is just collateral damage. A big part is not apathetic – they believe in Orban. They want to fight liberals. They are the Trump supporter types of Hungary. “The gays will take your guns and kill your babies”. I’m loosing faith …

Member

By the way prayer chains are so stuck in the mud Christianity. Spice it up! They need something like this:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/hallelujah-christians-pole-dance-jesus-texas

Member
Guest

Hehe Poor Tertullian I’d feel for him if he woke up and was asked to do an essay on ‘My Christianity’. He’d double over on its modern morphing. ‘And I have faithful dying for that?’ 🙀

And prayer. Indeed it is good for the soul provided the piety is true. And as for the God save the PM prayer better this to put the spiritual and in perspective:

‘If yon bethink yourself of any crime unreconciled as yet to heaven and grace solicit for it straight’.
The ‘Bard’

Seems to me this call speaks much towards getting the ‘act’ straight of those who practice the art of pretension when it comes to the affairs of the spiritual. And it should start with those who don and wear the vestments of holiness. At this point they are so soiled.

Guest

I lost my faith when I was six years old and was told that I couldn’t go to school with my friends from Kindergarten – because they would go to the catholic school and I would go to the Protestant school …

And that system stayed in Germany until the middle 1950s …

So as I always tell people: Hungary is just 50 years behind.

But it might be falling back into the Religious Middle Ages!

webber
Guest

The majority of Hungarians never set foot in a church – which is not surprising, because the majority do not believe in God.
This shows belief in God in Europe, by country:
comment image

Ron
Guest

The picture you mentioned is not about belief in God, but about “Belief “there is a God” per country based on Eurobaromer 2005 poll”. I could not find that study, but found the one below in stead. Furthermore,I do not know it includes Allah or Jahweh. I do not expect this, but it is not mentioned.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Europe

About the prayer. I am not certain it is for VO, It might be for any other Mr. PM in the world now and perhaps in the past.

webber
Guest

What is the difference between belief in God and the belief that there is a god?
I know that semantically there should be a difference (I believe Orban exists. I don’t believe in Orban.), but that difference is irrelevant here.
If you do not believe there is a god, you cannot believe in God (If I don’t believe Orban exists, I surely cannot believe in him)

Istvan
Guest

Webber I would say as a practicing Catholic, a concept I admit to be purely based on the rule of receiving communion at least once a year and having periodically taken thesacrament of confession, I immediately took the statement of a believe in God as the Christian God.

I take the idea of a believe “in a God” to be somewhat different, and much more ecumenical. It would in fact be inclusive of ideas of God simply as the creative power of evolution in the universe or what is called the first cause.

webber
Guest

I strongly doubt that a faithful Muslim would say that he does not believe in God. The first tenet of the Muslim faith, the Shahada, reads: “ā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur-rasūlu-llāh”
or “There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.”
How you understood the statement is not relevant to that.

webber
Guest

and I pose it to you that the average lay person, who hears the question “do you believe in a God” would not split hairs, but would answer “yes” or “no” without hesitation, as quickly as an arrow flies to its goal.

Istvan
Guest

I don’t know how the average Muslim would view the statement. But I do know that there are followers of Wahhabis-m that would see the very question of do,you believe in “a God” as blasphemy. Because it implies there could be other Gods than alllah.

webber
Guest

The prayer is specifically for Orban. That is explicit. It’s not for any other PM at any other time or place. It is for Orban.

Guest

Today it’s a prayer. And for tomorrow? Maybe a referendum to get a dispensation from the Vatican so that he can say Mass? Vasarnaps in the park with Viktor?? Christendom should see such an innovative lay leader since the Middle Ages.

carmichael
Guest

There is no real opposition to Fidesz. It’s all just a huge show directed by Fidesz.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20161107_ellenzek_pharaon_lmp_mszp_jobbik

Observer
Guest

What a sad irony , apathy is basically the same “someone else do it”, for us suffice to say s little prayer.
This why the Hungarians have Orban riding and milking them.

pappp
Guest

A good article about the recent Nicaraguan “election” in which Daniel Ortega won again, of course in a landslide. There are good paralels between Ortegan and Orban. At heart Orban is a (conservative) revolutionary and such people always think that they are simply entitled to the power and once there they don’t tend to give it up. Both Ortega and Orban were voted out once and instead of leaving waited out the dry spell and they learnt never to commit the mistake of allowing a normal election or a normal opposition ever again. Orban just as Ortega won’t ever give up power, simple as that.

http://fusion.net/story/366533/nicaragua-election-daniel-ortega-reelection/

Observer
Guest

pappp

Orban, this ilk, don’t “give up power” – it is taken from them, often with other things as well. (I don’t mind even if the devil takes him).
If the earth would open to swallow a liar, we should have another Grand Canyon in Hungary, even if some of the bast.. s we’re swallowed beforehand.

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