Hungary leads the way in defense of persecuted Christians

Yesterday Viktor Orbán delivered a speech at the International Consultation on Christian Persecution, organized by the Hungarian government and held in Budapest between October 11 and 13. We know that the prime minister considered this speech to be of great importance because it was made available in its entirety, in both Hungarian and English, on his website within hours. Such speed normally attests to Orbán’s belief that the content of a message is particularly significant.

I must say that I have to strain my imagination to see the political implications in this address, but Zoltán Lakner, whom I consider a sharp-eyed commentator, sees this talk as a new stage in the Hungarian government’s assault on the European Union. Others, like Tibor Pethő in a Magyar Nemzet editorial titled “Crusade” (Keresztes háború), views the Christian Democratic András Aradszki’s reference to the rosary as a weapon against the Satanic George Soros as an introduction to Viktor Orbán’s speech, in which he said that Hungary will take the lead in the defense of the Christians of Europe and the world. He is not the only one who is convinced that Aradszki’s remarks in the Hungarian parliament were inspired, if not dictated, by the highest authority of the land.

In the last few months high-level politicians and government officials have taken up the cause of Christianity, the most persecuted religion. As Viktor Orbán put it, “215 million Christians in 108 countries around the world are suffering some form of persecution.” These figures are being repeated practically everywhere. I encountered one site where the claim was made that even in Mexico Christians are suffering “a high persecution level” from “organized corruption.” From remarks by Hungarian church officials and Christian Democratic politicians I learned, to my great surprise, that Hungary is also one of those countries where the persecution of Christians takes place.

According to Viktor Orbán, Christian persecution in Europe “operates with sophisticated methods of an intellectual nature.” Admittedly, it cannot be compared to the sufferings of Christian communities elsewhere, but greater dangers are lurking for European Christians, which many people don’t want to notice. He recalled the watchman in the Book of Ezekiel who, neglecting to warn people of the danger, was held accountable for the blood spilled by the enemy. Surely, Orbán sees himself as the watchman bearing news of the coming danger to the “indifferent, apathetic silence of a Europe which denies its Christian roots.” But there will be a price for this neglect of European interests. The present immigration policy will result in the transformation of Europe’s Christian identity.

Hungary is a small country without many relatives, but it has something other richer and bigger countries don’t have, Orbán claims. Many larger countries may have well-intentioned politicians, but they are not strong enough because “they work in coalition governments; they are at the mercy of media industries.” Hungary, by contrast, is a “stable country” whose current government has won two-third majorities in two consequent elections and, what is also important, “the public’s general attitude is robust.” Therefore, “fate and God have compelled Hungary to take the initiative.” I puzzled over the meaning of Orbán’s reference to the “robust attitude” of Hungarians and, since it didn’t make much sense to me, I turned to the original Hungarian text where I found that the prime minister was talking about the “healthy attitude” of the population. What are the characteristics of this healthy attitude? What about those who, unlike Hungarians, don’t have a healthy attitude? It is a good topic for a debate.

These are the main points of Orbán’s speech. Hungarian assistance in Iraq, which he briefly described at the end of his speech, needs no elaboration. I already wrote about it a couple of weeks ago in a post titled “Two New Hungarian citizens: Part of assistance to persecuted Christians.”

So, let’s see what the other shining lights of the Fidesz world had to say. After all, the conference lasted three days and those days had to be filled somehow. As a result, there were many, many speeches on the subject of Christian persecution.

One of the first men to greet the participants was András Veres, bishop of Győr, who currently serves as president of the Conference of Hungarian Catholic Bishops. He was the one who, in his sermon on the August 20 national holiday, felt compelled to talk disapprovingly about increased government support for the in-vitro fertilization program. His words created quite a storm. After some hesitation, the government stood by its position. Details of the controversy can be found in my August 25 post. At the conference he admitted that the persecution of European Christians still means only mocking them, “but all bloody persecutions” began like that. The reason that Hungarians understand the plight of Middle Eastern Christians better than Western Europeans do is because “there is persecution of Christians in Hungary today.” You can imagine what some bloggers had to say to that when the government is pouring money into the churches–well, at least into the government-approved churches; it financially “persecutes” the others.

Zoltán Balog, head of the ministry of human resources who himself is a Protestant minister and who, over the years, has acquired the reputation of formulating high-flown ideas that usually fall flat, decided that “the conservation of Christian values, worldview, and culture also means the conservation of democracy.” I assume that for most people this assertion makes no historical sense whatsoever. Balog, presumably following Viktor Orbán’s lead, sees in Hungary’s assistance to the Christians of the Middle East “an opportunity to reform the foundations of European Christianity.” Well, that’s quite an ambitious undertaking. It seems that Hungary is not only defending Christian Europe but also wants to reshape it.

Péter Szijjártó was more modest. He only wants to make Budapest “the engine of the fight against the persecution of Christians.” We learned from him that “work is a Christian value,” as if working hard was alien to other cultures. He also had the temerity to say, after the government propaganda against migrants and lately against George Soros, that “a good Christian cannot be against anyone.”

Zsolt Semjén and Zoltán Balog at the press conference / MTI / Photo: Attila Kovács

Zsolt Semjén didn’t disappoint either. He gave a press conference after the “consultation” was over. He argued that Islamists who commit anti-Christian genocide should be brought before the International Court of Justice. He also said that the persecution of Christians in Europe is of “the light variety,” which is “not without its dangers because what’s going on in Europe is the conscious destruction and apostasy of Christianity.”

I’m pretty sure that Semjén was not happy with a question he got about the 1,000 Coptic Christian families from Egypt and Iraq the Hungarian government allegedly generously settled and gave Hungarian citizenship to during 2014 and 2015. Both Zoltán Balog and Péter Szijjártó insisted at the time on these people’s presence in Hungary, but the problem was that the leaders of the already existing, though small Coptic community had never heard of them. Or, rather they knew about “a few businessmen who have permission to live in Hungary but who don’t live in the country on a permanent basis. They come and go in Europe and the world.” The government couldn’t give a coherent explanation for the invisible Coptic Christians. After all, 1,000 families should mean about 4,000 people. I devoted a whole post to the story at the time. Now Semjén insists that the government cannot say anything about these 1,000 Coptic families because their lives are in danger. I guess that’s one way for a good Christian to avoid the issue.

October 13, 2017
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
dos929
Guest

Are these people for real? Either they have brainwashed themselves to a degree when reality doesn’t matter any more, or rather their sick mind took over rational approach to everything that matters. Many of us keep wondering when the white uniformed doctors will arrive to take them to an asylum where they belong… Sorry, they closed them down… and instead the whole Hungarian parliament and perhaps the whole country turned into an asylum where no one knows any more who are the doctors and who are the patients…

Observer
Guest

This is just another Fid propaganda hodgepodge of misleading statements, nonsense and strait lies. Particularly irritant to me is the preposterous bundling of Christianity with democracy. There is little democracy in any organized faith, as faith runs on authority, but there is least such in the totally hierarchical Catholic church, where even the appointment of a parish priest doesn’t involve the local population. What a BS (check out George Carlin on religion).

Observer
Guest

So, according to the Fid heads, the mocking of and being apathetic to the Christians faith is “persecution of Christians “, and “all bloody persecutions” begin like that. Then the Orban regime is half way there since it is already launching huge insulting, libelous and demonizing campaigns (Soros mercenary, traitor), intimidating by action of police, tax and regulatory authorities (NGOs, Jobbik), it is applying financial pressure (advertising) on the media outlets and it is directly threating opponents, incl. of physical violence and life (the investigation against Hadházi, Őcsényi and the László Földes statemens).
Ergo, we have first to deal with the grave persecution against millions of Hungarians here, which is also much closer to the bloody phase.

Guest

It is the Popes business to call a crusade. If Orban launches a new crusade, the Umpteenth Crusade, without the sanction of the Pope he may be excommunicated. Ups, he is reformed.

Gabor Toka
Guest

Without any belittling the plight of the very many people prosecuted around the world (for faith or other reasons), the Orban government’s trumpeting about the prosecuted Christians originates in some American-fabricated misinformation that was very comprehensively and meticulously analysed by a BBC reporter recently: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04nhf7m

BTW I think there is quite a bit to the claim that democracy – just like capitalism -, historically speaking, has Christian roots. It is not that other faiths could not have given the impetus, but as it happened, early Christianity was the one that contributed ideas about moral universalism and equality in front of God; medieval monks and the college of the cardinals were the first to invent electoral procedures that reflect these ideas; and Reformation had much to do with our ideas about the liberty of conscience. Of course, there also were some less than shining pages in the history of Christian churches, but as an atheist, I respect these contributions, especially as a resource to resist the evil regime and discourse of Orban.

:Bastiat2
Guest

I thought that “demos kratos”, ancient Greek for power of the people (demos), was first instituted and thought by the Greeks of the Vth century before Christ.
A century later (IVth BC), Plato gave his classical denunciation of democracy of which he said that its twin sister was demagogy.

Gabor Toka
Guest

As you will know from Plato, to the ancient Athenians democracy had nothing to do with voting and moral universalism. Plato equated it with mob rule. Aristotle was more subtle but also saw democracy as the rule of a particular social group over others.

Guest

”.. medieval monks and the college of the cardinals were the first to invent electoral procedures that reflect these ideas ..”
This is debateable. The Icelandic Althing, the worlds oldest paliament, was established by pagan viking settlers around 930, fifty years before Iceland was visited by missionaries. In year 1000 the Althing converted Iceland to Christianity by law.
The Isle of Man has remnants of a parliament which was established by viking invaders.
The Scandinavians tend to claim that democracy was invented by their forefathers, the vikings.

Gabor Toka
Guest

Yes, I even thought of this while writing the above but I am not sure if we have evidence on the voting procedures and understanding of equal rights around 950. It may have been just one of those council of elders thing that are commonly found across time and space but have little to do with the modern concepts (one person one vote, equal dignity and equal right to be right or wrong) that underline contemporary notions of democracy. But surely this is worth further research.

wrfree
Guest

Regardless of taking up the mantle of being Christian ‘protectors’ nothing good can ever conceivably emanate from hypocrites. It is not vacuous verbiage which counts but action in word and deed by those calling themselves Christian leaders.

It is unfortunate the country exists not as a democracy but as a kakistocracy. It is one that tends not to drive for the ‘good’ of all but appears to select the and bask in the worst of of those it lays its hands on. It grievously distorts and maims anything it touches. They need to take the plank of fear and trepidation out of their eye.

Anita
Guest

This is just another diversion strategy to avoid that Hungarians focus on the mass scale corruption of their leaders and the steady amassing of financial wealth by Little Viktor. These thugs don’t give one penny about Christian values.

:Bastiat2
Guest

This topic suggest to me this question: why is it so difficult to claim being a Christian in Europe, especially in France, and so easy to claim, even to trumpet, being a moslem?

Member

Try claiming that you are a Christian in a Hungarian village and see how very difficult it is. It is not. Try claiming that you are a moslem whatever that would be and see how easy it is. It will not be easy. It is simply not true either that it would be so difficult in France. Have you ever been to France?

:Bastiat2
Guest

Lived in France for many years, that is why I speak of what I know. I agree that in Hungary, it would be the opposite. Imagine on the facade of the Louvre a huge poster celebrating the 500 Anniversary of Protestantism as there is on the facade of the Museum on Muzeum Körut.

Ferenc
Guest

“Louvre celebrating the 500 Anniversary of Protestantism”?
When only ca.2% of the population in France declares themselves to be Protestants of various types, your comparison/suggestion doesn’t make much sense.

Guest

Maybe the French remember the Bartholomew Day Massacre where the Catholics killed those un-christian protestants:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Bartholomew%27s_Day_massacre
In German we have a saying:
Und willst Du nicht mein Bruder sein so schlag ich Dir den Schädel ein!
Civil wars are usually the ugliest, especially if there’s just a small difference in religious beliefs or whatever.

Guest
A bit OT re claiming to be a Christian: In Germany we have two Christian parties: Mrs Merkel’s CDU and its sister in Bavaria the CSU, with a lot of Christian rules in their propgrams – and part of the governing coalition. Especially the Bavarian CSU people are vehemently against same sex marriages because as they often declare: Every child needs a father and a mother! On the other hand, all (!!!) of the CSU bosses of the last years have illegitimate children from lovers they had (or still have …) in parallel to their oh so happy marriages … These children never meet their fathers – now what does that tell us about Christians and politics and …? When I meet so called Christians and they try to discuss “Christian politics” with me I usually end the discussion with one of my favourite jokes: Mr Seehofer, (still) the boss of the CSU, went to his Catholic priest and assked him if the Church couldn’t burn his lover and their child on the stake – because she must surely be a witch having forced him to have sex with her … The priest answers: Well, we’d like to do this… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

You have ‘discussions?’

wrfree
Guest

I only ask that because I feel I am hearing a sort of ‘evangelism’ when it comes to ‘discussion’ with those who identify with ‘Christian’. It’s a feeling of getting lectured to. A sort of self- righteousness. A killer of understanding right there.

Guest

they try to discuss “Christian politics” with me I usually end the discussion with one of my favourite jokes
You have to look at this – that joke usually ends any attempt at discussion on their side – and when I mention that my friend the zoologist introduced me to the books of Dawkins they try to get away as fast as possible … 🙂
Any way our favourite hang-out is well known as a hotbed of Left/Green/Atheist Heretics – with a picture of Marx on the wall. 🙂

Istvan
Guest
I have seen no evidence that PM Orban is willing in any way to commit his precious TEK to any rescue missions for entrapped Christians in the Middle East. There have been plenty of opportunities for Hungary to do so and actually the means to do so since Hungary via Pápa Air Base where it controls 3 C 17 Globmaster transports with sufficient aircrews to get to the Middle East or Africa rapidly with at least one plane for a rescue special forces operation. Instead what we see is the Director of Rescue Christians Keith Davies denouncing Hungary for betraying these Christians, see http://rescuechristians.org/hungarian-government-betrays-persecuted-christians/ on the simplest levels. Orban would be terrified if he flew in the heroic TEK to save persecuted Christians in the African bush from Boko Haram and they took casualties. There is plenty of killing for TEK to do in Africa for enslaves of Christians, but a coward like Orban has no stomach for that, nor do most Hungarians when they see their boys shipped home in boxes for their efforts of rescuing Black Christians. The real truth is from my own experience in Africa working for a US military contractor is that relatively small contingents… Read more »
Joseph Simon
Guest

Rosary March in Poland by a million people praying for peace and for Europe to remain Europe, remembering the victory of the Christian navy over the invading Muslim forces at Lepanto in 1571.
Orbán is not alone in Europe emphasizing the return to Christian roots.

Guest

You mean return to the Middle Ages or the days when heretics were burned like Giordano Bruno – or the Bartholomew Night?
If on the other hand you mean a return to the Ten Commandments – Love thy neighbour …

Observer
Guest

Misleading or ignorant, again.
The Holy League forces lead by the Venician navy and financed by the Spanish Empire battled the fleet of the Ottoman Empie where all involved had great interests at stake.

Since you mentioned Poland, let me remind you of the later alliances of the Bethlens and Thököly with the Ottomans against the “Christian” states and of their attempts to devastate and conquer Poland for the Ottomans.

Ferenc
Guest
Having checked the website of the event – http://iccpbudapest.com/ (only 7 pages and started 2017.Aug.25) – some peculiar things came up: *the Hungarian government will prior to the conference publish an “annual report” about the subject (anybody seen this, or is this supposed to come afterwards???) *the claim “four out of five people enduring discrimination for their belief are Christians” is not supported with any proof nor reference to source of that info (seems typical OV&Co selective choosing, aka.lying) *used wording several times “Fight against Persecution of Christians” (seems very/too (?) aggressive for real Christians) *the V4 is really pushed, a special press conference held as part of the program and as subject (“International Role of the V4 Countries”) in one of the panel discussions *a subject of one of the panel discussions was “Foreign Policy of the EU with regards to the Fight against Persecution of Christians” (so the EU’s role seems to be questioned) Note: these last two can be seen together as V4 against the rest of the EU or some other members of the EU… *conference and accommodation of participants was in “the finest hotel in the heart of the city with the highest standards of… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

Breaking, in 2017.Oct.13 pressconference after V4 meeting, OV told that there will be in 2018.Jan a next conference, titled “The Future of Europe”.
Curious who’ll be invited there…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g5O6n9bCik
in pressconference OV stated: “In the past Schengen outside borders were closed and inside borders were open, currently it’s the opposite, i.e. outside borders open and inside borders closed, we have to go back to the original Schengen. Not the EU commission, nor the EU council, nor EU parliament protected Schengen.”
That man is getting nuts…

Free Wheeling
Guest

It’s very clear behind with what has been documented above and Matolcsy’s response to his obvious nepotism/cronyism that he does in fact favour his family of Christians around the world that one of Fidesz’s talking points for this portion of the run-up to the election is to promote themselves as being super Christian. If the opposition is of any merit they would be very easily able to throw shade on these Fidesz cafeteria Christians.

Ferenc
Guest
Checking M1 news reports about the ICCP, noticed a man representing ACN (Aid to the Church in Need, a catholic international organization). Searching this brought that 2017.Oct.12 (2nd day of conference in Bp) it issued a report titled “Persecuted & Forgotten?”. ACN news items: https://acninternational.org/christian-persecution-rises-historic-levels/ and https://acnuk.org/persecuted/ Quote: “Although the precise number of Christians persecuted for their faith remains unclear, reports showing a fall in the number of deaths during the period under review to below 100,000 nevertheless highlight that the violence against followers of Jesus Christ remains severe.” Full report: https://acnuk.org/country-profiles/ Summary: https://acnuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/PF2017-Exec-Summ-WEB-VERSION.pdf First of all let me make clear that I don’t want to downplay the subject of this, but for my feeling the report is overplaying Christians compared to people having another faith. In my opinion all people (believing in a religion or not) should support all for their personal belief persecuted people, so independent of the religion!! Note: couldn’t find any reference to the Bp conference on any of the ACN websites… a quote from report: “Since the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power… Christians in India have faced increasing intolerance and violence.” True, and then what about this? “Since the whatever-wing party lead… Read more »
wpDiscuz